#LondonEPrix Are the criticisms fair?

battersea park

We’ve been fortunate to witness a truly exceptional debut season for Formula E., with close racing throughout the field and great variety in the circuits used throughout the season.  As the season approaches a double header at Battersea park with the championship battle as close as ever, it’s disappointing to see some negativity has been directed towards the series and the Battersea ePrix itself.

Why The Criticism?

Whereas most ePrix have taken place in the heart of the city, the London ePrix is unique in that it will take place within Battersea Park, one of the most interesting parks within London. Battersea Park is hugely popular with local residents – its lush gardens and open space are well loved by locals and tourists looking to get away from the busy city.

Wandsworth council’s deputy leader is clearly excited about the potential of the circuit. He said:

‘Our great city now has another world-class event to add it its calendar. Formula E is an incredible racing spectacle and a showcase for zero emission electric motoring. This sport is changing attitudes to electric and I’m delighted Battersea Park will be the backdrop for the season finale’.

Criticism does however continue to become more pronounced as the event moves closer, with numerous articles appearing in both local and national media. A small campaign has also been set up by local residents, who have since been offered free tickets to the event, in a bid to see the contract break after the first race to be exercised.

Are they valid?

The main criticism revolves around some of the permanent damage that has been done to the park to accommodate Formula E, as well work that is currently taking place which to many goes against what the park was intended for. Many have also used this as an opportunity to criticise Formula E as a whole, arguing that its ‘green credentials’ are limited when the carbon footprint of shipping the cars and equipment across the world is incredibly high.

The latter point is, of course, not even worth arguing against – If one can’t see the long-term benefit of Formula E in developing transferable battery technology then I’m not going to bother wasting words in an attempt to educate them.

Criticisms of the damage done to the park however are much more understandable, but we can only hope that this does not overshadow the event and the media coverage it receives. The event itself will only take up significant space for five days and the benefit to the local economy will be huge, with over 40,000 attendees expected for each race day.

Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag has also spoken to reassure those against the series that the track won’t harm the fabric of the park:

‘This is the first time in the season that we’re going to race inside a park, and we think that’s a great message’, he said. ‘Clean cars and clean mobility, it feels very comfortable in a park, in a green space like this. We’re making every effort to make the park better than when we came and we think that will be the result. We want the race to be a positive thing for the park’, he continued.

Inevitably one of either two things will happen – either the event will be a huge success and the criticisms will die down, or the disruptions caused by the event will cause the non-vocal locals to have their voices heard. Let’s hope it’s the former….

Written by: Anil Parmar

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4 thoughts on “#LondonEPrix Are the criticisms fair?

  1. The protesters are an absolute joke. I can’t take any of them seriously: It’s clear from their attitude that they hate motorsport of any kind and they just want to force their views on the rest of us. Yes, some of the changes made to the park are a little unfortunate (Though of course they exaggerate and ignore all the good things the event will bring to the park, such as money for maintenance, charities, etc.) but really, where else could the race be held in London that fits the bill for Formula E? If you ask me they’re being incredibly selfish and arrogant: I tried to reason with them and they just called me an ‘ignorant electrichead’. I wouldn’t give them the time of day.

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  2. Ah, I see Eddy the Bunny is at it again. He has not yet accepted the fact we are not against Formula E, but against Formula E in a small Grade II Listed Park. But why spoil a good rant with some truth? And to the author, we are not arguing against transferable battery technology – the carbon footprint refers, as you ave so rightly put it, to shipping the cars, but also to 30,000 people per day arriving by private and public transport (surely they are not all walking from their homes), to the cooking, to the transmissions, to the heavy lorries that have been going in and out of the park for the past 5 days. And having looked back at the comments which Eddy has aroused not once was he called an “ignorant electric head”. Economical with the truth?

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    • Lol, so it’s come down to name calling has it? I never said I was a bunny, I merely adopted the alias of the main character from Who Framed Rodger Rabbit, a reference which seemed to be lost on all of you. I wanted to troll your group, and piss you off by presenting a different opinion to your own. To be honest I only did it because I am sick to death of hearing about your group and your endless negativity.

      You are against it, because you feel it’s a threat to your park; the ‘we have no problem with Formula E’ line I don’t believe for one second. Like Anil says in the article, if you can’t see the long term point of this then it’s not even worth arguing with you. You only think about yourself and in the short term, but this is the future and you can’t hold it back with your petty prejudice.

      That’s true, I wasn’t called an Electrichead directly (Although your group’s petition expressly labels anyone who supports the event as being one) but I was called “Ignorant” by John Fox, the ‘leader’ of your movement, on the Facebook page when I pointed out an article explaining that the event would bring £1 Million over the next few years to spend on maintenance. But I imagine John has since deleted that, as he doesn’t want people thinking that he is actually a closeminded and stubborn man who rejects opinions which don’t fit it with his own.

      Speaking of the Truth, your group has been very liberal with it yourself, criticising the ‘noise and disruption’ that will be caused by electric cars (Which really emit the same decibel level as an alarm clock), and also you’re claiming that people will arrive by private transport, when the website for the event clearly states that there will be no parking for private transport and strongly recommends public transport: Yes, pretty much all of us will be walking as a matter of fact, hard as that may be to believe. And you probably don’t realise that the Formula E cars are all shipped by ferry rather than air freight. So in terms of Carbon footprint it is not the Wolf in Sheep’s clothing you make it out to be.

      Really these arguments are pointless and serve no purpose. How about after the event we can have these discussions on the rights and wrongs and then decide whether your criticisms are founded or not.

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  3. Should add, the Action Group has not been offered free tickets. Friends of Battersea Park and the Battersea Society have a few “groundling” tickets, I believe. I was offered two, but turned them down on principle, as have others. We are not criticising Formula E, but the Council, who although initially very much against it, were then offered more money. Oh dear, the price of everything and the value of nothing.

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