Formula E boss takes aim with F1 heading towards ‘racing in IKEA car parks’ as street track influence grows

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc overtakes Lewis Hamilton

Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton battle.

Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds joked Formula 1 will soon enough be racing in “IKEA car parks” as street tracks continue to join the scene.

With Formula 1 experiencing a popularity boom unlike nothing the series has seen before, the demand for a spot on the calendar has never been greater, with a record-breaking 24 rounds scheduled to form the F1 2024 campaign.

‘Slower F1 cars helping street track transition’

And when looking at the more recent additions to the F1 calendar, as well as venues readying to join, many of the new battlegrounds come in the form of street tracks.

While the Dutch and Qatar GPs which have joined the scene take place on racing circuits, the Saudi Arabian, Miami and Las Vegas GPs all represent races that take place around temporary street tracks, while for 2026 a Madrid Grand Prix will join the mix, that also to take place on a street circuit.

Formula E meanwhile is looking to head in the other direction. A series which had been street circuit-specific, Dodds explained to Motorsport.com that the “full potential” of their current generation car cannot be tapped into at some tracks.

That has opened the door for events around circuits, such as China’s Shanghai International Circuit and Mexico’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, which F1 also visits, to join the FE calendar.

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And Dodds believes F1 has become the perfect circuit/street track hybrid series as “the car is slower than it was in the past”, joking that we will see F1 going racing around the car parks of IKEA down the line.

“F1 can go from big autodromes to street circuits for two reasons. One: they’re trying to attract new fans, which is good for them. The second: the car is slower than it was in the past,” said Dodds.

“And our cars are getting much faster. So in order to show our full potential, on some street circuits we can’t do that anymore. In the Gen3.5 car, with a top speed of over 320 km/h, we can’t show the full potential on certain tracks.

“We need other ‘circumstances’ to show our technology. If you wait a while, you’ll see F1 racing in Ikea car parks, something like that.”

Formula 1’s next calendar stop takes place at a well-established street track, that being Albert Park, host of the Australian Grand Prix since 1996.

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