Hyderabad’s future as Formula E host city becomes uncertain under Congress govt

Formula E has sought urgent clarification on whether the February 2024 Hyderabad E-Prix will continue as planned. Hyderabad is the only Indian city to host the international sporting event.
Formula E race in 2023 in Hyderabad
Formula E race in 2023 in Hyderabad fiaformulae.com
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Weeks after the new Congress government was formed in Telangana, the future of Hyderabad as the host of the Formula E World Championship has become dicey. Unsure of the status of the E-prix event scheduled for February 10, 2024, the organisers of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship have issued a statement, suggesting that the change in government in Telangana has left them on the fence regarding the discussions previously held with the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government. Hyderabad became the first Indian city to host the Formula E Championship in February 2023, and was set to host it again in its tenth season in February 2024. 

The statement said that Formula E is seeking “urgent clarification” of what happens to their existing contract with the Telangana government and how it could impact the race scheduled in Hyderabad, following a recent communication from the newly formed Telangana government. The organisers expressed concern that “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 is an international championship of single-seater electric cars. In February 2023, Hyderabad successfully hosted the Formula E World Championship, the first Indian city to do so. In 2024, Season 10 of the race is scheduled to be held in 11 cities across the world – Hyderabad, Mexico City, Diriyah, São Paulo, Tokyo, Misano Adriatico, Monaco, Berlin, Shanghai, Portland, London. Hyderabad is currently scheduled to host Round 4 of the race, just like last year, on February 10, 2024, as part of a multi-year agreement. The event is called the Hyderabad ePrix, and the agreement for hosting it was signed in October 2023, when the BRS government was in power. 

The statement from the organisers of Formula E said that discussions are still ongoing with the Telangana government’s Municipal Administration and Urban Development Department, which was previously under the Ministry of BRS leader KT Rama Rao. But a recent official communication from the Congress government in Telangana has prompted them to seek “urgent clarification of their contractual commitments under the agreement and how it could impact the Hyderabad race.” The statement did not disclose what this communication from the government was. 

It said that Formula E's senior executive team met with the new leadership of the Telangana government following the election results announced earlier in December, and 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 84m USD in positive economic impact to the region, many times more than the overhead costs invested by Formula E and the Government of Telangana,” Formula E said. 

For the previous edition of the Hyderabad E-prix, a 2.38 kilometres track was laid alongside the Hussain Sagar Lake with around 17 turns, with views of Hussain Sagar Lake and other tourist destinations in the city such as NTR Gardens, while passing through Necklace Road. The event also featured other entertainment activities including live musical performances, gaming platforms, and interactive shows that showcased the latest electric vehicles. The management made preparations to seat around 30,000 spectators. Ticket prices ranged from Rs 1000 and Rs 4000 to Rs 65,000 and Rs 1,25,000.

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