Rio replaces Hong Kong as Virgin signs up to Formula E vision

The Formula E motor racing championship has finalised its calendar for its debut season, with Rio de Janeiro stepping in to replace Hong Kong on the 2014-15 schedule.

The calendar was submitted to the FIA, motor sport’s global governing body, during its World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris, and will take in 10 city-centre races across four continents from September 2014 to June 2015.

Beijing will remain as the host venue for the world’s first ever fully-electric race commencing on September 13 – one week earlier than previously planned.

After the opening round, Formula E will remain in Asia for the second event in Putrajaya, the federal administrative centre of Malaysia. Round three will now see the championship head to Rio in place of Hong Kong, which will instead be considered as a candidate city for the following Formula E seasons.

From here, the series continues in South America in Punta del Este, Uruguay before heading to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The championship then travels to North America for rounds six and seven in Los Angeles and Miami respectively. Europe will conclude the season in Monte Carlo, Monaco and Berlin, Germany. London will host the final race of the inaugural season on June 27, 2015.

Alejandro Agag, chief executive of championship promoter Formula E Holdings, said: “The level of interest we have received from cities all over the globe has been overwhelming and choosing the final 10 has been a challenging and meticulous process. We’re confident our final 10 cities will provide an array of fantastic backdrops to showcase electric cars in their favoured urban environments, as well as allow us to put on a great spectacle for the fans.”

In other news, British conglomerate Virgin announced today that it will be entering a team in the championship.

The Virgin Racing outfit will be headed by team principal Alex Tai and has the backing of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson.  Both have been involved in a number of pioneering technology projects in aviation, space and more recently racing. Virgin had been a key backer of what is now the Marussia team when it entered Formula One in 2010-11.

Branson said: “The launch of the Formula E Championship is exciting news for racing fans but also for those that believe in developing the great electric cars of the future.  The need to create fast, dependable and durable race cars will help to accelerate the sector and showcase electric cars to a large global audience.”

Virgin Racing becomes the ninth, and penultimate, team to be confirmed for Formula E’s debut.