Auckland is set to miss out on the opportunity to host an ePrix after organisers warned that they might not be able to raise the required funds in time.
The CEO of the bid team Craig Cotton said that they need to raise around $14 million in order to satisfy their deal with Formula E.
To raise this Cotton says they need funds from the New Zealand Government, but the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has just ordered another round of feasibility studies which could take nine months to complete.
But with Formula E needing to know by the end of the year if Auckland wants to be included on the 2019-20 calendar then it means they would miss the deadline and with it lose their opportunity to host a race.
Speaking about the current impasse Cotton said that with the potential economic benefits of hosting a race being around $150 million, he was frustrated with the latest delay.
He told New Zealand website Struff, “One of the biggest sports research firms in the world, SMG have done a report saying the round of Formula E would deliver $150million of economic impact to Auckland for hosting the race and we need about $14million, to try to make it a reality.
“In the landscape of global events, $14m is not a lot, particularly the economic return you’ll get straight away.
“There’s talk that Formula E will overtake Formula One in the next three to five years in the motorsport world.
“In terms of the Government’s vision around the 2050 and 2035 sustainability and carbon free ambitions that were set, this can be a real catalyst for change, normalising electronic vehicles.”
Cotton said that it was not too late for the race to go ahead, but said he would need a sign of support from government ministers.
“We need to decide if this is an event we want to back and if so, get cracking on it.
“With these big events, you only get on chance and if you look at where Formula E is at present, they’ve just signed a record breaking deal for an event in the Middle East, worth US$60million a year.
“They’ve also announced an event in Korea for that sort of money and here we are with an opportunity for under $15million to get it locked in for five years.”
“The discussions are happening this week between the ministers. Our hope is that we can get a direction from the minister, saying there’s a lot of work to be done, but we’re supportive of this concept and we want to try to make it work.”