Written by Sameera Bhamra, Edited by Ishani Aziz
Last month, Formula E and the FIA released the provisional calendar for the upcoming ninth season (2022-2023) of Formula E. Indian fans were extremely excited to see their country make its way back on a major international racing event calendar. The new season will see new circuits in India (Hyderabad) and Brazil (São Paulo), with new teams (Mclaren and Maserati), as well as brand new GEN3 cars.
Formula E will make its debut in India with a race scheduled to be held in Hyderabad on February 11, 2023. This will mark the return of a major racing event in India since the Formula 1 Indian Grand Prix which was held at the Buddh International Circuit in October 2013.
The Telangana government and Formula E officials had signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to host the race in Hyderabad. The said LoI between the two parties agreed on the topic to make the state a hub for EV vehicles and had the aim of helping Formula E achieve its goals.
Alberto Longo, co-founder and Chief Championship Officer of Formula E said: “The season 9 calendar of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is our most expansive and dynamic racing schedule yet and I cannot wait to get started. We will continue to push the international boundaries of all-electric street racing with newly added circuits in Hyderabad and Sao Paulo”. He further added, “ I see a long-term future for us in India”. As the foremost Indian team, the team principal CEO of Mahindra Racing, Dilbagh Gill stated: “ The race in Hyderabad will be a world-class show. It’s going to be beautiful. It has always been our burning desire to race in front of our fans and have a home race. We are now a step closer to this dream”.
In the last few years, motorsport has generated massive interest and gained popularity across the country despite motorsport having existed in India for decades. The Indian auto manufacturers are also showing keen interest in this sport and with active participation from the government, India's role in the motorsports world will only get bigger. Not to forget our homegrown racers are also making a splash in the racing world. From Narain Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok to Jehan Daruvala these athletes have made India proud and proved that there is indeed a glorious future for India in motorsports. The inclusion of Force India (2008-2018) in Formula 1 and Mahindra racing (2014-present) in Formula E also engaged more fans and made India proud on the world stage.
The Formula E E-Prix in Hyderabad will not only provide a big push to Indian motorsports but also usher back major international racing events in the country. Formula 1 in India was scrapped after three seasons due to tax disputes between the FIA and the state government. However, news that the FIA are searching for new circuits in coming seasons should represent some hope for the future of Indian motorsports and its hosting rights. If the quest for new circuits includes some on Indian soil, it would act as a huge step-up for a country that is striving to be a serious sporting nation. Most importantly, it would prove that India is capable of hosting large-scale sporting events on a regular basis.
Perhaps Formula E can help restore India's hosting rights of world-class sporting events? We will have to wait to find out.