With less than three weeks until the start of the new season, report have emerged today that the Formula E Schools Series will not return in its support race capacity in 2015/16.
As reported by Current E, the category for 11-16 year old school children, which supported five rounds of the inaugural Formula E Championship, will be scrapped as the series moves into its second season with an expanded calendar.
As such, Formula E does not currently have a support category confirmed for the series – although Formula E CEO, Alejandro Agag, has previously stated his interest in an all-electric feeder series in the future.
A major PR blow
Scrapping the Schools Series is a major blow for the positive PR that Formula E has generated in the build up to the new season and undermines the sport’s STEM credentials in the long-term.
I wrote last year on why I believe the Schools Series to be Formula E’s greatest asset, supporting the messages of educational development in key disciplines and empowering a change in perspective that will be key to the widespread adoption of more sustainable electric cars.
With the UK alone facing a deficit of 80,000 STEM workers in the next two years alone, Formula E possessed a powerful PR and marketing asset that provided a clear impression of how the sport could develop new talent and influence more sustainable behaviours. The loss of the Schools Series is a major blow to this message and the movement as a whole.
Alongside the more positive moral messages, the Schools Series also provided an opportunity for budding engineers and drivers to test their skills on the very same grid as their heroes in front of their local crowd. This had the ability to inspire a whole new generation of racers and mechanics and its loss will be sorely felt.
The FIA has yet to comment on why the Schools Series will not return for the 2015/16 season.