Formula E returns motor racing to Switzerland

Motor racing will return to Switzerland for the first time in more than 60 years following the announcement that Zurich will join Santiago, Sao Paulo and Rome as new venues on the 2017-18 Formula E calendar.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) had initially announced a calendar for the 2017-18 season of the electric car-racing series in June, with new events to be held in Brazil, Chile and Italy. The fourth edition of the series will comprise 14 races – the most events since the championship’s inception in 2014 – but had initially listed an event with an unconfirmed destination.

This was rumoured to be Zurich and the inaugural Zurich E-Prix has now been confirmed for June 10 following a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council. Motor racing was outlawed in Switzerland in 1955 following the disaster at that year’s Le Mans 24 Hours race in France that claimed the lives of dozens of spectators.

Formula One’s 1954 Swiss Grand Prix was the last motor racing event to be held in the country, but a law change in 2015 lifted restrictions on fully-electric racing and paved the way for Formula E to head to the streets of Zurich.

Alejandro Agag, founder and chief executive of Formula E, said: “I’m thrilled that Formula E is bringing racing back to Switzerland for the first time in over 60 years. This wouldn’t have been possible without the core fundamentals of Formula E – driving the electric revolution and sustainable mobility.

“Following the recent law changes this race was also made possible with the instrumental support of our Swiss partner, Julius Baer. I would like to express our gratitude to their CEO, Boris Collardi, and his entire team for their continued belief in Formula E – we’ve again been able to break new ground in the world of motorsport.

“In addition to Zurich, I’m delighted to return to Berlin, a city which has featured on the calendar since the beginning and has seen many passionate racing fans attend our event every year. Germany is a key market for Formula E with the influx of manufacturers joining the series, including Audi this year.”

After the success of the previous three seasons, Formula E returns to Berlin as the German round has been confirmed at Tempelhof Airport on May 19. Formula E’s three other new events will take place in Santiago (February 3), Sao Paulo (March 17) and Rome (April 14).

FIA president Jean Todt said: “To be able to reintroduce this discipline to a country where it has been absent since it was banned in 1955 is an exciting prospect and the achievement of an important goal for the FIA.

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making it a reality, as it is important for us to continue to bring motor sport to new audiences around the world. Together with the other new events on the calendar in Santiago, Sao Paulo and Rome, I believe we have a very strong season of Formula E ahead of us.”