In the early years of Formula 1, the Swiss Grand Prix was a regular fixture on the calendar. All that changed in 1955 however, as following the multiple deaths of the Le Mans disaster that year, the country decided to ban all motorsport in the country - except for the odd bit of rallying and hillclimbing (there was a Swiss Grand Prix in 1982, but that was actually held in France).
In 2015 the ban lifted some of the restrictions, meaning that theoretically circuit racing could return to the country, as long as it was for an all-electric series - like, for instance, Formula E…
Now, following a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council, it’s been announced that Formula E will indeed visit Switzerland as part of its 2017/18 season.
The race will be held in Zurich on 10 June, making it the first race to take place in the country for 64 years. It’s a pretty big deal, and unsurprisingly FIA president Jean Todt sees it as a massive achievement.
“I am very pleased that circuit racing is returning to Switzerland next year with the FIA Formula E Championship event in Zurich. To be able to reintroduce this discipline to a country where it has been absent since it was banned in 1955 is an exciting prospect, and the achievement of an important goal for the FIA. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in making it a reality, as it is important for us to continue to bring motor sport to new audiences around the world.”
Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag is also chuffed with the news, which is yet another feather in the cap for the championship which has already drawn headlines this year for enticing the likes of Mercedes, Porsche, and BMW to its ranks in the near future. He said:
“I’m thrilled that Formula E is bringing racing back to Switzerland for the first time in over 60 years. This wouldn’t have been possible without the core fundamentals of Formula E - driving the electric revolution and sustainable mobility.”
Sebastien Buemi, a Swiss native and Formula Es most successful (and most angry) driver said the news that he’ll get to race in his home country is “like a dream come true”.
Zurich isn’t the only new track to join the Formula E calendar; Santiago, Sao Paolo, and Rome will also make their debut appearances in the championship next year.