Bird hopes London can keep Formula E race

Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:12am EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Sam Bird was a winner when the electric Formula E series made its London debut last year and hopes to repeat the feat this weekend in a season finale facing an uncertain future.

Formula E is seeking a new venue in the capital, following an agreement not to return to Battersea Park after this year's event in the face of stiff local opposition to motor racing on their doorstep.

There has been talk about staging a race on the city streets but a draft calendar for the 2016-17 circulating in recent weeks had Montreal and New York as the final rounds of the third season and London omitted.

"I think it's disappointing," Bird, a former Mercedes Formula One test driver who now races in Formula E for the DS Virgin Racing team, told Reuters.

"I think it is a shame that we are going to be leaving Battersea Park.

"As a British driver, driving for a semi-British team with the Virgin connection, we would love to have a race in London. Most teams are based in the UK, so I think it's a big hub for Formula E. To do it in the heart of London makes sense."

Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag told Reuters that talks were ongoing with the Mayor of London's office about alternative venues.

"How quick that can happen, or if ever that can happen, we don't know yet. We are working on it," he said, expressing optimism that a race might be possible for season four but also sounding a note of caution.   Continued...

Sam Bird of Britain celebrates winning the Formula E Championship race in Putrajaya November 22, 2014.  REUTERS/Olivia Harris