Jaguar’s Nelson Piquet believes Formula E needs to expand to a 20 race calendar in future seasons if it is to compete with other top motorsport series and capitalise on its growing appeal.
Speaking at the launch of new Jaguar I-TYPE3, Piquet singled out the upcoming Sanya ePrix as being a potential highlight of the new season calendar but called on Formula E to continue adding new locations as the series grows.
“What kind of driver wants to race just 10 weekends per year? At last half of the weekends we need to be racing,” said Piquet.
“I cannot stand to be bored at home. 12 races a year is not a lot of races. If you have all these manufacturers on board, and you go to all these cities, and you want to create more of a trend during the year for people to start watching it, you need to race every two or three weeks.
Since its inception in 2014, the Formula E calendar has averaged around 11 races per season, with the upcoming 2018/19 season set to be the longest with 13 rounds scheduled.
However, Formula E has long since had an issue in sticking to a consistent schedule with gaps of up to six weeks between races often being a regular occurrence.
“If the gaps are too different from each other, and there’s such a big gap from July to December without races, people don’t know when the races are. That’s one aspect that’s going to have to [change] one day,” Piquet added.
“I know it’s not easy to deal with cities, dates, and transpiration, all these things must be very complex and not easy to handle, [but] more races would be better for the sponsors, more visibility, more cities you’re visiting – it just gives a better chance for everybody else to spend more time on TV.”
This coming season there will be three Brazilian drivers on the grid, with Piquet and Audi driver Lucas di Grassi being joined by Formula E debutant and ex-Williams F1 driver Felipe Massa.
Despite the strong Brazilian presence, Piquet doesn’t think the time is right to stage an ePrix in his home country.
“Frankly, Brazil doesn’t even sell electric cars in the country and they’re facing a political and economic crisis that’s not a joke, it’s crazy,” said Piquet.
“Then all of a sudden you have a mayor spending, I don’t know how many millions, to bring a race when we don’t even have electric mobility in the country yet.
“I don’t care that we have three Brazilians in the series, I think it needs to be the right time and the right moment to bring a race like this to Brazil.
Image Credit: Formula E