When FIA Formula E cancelled its inaugural Vancouver race that was scheduled over the 2022 Canada Day long weekend, there was some hope that the race would be rescheduled for 2023.
The decision to cancel was made two months ago, and as of today the possibility of 2023 is now also out of the picture.
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In a statement to Daily Hive Urbanized today, FIA Formula E states “Vancouver will not be included in the provisional race calendar for 2023 when it is published in the coming days.”
However, they added that “we retain active interest in delivering an E-Prix in Vancouver in the future.”
Furthermore, they have also terminated all contractual agreements with OSS Group, the Montreal-based company that FIA Formula E contracted last year to plan, promote, organize, and execute a Vancouver race, which was branded as “Canadian E-Fest.”
But OSS Group believes there is still a window of opportunity for staging a race in 2023, despite FIA Formula E’s decision to not include Vancouver in the provisional calendar.
“Protocols are such that, Formula E and OSS Group were obliged to terminate their contract in advance of the Formula E provisional calendar’s release. OSS Group continues to work with the City of Vancouver to deliver Canadian E-Fest in the summer of 2023,” states OSS Group in a statement to Daily Hive Urbanized.
“The City of Vancouver has given timelines in which they are able to support OSS Group and to which OSS Group must provide deliverables. OSS Group is working to get all permits in place over the coming few months in order to have Formula E add the event to the 2023 calendar and years to come.”
At the 100-day countdown mark before the race, OSS Group reported that about 30,000 tickets had already been sold. At the time of the event’s cancellation, OSS Group said they were developing a refund strategy.
“Formula E is mindful that many fans have purchased tickets to the Canadian E-Fest, which included the Vancouver E-Prix, from OSS Group,” continues the statement by FIA Formula E.
“We expect OSS Group to ensure that it proceeds to a full refund of these tickets and to provide details on this process in the short term.”
The last update to ticket holders was made on May 9, with OSS Group stating: “If you would like to carry your tickets over to the 2023 event — no action is required. Your tickets will automatically be carried over. Should you not be able to attend in 2023, your tickets will be refunded. The refund process will be communicated after the announcement of the 2023 Canadian E-Fest date.”
In its previous agreement with the City of Vancouver for the staging of the 2022 event, OSS Group promised to cover all of its own costs, as well as all city-related costs such as policing and security, logistics, traffic management, and sanitation. Typically, in other cities where the event is held, the race also sees investment from local authorities and/or tourism bureaus. This increased the event’s dependence on both ticket sales and sponsorship.
The city also stipulated OSS Group would be required to install physical legacy infrastructure, specifically electric-battery charging stations for public benefit.
Adding to costs not usually associated with a Formula E race, OSS Group had also planned a more ambitious event, with a larger scope than the typical event. This includes a sustainability conference held at Concord Community Park, and two nights of concerts at Rogers Arena, with Nickleback announced as one of the headliners.
The race circuit would have been located within Northeast False Creek, using a portion of the route used by the last Molson Indy race held in the same area in 2004. The circuit included the use of the Concord Lands, Pacific Boulevard between Griffiths Way and Quebec Street, and along Quebec Street between Pacific Boulevard and Central Street. Grandstands and other viewing areas would have established a spectator capacity for 56,000 people.
There was hope that the hosting of Formula E this summer would provide tourism and downtown businesses with a much-needed boost.
The inaugural Vancouver E-Prix was expected to produce $83.5 million in local economic spinoffs, with 17% of its attendance projected to be international, 31% domestic, and 52% local. It was also anticipated the event would create 3,000 jobs across 195 suppliers, with 95% being local.