Andretti Autosport's Formula E entry. Photo courtesy of www.fiaformulae.com

Will Indycar and Formula E team up?


So Formula E is going to happen, and I’m starting to wonder if Indycar won’t join them for a street race in Miami on March 15, 2015.

Andretti Sports Marketing has been working on staging a race in Ft. Lauderdale for several years now, but haven’t been able to get enough funding. Then Andretti was named the organizer of the Formula E race in Miami, on March 14, 2015 a Saturday. I could be putting two unrelated stories together, but given Andretti’s ties to Indycar, and the fact that Formula E races on Saturdays it seems like a natural pairing.

The Formula E announcement was short on details, and maybe the cars will be slower, or sturdier, and not require the massive infrastructure that an Indycar street race necessitates, but since F-E is sanctioned by the FIA they probably have similar requirements. If they have to build the track to FIA spec for one race it would make sense to invite another series to fill out the weekend.

Michael Andretti has proven to be a savvy team owner and event promoter. Formula E has been attracting a host of new sponsorship and maybe this is way for Andretti to get his much longed for Indycar race in south Florida.

Whenever you are building something like a street race you have to lay out a certain amount of capital for the permits and construction cost. Once you’ve built your temporary track you have to maximize your revenue and it doesn’t make sense to have one race on Saturday — all the Formula E races appear to be on Saturdays — and start tearing down the tracks on Sunday when you could have another event doesn’t make sense to me. Partnering the two series in Miami, and potentially elsewhere, makes sense on a financial level.

Yes, the proposed date is probably only two weeks before the Firestone Grand Prix of St Petersburg but I grew up in Florida. St. Pete and Miami are four hours apart and even farther apart culturally and social-economically. Also, the date potentially conflicts with the 12 hours of Sebring as well. While it might not be good for the series to have an open wheel race in Miami so close to St. Petersburg if it’s going to happen you might as well make the best of it.

Indycar CEO Mark Miles says he wants to start the season a few weeks earlier, so this could be what he is referring too. Also, Formula E chief executive officer Alejandro Agag said they want to work with Indycar.

“We see ourselves as a complement, not a competitor, to other series like IndyCar or Formula One.”

It can’t be a better complement than sharing a race date.

Andretti is first and foremost and Indycar guy. He is committed to Indycar and growing the sport. Given the sponsor and investor interest in Formula E it makes sense for his team. Still, using F-E a catalyst to build a new event for Indycar fits his track record perfect.

Tags: Formula E IndyCar Miami Michael Andretti