The Dutch city of Eindhoven has taken a significant step closer to hosting an ABB FIA Formula E Championship race after receiving the backing of four government ministries this month.
In a signed letter to Formula E Holdings CEO, Jamie Reigle, the four ministries that represent Sport, Infrastructure, Foreign Trade and Economic/Climate Policy put their names to plans for a race to be held for a period of three-to-five years.
The letter (pictured at the bottom of the article) states that the Dutch government “supports the candidacy of the Dutch Formula-Eindhoven Foundation for the organization of the Eindhoven E-Prix – The Netherlands”.
“We are convinced that the enthusiasm and commitment of the organizing committee will ensure a successful event in a hospitable, safe and open atmosphere both for the participants and visitors,” states the letter, which was signed by the four ministers and also the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Mona Keijzer.
The letter goes on to detail that within the Dutch government’s “legal framework” it will “make every effort to assist the Formula E Operations Limited, the local organizing committee and the participants”.
Eindhoven has been working on hosting a Formula E race for the last two years and has already had an official feasibility study researched with Formula E Operations, the organisers of the all-electric world championship.
This includes an independent track designer appointed by Formula E to go over circuit options.
This has included a number of possible track configurations in the Eindhoven Brainport area, which has seen huge investment for Smart City infrastructure.
The driving force behind the project, Peter Paul Laumans, who heads up the Dutch Formula-Eindhoven Foundation (DFEF) has told The Race that the backing is “unique” and has “never been seen in the Netherlands before.”
“If it’s a sporting event, our ministry of sport would only be the one who will sign such a letter of recommendation but in this case, because we tell a different story, it’s three other ministries,” said Laumans. “It’s not only about sport, Formula E is always more than any race result.
“It’s technology, it’s sustainability, road safety, smart cities, and so then our ministries of infrastructure come along, next to our ministry of sports, but also our ministry of economics with this great support.”
The DFEF has also received support for a race from its local province and the city domain of Eindhoven.
“So on these three levels we have our support,” says Laumans.
“And if you compare that with Formula 1, that’s totally the other way around. Formula 1 didn’t get any support and that’s unique.”
The Race says
Formula E has a roster of cities that are aiming to be chosen for an E-Prix. These are known to have included Cape Town, Adelaide, Moscow, Lisbon, and Tokyo.
Overall, the positioning of Formula E has generally revolved around what some call ‘A-list cities’ such as Paris, New York, London, Hong Kong and Rome.
But what about more ‘on-brand cities’ such as Eindhoven, which appear to be a perfect fit to represent a more practical innovation, sustainability, and technology ethos?
Having at least one event that ‘keeps things real’ (to use haphazard modern parlance) would add further credibility to Formula E’s mission, which has recently encompassed a myriad of buzzwords and hashtags such as its present ‘ChangeAccelerated’ brand messaging.
Eindhoven appears to have done everything right so far in getting a festival of technology in place potentially for as early as summer 2022. The city and the immediate area have a progressive and deeply-rooted outlook for sustainable technology and transportation, while at the moment Nyck de Vries and Robin Frijns are two of the championship’s hottest properties.
Additionally, several key partners – of the championship and of its manufacturers – are based in the Netherlands. These include Heineken and Shell, while the majority shareholder of the new world championship, Liberty Global, has a key headquarters on the outskirts of Amsterdam.
While some hurdles have been cleared for plans of a race to progress, as ever the subject of financing the whole thing and the cut of rights are the most pertinent questions at present.
Laumans would not share details of how the most recent talks with FEO went, but The Race understands that they have been positive and that a sustainable business model between all parties is starting to come together.
It remains to be seen if this will be 2022 or 2023 but the momentum looks healthy for Formula E to go Dutch and add to its already established, but at present brittle, European presence.