When the World Motor Sport Council published the inaugural calendar of the FIA Formula E Championship, many were surprised by replacement of the Hong Kong round. However rumors about track lay-out discussions leaked beforehand, this event was considered to add value to the series and the iconic Asian city.
According to Lawrence Yu, president of the Hong Kong Automobile Association (HKAA), the city was considered to host the third round of the championship. But due to inadequate preparations, including an unsatisfactory race track design, the venue was eliminated.
A reporter from China Daily found out that the original proposal by the HKAA included a race track at Central Harbourfront. But the Lung Wo Road, which is surrounded by Governmental buildings, was preferred by Formula E. The HKAA presented revised plans ten times, trying to satisfy governmental institutions of which feared that blocking access routes – on a Saturday – might cause problems.
Eddy Li reports about problematic bureaucracy in Hong Kong: “Any proposals, whether urgent or not, or however beneficial to Hong Kong, are required to undergo all sorts of departmental examinations and approval – usually without exception. Because of the deteriorating political environment, different departments want to avoid criticism by taking on less projects. As a result, the government is not flexible enough to host events like Formula E.”
Being eliminated from the inaugural calendar is considered as a missed opportunity for Hong Kong, as the city only needed to provide a suitable track witouth the involvement of large amounts of money. The venue has been replaced by Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian city was announced in an early stage of Formula E, got removed from the calendar for unknown reasons, but appeared to be first reserve.