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How Formula E was brought to the Royal Docks

PUBLISHED: 10:00 28 July 2019

Race director Oli McCrudden. Picture: Malcolm Griffiths/LAT Images

Race director Oli McCrudden. Picture: Malcolm Griffiths/LAT Images

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The idea to bring Formula E to the ExCeL has been three years in the making, the race director has revealed.

A specially designed Formula E car was unveiled at the ExCeL to mark a year to go until the race weekend. Picture: Malcolm Griffiths/LAT ImagesA specially designed Formula E car was unveiled at the ExCeL to mark a year to go until the race weekend. Picture: Malcolm Griffiths/LAT Images

Oli McCrudden, speaking at an event to mark one year until the electric car racing series arrives in the Royal Docks, said that the venue had been considered during the 2015-16 season.

"Back in 2016 we had a draft plan of the ExCeL as a potential racetrack, not the same circuit we're looking at now but it was a modification of," he said.

"The timing wasn't quite right to make it work but we started the conversation and dialogues with the team at the ExCeL to see what the options were.

"In the meantime we went around the world but during season four it was quite clear that we needed to get London back on."

The series staged its finale at Battersea Park in 2015 and 2016 - the first two seasons - but controversy over having a circuit in the west London park meant it has not been held there since.

"It's been 1,118 days since we raced in Battersea Park, which is far too long considering we're based in the UK," Oli said.

"It was our showpiece race for our first two seasons, it's wrong that it's not on the calendar."

Venues across London - including Crystal Palace and Alexandra Palace - were explored but the team kept returning to the location they had considered a couple of years previously.

ExCeL's head of live events Damian Norman, Jaguar team principal James Barclay, Nissan driver Oliver Rowland and race director Oli McCrudden. Picture: Malcolm Griffiths/LAT ImagesExCeL's head of live events Damian Norman, Jaguar team principal James Barclay, Nissan driver Oliver Rowland and race director Oli McCrudden. Picture: Malcolm Griffiths/LAT Images

Oli said: "There were about 14 venues we looked at, and we assessed whether they were suitable, not just for a race track but whether it was going to impact on the local community - negatively, positively, what it was going to bring in terms of value to Formula E.

"But ultimately we said that the fact we're bringing it to a purpose-built venue offers such an opportunity."

And he said of the ExCeL: "They've made it feel like it's a home from home before we've even had a race."

The London E-Prix takes place on Saturday, July 25 and Sunday, July 26, 2020. For more information, visit fiaformulae.com

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