The FIA World Endurance Championship is set to avoid date clashes with Formula E in 2018 following successful talks between the bosses from both series in recent weeks.
The two FIA-sanctioned championships previously enjoyed a gentleman’s agreement not to hold events on the same weekend due to the number of drivers racing in both series, ensuring both grids remained at their full complement.
This was broken when this weekend was scheduled to feature WEC’s Nürburgring round and Formula E’s first visit to New York City, leaving a number of drivers with a dilemma over where to race.
With neither series able to change dates, Formula E championship leader Sebastien Buemi and Jose Maria Lopez will both miss the all-electric series’ weekend in New York, bound by their Toyota LMP1 contracts.
Jean-Eric Vergne, Nelson Piquet Jr., Nicolas Prost and Sam Bird, meanwhile, will all miss the Nürburgring race, having chosen to prioritize their Formula E commitments.
The date clash came as a disappointment to officials from both series, but WEC CEO Gerard Neveu is confident that there will be no repeat for next year following calendar harmonization meetings between the leading FIA championships.
“Clearly for next season, the target is to have no clashes with Formula E, because some drivers are permanently doing the season of both championships,” Neveu told select media including Sportscar365 at the FIA Sport Conference in Geneva.
“When Formula 1 stayed around the table as they did two weeks ago in Monaco with us, and we can share confidentially the calendar, it’s easy to avoid.”
While the WEC schedule for 2018 is not known publicly besides a date for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Formula E has already published its 2017/18 calendar, with races stretching from December to July.
Speaking to Reuters, Agag confirmed that the dates will avoid clashes with WEC rounds, ensuring there is no repeat of the Nürburgring issue for this coming weekend.
“We managed for next year to avoid any clash with WEC, which is good news,” Agag said. “We cannot really try to avoid clashes with Formula 1. But as we don’t have common drivers, it’s no problem.”
Neveu added that the clash was the unavoidable due to a lack of communication with Formula 1 officials and the placement of the planned German Grand Prix.
Restrictions surrounding the date of other FIA world championship events either side of F1’s weekend meant that July 16 was the only workable date for the Nürburgring, despite the German Grand Prix never looking likely to go ahead due to budgetary concerns.
“I remind you that what’s happened with the Nurburgring is the result of no information, no communication about what’s going on with Formula 1 in Germany,” Neveu said.
“It was impossible for us to move without a guarantee. This situation cannot happen in the future regarding the good relationship that we have established between the three different promoters now under the control of the FIA.”
2017/18 FIA Formula E Schedule;
Dec. 2-3 – Hong Kong (double header)
Jan. 13 – Marrakech
Feb. 3 – Santiago
March 3 – Mexico City
March 17 – Sao Paulo
April 14 – Rome
April 28 – Paris
May 19 – TBA
June 9 – TBA
July 7-8 – New York (double header)
July 28-29 – Montreal (double header)