Switzerland is a small nation known for a great many things in the larger world; neutrality, chocolates, precision watches, and even the Geneva Auto Show. One thing it isn’t know for though is racing, as motorsports were banned ever since the 1955 Le Mans racing disaster that killed or wounded over 200 people. But that ban could be lifted, thanks to the Formula E.
The Formula E racing series announced that it was working with the Swiss Council of States to make an exception to the 60-year racing series for electric vehicles. There hasn’t been a race in Switzerland since the last Swiss Grand Prix in 1954 at the Circuit Bremgarten, outside of Bern, and despite a defiant car culture, there are no official racetracks except the ghostly remains of the Bremgarten. In 2007 a bill to lift the motorsports ban was introduced, but after two years it failed to make it into law.
While there are unfortunately still fatal accidents in racing, Formula E cars can take an incredible amount of punishment, and drivers still walk away with hardly a scratch. Formula E is also bringing motorsports back to Moscow, which has only recently begun hosting international racing events, and none of the stature of Formula E.
Formula E may be able to change things, if only because the electric racing series has serious backing and environmental credentials. The racing series is also is working with two Swiss sponsors, Julius Baer and TAG Huer, to bring racing back to Switzerland. Other motorsports may be hopeful that this could allow them entry to Switzerland as well, but the ban is far from lifted. Formula E is hopeful to have something in place for the 2016/2017 season, though no decision on which city might host the race hasn’t been decided.
Zurich? Geneva? Or maybe even a faithful resurrection of the Bremgarten?