WEC-Formula E collision also in 2025? FE co-founder: Ultimately unavoidable

This weekend Formula E will be contesting a race weekend in Berlin for the tenth time. However, five of the 22 regular drivers will be missing from the double-header at the former Berlin-Tempelhof Airport (May 11th/12th, 2024). Four of these absent pilots are due to a scheduling conflict with the WEC race in Belgium. The World Endurance Championship will take place on Saturday, May 11th, with the 6-hour race from Spa-Francorchamps.

As a result, Abt Cupra driver Nico Müller, Nyck de Vries (Mahindra) and the entire driver pairing of the reigning world champion Envision (Sebastien Buemi and Robin Frijns) are missing in Berlin. All drivers compete in the WEC hypercar category for different manufacturers. Conversely, the DS Penske duo Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne as well as Edoardo Mortara (Mahindra) and Norman Nato (Andretti-Porsche) are prioritizing the double-header in Berlin despite WEC cockpits.

WEC, Spa-Francorchamps, #93, Peugeot, Jensen, Nico Müller
Hypercar instead of formula racing: Nico Müller is on the road with Peugeot this weekend, photo: LAT Images

Formula E co-founder: Schedule conflicts are sometimes unavoidable

An annoying situation for both world championships monitored by the FIA. The racing calendar for the next season has long been being worked on behind the scenes. More than two weeks ago, Formula E co-founder Alberto Longo met with WEC CEO Frederic Lequien to talk about plans for 2025, as Formula E managing director Jeff Dodds already revealed. As Chief Championship Officer, Longo is responsible, among other things, for the Formula E racing calendar.

The goal of the meeting: avoid scheduling conflicts next year. “There is one specific race that we as Formula E always try to avoid, and that is the 24 Hours of Le Mans for obvious reasons,” Longo said on Friday in Berlin during a media round when asked by Motorsport-Magazin.com. “But other than that, I’m sure you know how difficult it is to set up a calendar. We always try, but sometimes it’s impossible.”

Formula E co-founder Alberto Longo at the Formula E race in Sao Paulo 2024.
Formula E co-founder Alberto Longo is trying to prevent scheduling conflicts with the WEC, Photo: LAT Images

Formula E co-founder: A collision with WEC in the provisional racing calendar

In this context, Longo also revealed the results of his meeting with the CEO of the WEC. “Right now we only have one collision in the tentative calendars that we both have. But that tentative calendar has still shifted a lot in my world. And I’m sure it’s shifted a lot in his world too,” Longo said, referring to Lequien.

According to Longo, the WEC and Formula E racing calendars will be announced in June, the latter specifically around June 10th. Before that, another meeting between the two series representatives is scheduled to take place.

Formula E and WEC: Why avoiding collisions is difficult

However, if scheduling conflicts continue to arise at this point, things would look bleak, according to Longo: “Then it will be very difficult to change that.” The main reason for this is the races in city centers, which have decreased in recent years but still form a significant part of the Formula E calendar. “If you go into the city centers, there are a lot of implications, a lot of restrictions. And the bottom line is that even though we have 52 weekends a year and only use 12, 13, 14 of them, finding the specific weekend is a big challenge “to be able to create a good calendar,” Longo explained.

In addition, avoiding Formula E and WEC events is difficult, as both championships try to do so To avoid Formula 1. Longo painted a bleak picture for the future when it comes to further conflict events between Formula E and WEC: “In these cases, we are sorry for the drivers that they cannot complete both championships, but at the end of the day we are two promoters. We have agreed that we will always try, but in the end we will both win bigger and bigger championships. And ultimately these clashes will happen and will be inevitable.”

Vandoorne: Drivers are the losers

This would also be an ongoing thankless position for the pilots themselves. By not taking part in a racing series, they may be giving up championship chances. Stoffel Vandoorne, who is prioritizing the Formula E races in Berlin over a WEC start with the Peugeot factory team, is hoping for a solution for the future. “It forces teams more and more to prioritize a program and in the end we (the drivers: editor) are the losers,” said Vandoorne in Berlin Motorsport-Magazin.com. “We both want to win championships, but if at some point it really isn’t possible and no team wants to allow that, then we have to make a decision. And I don’t hope that we end up in a situation where we have to do that. ”

This weekend, due to the scheduling conflict, all pilots starting in Spa will also miss the Sunday race in Berlin, even though the 6 Hours of Spa only takes place on Saturday. The FIA ​​regulations classify both races of a double-header as a single event, meaning that drivers can only be replaced for Sunday’s race due to ‘force majeure’. The affected teams hoped for an exception, which unsurprisingly failed in a vote by the eleven teams in March.

You can read about who will replace de Vries, Müller and Co. at the races in Germany’s capital as well as the other hot spots for the Berlin ePrix in this article:

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