FIA criticised for calendar clash – “It’s just really nuts”

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Robin Frijns believes the FIA “clearly” does not support drivers competing in more than one championship, as proven by the upcoming Formula E and World Endurance Championship (WEC) clash.

Formula E’s Berlin E-Prix double-header and WEC’s Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps fall on the same weekend in May, impacting seven Formula E drivers.

Frijns, Nico Müller, Edoardo Mortara, Nyck de Vries, Stoffel Vandoorne, Jean-Eric Vergne and Sebastian Buemi all compete in both championships, something which previously was not a problem.

Despite the initial frustration of the events clashing, those tied to both championships had hoped they would be able to travel from Spa to Berlin to make the second race of the double-header.

That option is no longer possible following an e-vote at the recent São Paulo E-Prix. Five teams voted against allowing the impacted drivers to race in both championships on May 11-12.

Vandoorne and Vergne have already revealed they will be prioritising Formula E over WEC. In fear of calendar clashes, some teams in Formula E block drivers from competing in WEC, to avoid having to find a replacement. Envision will need two new drivers for the Berlin E-Prix.

Out of order

Frijns has not hidden his frustration at how the calendar clash has been handled, with the FIA receiving the bulk of the criticism. The governing body approved both calendars after Formula E and WEC failed to agree on a way forward.

The Envision driver has questioned the FIA’s decision and is angered a solution was not discovered.

“Very frustrating,” Frijns told RacingNews365, hours before the announcement was made. “Especially when we have two world championships by the same people that organise it.

“Probably they also have guys that take care of the fact that there’s no clash, I don’t know what they’ve been doing then. I think, seven or eight people here do WEC as well. We have only three races of WEC in the first half of the normal year, which is the complete season of Formula E.

“Fifty-two weekends throughout the year, which means we have 26 weekends. To have free weekends fitting in the Formula E programme, and if you cannot manage to do that, I think it’s just really nuts.”

‘Communication is key’

A key reason why drivers choose to race in Formula E and WEC is because the Formula E season covers only six to seven months, resulting in a quiet end to the year.

Frijns pointed out that many years ago, drivers often raced in both F1 and F2, convincing the Dutchman that the FIA do not support drivers who choose to race in both championships.

“I’m just very frustrated about the fact because everything worked fine the last couple of years, and many people did both championships, me as well,” added the 32-year-old Dutchman.

“But it’s an ongoing discussion, and I just found that, especially in these times, this stuff shouldn’t have happened.

“Communication is key. And back in the day, people did Formula 1 and Formula 2 at the same weekend, and they are allowing it. So what’s the problem?”

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