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Hyderabad E Prix at risk of cancellation from the 2024 Formula E calendar

Written by Vyas Ponnuri

Having been pencilled in as the fourth round of the 2024 Formula E Season, the Hyderabad E Prix has once again hit a rough path, with fresh concerns emerging over the event once again.

This comes after the event had secured a spot on the calendar right at the last gasp, when the incumbent government back then put in plenty of effort to ensure the continuity of the race on the calendar.

However, the recent state elections witnessed a new government taking charge in the state, the Revanth Reddy-led Congress government ousting the incumbent government, led by K Chandrashekhar Rao, and the Bharatiya Rashtra Samiti (BRS).

Formula E's top management recently got into talks with the new government of the state, and talks are still on. However, chances of the race taking place have become increasingly bleak, with only a short window of just over six weeks before the grand event.

Formula E was left "seeking urgent clarification" having received a letter from the new Congress government in the state that, in their words, "could impact the Hyderabad race". The new government is admittedly under pressure to pursue other administrative measures in the region.

The party hadn't grown a positive outlook towards the race either, with local leaders protesting at the scene of the racetrack earlier, about a stage set up at the track, obstructing a statue of former prime minister Indira Gandhi.

According to the article by a local daily, party leaders had also spoken against the race hosted on city streets, saying it had to be hosted on the outskirts of the city. They claimed the road closures caused traffic jams in the area, inconveniencing the common man.

The Hyderabad E Prix may have been a resounding success on the track, but the event was plagued by operational issues all through. The track was still being worked on as the event rolled around this February, with last-minute touches being added to the track, so as to gain FIA approval.

During the first practice session of the weekend, a security breach led to the general public driving their vehicles on the track, much to the bemusement of the paddock, and audience present at the venue.

Moreover, tickets for the event were announced only a month before on-track action, and fans were left complaining about the lack of shade at the track, forced to watch the race under the searing heat.

The Hyderabad E Prix wasn't in the provisional 2024 calendar released by Formula E earlier, and all looked lost when the organising team for the event was disbanded in August, however, the previous government, who had worked hard behind the scenes to bring the event onto the calendar, intervened at the 11th hour to bring the event back onto the calendar.

It looked to have been a great decision, given the three-day event generating an economic impact of nearly $84 Million (700 Crore INR) in the region, as well as witnessing a massive crowd of 31,000 for the event. The event was also the first home race for Mahindra Racing, and in 2024, would also have a home hero to support, in the form of Maserati's Jehan Daruvala.

However, with the recent setbacks, the short-term and long-term future of the event has been put at stake. Formula E released a statement regarding the state of affairs on Thursday, stating discussions between the top brass and the local government having been underway:

"Following a recent official communication received from the new Government of Telangana, Formula E is seeking urgent clarification of their contractual commitments under the agreement and how it could impact the Hyderabad race.

"Based on the content of the letter received, Formula E is concerned the race will not be able to go ahead as planned.

"Formula E’s senior executive team met with the new leadership of the Government of Telangana immediately following elections earlier this month. Discussions have been ongoing since then.

"With the event just a few weeks away and in its final stages of preparation, Formula E, partners and suppliers have already made significant commercial investments in the event.

"The inaugural Hyderabad E-Prix in February this year returned almost $84mil in positive economic impact to the region, many times more than the overhead costs invested by Formula E and the Government of Telangana.

"Hyderabad is set to host the only official FIA World Championship event in India next year, alongside other iconic world cities including Tokyo, Shanghai, Berlin and London, as part of a multi-year agreement between Formula E and the Government of Telangana.

"Further updates will follow in due course."

Watch this space for further updates regarding the subcontinental event.


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