Formula E racing on London’s public roads gets the greenlight

Formula E continues to grow, with the silent race cars winning fans over with gripping wheel-to-wheel racing that’s been missing from Formula 1 for some time.

These technologically advanced racers could be coming to a street near you too, with the British government having passed a new law that permits street races.

Although London has already held Formula E races, due to legislation restrictions the action has so far been confined to the closed off streets of Battersea Park.

Under new laws, however, London could soon play host to true street races like those seen in Monaco or on the Isle of Man.

The new rules, which come into effect this week, allow for motor sport races to be staged on closed sections of public highways in England.

While Formula 1 has previously dropped proposals for a London-based race, one that would circle the city’s streets and take in such landmarks as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace, it’s understood that the tech-pushing Formula E series is actually in the driving seat to land such a race.

London calling

“London is always open to hosting the world’s biggest and best sport events – from athletics to American football, from cycling to baseball,” a spokesperson for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said recently.

“In considering whether to support a grand prix in London the mayor would need to see what the impacts are on air pollution.”

The spokesperson added: “Formula E races which involve environmentally-friendly, electric-powered cars, can now be held on public roads. The mayor’s office is in discussion with Formula E to see if it may be feasible for London to host such a race.”

A number of key electronics manufacturers have been using Formula E for a test bed for new technologies.

As well as focussing on advancements to electric car tech, companies such as Qualcomm have been using the series to address technologies such as wireless charging that could have broader applications than the automotive industry.

Although a Westminster-based Formula E race has been teased, it’s currently unclear how long it would take to get plans in place for such an event.

Announcing the ruling, government transport minister, Andrew Jones, said: "Britain is a world leader in the motorsport industry. There are already races of this kind in some areas of the British Isles which are incredibly popular.

“New road races will boost local economies through increased tourism and hospitality.”

He added: “We had a consultation on this idea last year and there were 6,000 responses and it was overwhelmingly positive… Of the councils who responded, they again were overwhelmingly positive.”

Via Ars Technica