In a surprising turn of events, the much-anticipated Hyderabad E-Prix, an integral part of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, has been cancelled. This development follows a decision by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department (MAUD) of the Government of Telangana, which has chosen not to fulfill the Host City Agreement signed on 30 October 2023. The decision has sent shockwaves through the motorsport community, both in India and globally, casting a shadow over the future of electric racing in the country.
Formula E Operations (FEO) has found itself in a challenging position following this unexpected move by MAUD. Left with no alternative, FEO has formally notified MAUD of its breach of contract. As the governing body for the electric racing series, FEO is now considering its next steps under the Host City Agreement and applicable laws, reserving all of its rights in this regard. This situation has not only affected the plans of FEO but also dashed the hopes of countless motorsport fans eagerly awaiting the event.
The Hyderabad E-Prix was set to be the only official FIA World Championship event in India for 2024, marking a significant milestone in the country's motorsport history. The event was part of a multi-year agreement between Formula E and the Government of Telangana, signaling a promising future for electric vehicle racing in India. The cancellation of the Hyderabad E-Prix is more than just a missed race; it represents a major setback for the burgeoning electric vehicle movement in a country grappling with pollution and environmental challenges.
Other host cities confirmed on the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship calendar for Season 10 include Tokyo, Shanghai, Berlin, Monaco, and London, with the season beginning next Saturday, 13 January, with the Hankook Mexico City E-Prix. The absence of Hyderabad from this prestigious list is a significant loss, not just for Formula E but for the Indian motorsport scenario as a whole.
Alberto Longo, Co-Founder & Chief Championship Officer of Formula E, expressed his disappointment, particularly for the passionate motorsport fanbase in India. "Hosting an official motorsport world championship race is an important and prestigious occasion for Hyderabad and the whole country," he said. The support from the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) and its President, Akbar Ebrahim, in bringing Formula E to Hyderabad was commendable, making the cancellation even more disheartening.
Jeff Dodds, CEO of Formula E, also shared his frustration, especially considering the success of the inaugural race last year, which brought almost 84 million USD in positive economic impact to the region. The cancellation is a blow to major Indian partners like Mahindra and Tata Communications, who had significant stakes in the event. "Racing in Hyderabad was important to showcase the benefits of adopting electric vehicles in a market where pollution from vehicle engines has a massive impact on public health and the environment," Dodds remarked.
In conclusion, the cancellation of the Hyderabad E-Prix raises critical questions about the future of electric racing in India. The decision by the Government of Telangana not only affects the current season of Formula E but also poses a significant challenge to the growth and acceptance of electric vehicles in a country that stands to benefit greatly from this eco-friendly technology. The motorsport community, both in India and internationally, awaits further developments with bated breath, hoping for a positive resolution that can reignite the excitement and potential of electric racing in India.