Three of next season’s FIA World Endurance Championship rounds will have direct clashes with the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, posing problems for several drivers in the paddock.
The 2019-20 Formula E schedule, which was released by the FIA on Friday, will have races on the same weekends as the Eight Hours of Bahrain in December, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March and Six Hours of Spa in May.
WEC’s return to Bahrain on Dec. 14 will pose a direct clash with a currently TBA Formula E race, which Sportscar365 understands could be Marrakesh on the same day.
The second WEC round at Sebring since its return last year will take place on Friday, March 20, with a Chinese Formula E round scheduled for Sat., March 21.
Formula E’s first trip to Sanya, on the Chinese island of Hainan, took place the week after Sebring this year, with a Hong Kong round the week before the American enduro, already posing a logistical challenge for drivers competing in both.
The all-electric single-seater championship will return to China on March 21 at a currently unconfirmed location that could be Sanya or possibly Xi’an in central China.
Six weeks later, another clash will take place during the 6H Spa weekend, with the maiden Formula E race in South Korean capital Seoul.
WEC will race on Sat., May 2, while Formula E will have a rare Sunday race in the South Korean capital on May 3.
An earlier March date for the Seoul race, which would have avoided a clash with WEC, was initially preferred but dismissed due to unfavorable weather conditions at that time of year.
There hasn’t been a direct clash between WEC and Formula E in almost two years, since the New York City E-Prix was held on the same weekend as the Six Hours of Nürburgring in July 2017.
Organizers of both series have tried to avoid clashes since then, owing to the considerable overlap in drivers between both championships.
This season, seven drivers – Sam Bird, Jose Maria Lopez, Sebastien Buemi, Andre Lotterer, Antonio Felix da Costa and Tom Dillmann – have balanced full-season programs in both WEC and Formula E.
In addition, Stoffel Vandoorne, Jean-Eric Vergne, Alexander Sims and Alex Lynn have all competed at least partial seasons in both championships.
With several changes set to take place within the Formula E drivers’ market in time for the 2019-20 season, which will get underway in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 22-23, the exact number of drivers facing clashes remains unclear.
Neel Jani has been confirmed at Porsche for its Formula E debut, but the Swiss driver confirmed to Sportscar365 recently that he won’t return to WEC, while a few of the aforementioned drivers’ futures with their respective Formula E teams are uncertain.