Season 3 of the all-electric Formula E racing series kicks off this weekend at a new venue, Hong Kong with a very busy timetable of events which will feature e-Touring cars and a demonstration of the autonomous racing car “DevBot”. This means the race is now scheduled for Sunday, rather than the traditional Saturday.
20,000 tickets for the ePrix being held at a 1.8km Central Harbourfront circuit are already sold out though some locals complained about ticket prices. Weekend tickets went for HK$2380 (GBP£247) and eVillage tickets (which do not guarantee views of the race track) cost $300 (GBP£31). The price of a weekend ticket for this ePrix is on par with three-day Grandstand tickets in more established Formula 1 races, so one can understand some locals’ reluctance.
Away from the buzz and PR, South China Morning Post reports that the event is facing losses of up to HK$50 million (GBP£5.2 million). According to SCMP, the event budget includes contributions from these parties: HK$100m from Formula E Holdings, HK$50m from two main sponsors, and local organisers could be required to inject HK$150m into the venture. “Just the hardware construction in Hong Kong, such as the paddock, control tower and other auxillary facilities has cost HK$80 million, and there are also budgets for promotion and other operational costs,” said Lawrence Yu Kam-kee, ex-chairman of the Hong Kong Automobile Association.
Perhaps if the event reverts to the regular 2-day format in Season 4, tickets could be priced more reasonably, meaning more fans can enjoy the spectacle, encouraging more sponsors to participate in the series and in turn, the city could reduce its losses.