Hopes that the Santiago E-Prix could be held pre-Diriyah were largely quashed on December 29 when Chile confirmed the first case of this variant on its soil.
This led to the health ministry announcing a mandatory 10-day quarantine for every person traveling to the South American country. To be released from this quarantine, a negative PCR test, to be taken on the seventh day of isolation, is required.
Confirming that Diriyah will be the first event on the schedule, Formula E co-founder and deputy CEO, Alberto Longo told The Race today that the key factor in confirming Diriyah was “a massive will from the local authorities to host the race”.
Formula E has confirmed that plans for its first ever night race will go ahead as planned in February, after some doubts were cast over the whether they might be postponed due to the pandemic.
The all-electric series’ seventh season will start on February 26 with a double-header in Diriyah. For the first time the event will be run as a night race.
Originally the calendar had a double-header in Santiago as the season-opener, but this has since been postponed due to the spread of a new, more transmissible variant of COVID-19.
Despite this, Formula E and the Saudi government are pushing ahead with plans to start the season in Diriyah, with the event opening the season for the third time in a row.
The event will use the latest low-power LED technology which will reduce energy consumption by up to 50 per cent compared to non-LED tech. The remaining power for floodlighting will be fully renewable, provided by low-carbon certified hydrogenated vegetable oil made from sustainable materials.
The Diriyah E-Prix will run at 17:00 GMT (20:00 local time) on February 26 and 27.
Formula E has yet to confirm where it will visit after, but is expected to announce a rescheduled calendar in due course.
The future of the 2021 Santiago E-Prix remains unclear at present but Longo suggested that it could be re-assigned to later in the season, which also includes the Mexico City E-Prix.
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