Why the BPAG/FE deal was the best case scenario

Well, Monday’s article is now very old news given what happened only a few hours after I posted it. What transpired in the unfolding story of Formula E and Battersea Park turned out to be a plot twist that would make M. Night Shyamalan blush.

A few weeks ago, BPAG met with Formula E staff (I also strongly suspect Agag was involved heavily in these meetings, but with so few details I cannot confirm this), and through their solicitors came to a mutually binding agreement: BPAG would drop the court case against Wandsworth Council in regards to their handling of the Formula E event, meaning that this year’s event would take place as planned.

Now, isn’t that a minor miracle?

Anyone who read my first e-racing.net article about the subject might remember what I said at the end of it:

It saddens me to think that I, a 2nd year university student and in many respects a complete outsider to this scenario, may have been the only person remotely connected to Formula E to have actually met with the action group in person. I truly believe that the only way to resolve the conflict is to negotiate with residents, not to ignore them further.

I wrote that in September 2015. For six months I saw no sign of any negotiations between the two parties, and I began to wonder whether I was wrong. Maybe this wasn’t something where they could just talk it out over a pint and meet each other halfway. The judicial review was filed and a court case with terrible consequences seemed inevitable; I was forever worrying about what might or might not happen. I felt like everyone in Formula E Addicts was being forced to take sides, and at times the atmosphere could be rather toxic, to the point that I was asked specifically not to bring it up unless absolutely necessary as it was causing far more trouble than was worth it in the group. It’s been by far the most divisive and frustrating topic to talk about in the relatively short history of Formula E, and I find it very telling how the demise of Moscow (In my opinion a much better track) didn’t seem to pique anywhere near as much of an emotional response from fans compared to Battersea.

Upon learning that the court case was off and an agreement had been reached, my response was one of huge, huge relief that both sides had made a sensible compromise, though I appreciate that it can’t have been an easy decision for either of them. The fact that Formula E came to the same conclusion that I did makes me feel slightly vindicated in my approach; I wasn’t a traitor for seeking these guys out and wanting to hear their full side of the story after all.

However, the trade-off for Jamie Jackson withdrawing his Judicial Review, as we discovered just after, is that Formula E is never to return to the Park: July 2-3 2016 will be the ‘Last hurrah’ for Battersea and Formula E.

Thankfully for Formula E fans, Alejandro Agag is working with London’s mayor Sadiq Khan to find a new location, and the most prevalent rumour being spread by Agag through the media is that a track with Buckingham Palace as a backdrop is what they are currently pursuing. I was quite concerned about the lack of comment from the recently elected Mayor but now it seems from his spokesperson’s statement he is fully behind Formula E, and that’s crucial for the future of the sport in London. Fingers crossed Khan has learned lessons from the mistakes of his predecessor.

I would also like to take back my comments about Agag’s press conference in Paris, where I felt his statements did not match up with reality and I doubted him. It turns out his claims that he had met regularly with the residents and got to know their opinions were actually true despite what the protestors told me at the time. (This also explains the “There’s only 9 of them” comment; those must just be the 9 people that he met in his negotiations) Obviously they were concealing information from me in order to honour their agreement, (I’ve had to sign an NDA once myself, so I understand this too) which I think was for the best. I wish they could have hinted that I didn’t need to write so much for the last article though…

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I agree with Nicki in the sense that Formula E will benefit the environment in the long term, but although you can just simply boil it down to politics, I never saw it as a fight between FE and BPAG; BPAG were fighting the Council’s misconduct over one event, and FE were simply caught in the crossfire.

The reaction from supporters of both camps to the joint statement, as well as the news surrounding it, has been…Interesting, to say the least. I’ve noticed a tendency to focus on the negative: The locals were initially unhappy about the fact that BPAG had relented over this year’s race, but seemed to calm down when reports emerged that Battersea was definitively off the menu for 2017 and beyond. Whilst they’ll understandably be skeptical about Formula E’s return and repeats of last year’s issues, I think most are treating it a little bit like having a medical operation: It’s not pleasant for you whilst it’s happening, but once it’s done it won’t have to be repeated again.

Formula E fans and staff on the other hand seem to be annoyed that the protestors “got their way” (I’m not sure they all realise that this court case wasn’t a mere formality that they could have won easily, but a big, big risk for the championship decider) but some have also admitted that there were problems with Battersea as a venue. Of course we get the “NIMBY’s ruined everything” response, which I could understand if we were talking about a permanent track that people were complaining about, but Battersea is not a permanent track, it was forced upon people by Boris Johnson and the local council without extensive consultation, or any to speak of really. I think overall fans liked Battersea for it’s atmosphere and qualities as a park and recreational area in the e-village (the largest one on the calendar) much more so than the racetrack, which let’s be honest has been shoe-horned onto it’s ring road. Despite that, I had good memories as a spectator there last year, and we’ve already got some exciting plans this year too for our group meet there. It’s still going to be bittersweet for me once the last race is over on July 3rd.

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Stefan Wilson qualifying for Sunday’s Indy 500 in a tribute helmet.

While the news in Battersea has been on balance a positive development, I’ve also got an eye on this weekend’s Indianapolis 500 which I think is worth mentioning. Making his debut in it is a driver by the name of Stefan Wilson, who is the younger brother of ex-Formula One and Indycar star Justin Wilson, who lost his life in a tragic accident in August last year. Justin was a childhood hero of mine from his time in F1 during 2003, and also competed in Formula E last season. Infact, he was scheduled to take part in the 2015 races at Battersea Park, but had a deal to compete in Pikes Peak instead and had to miss it, so unfortunately I never got to meet him. Ahead of his debut Stefan has written a deeply personal and moving article reflecting on his relationship with his older brother and motor racing in general: It’s worth checking out. It’s going to be a bit emotional for me if Stefan can cross the line of bricks that denote the finish line on Sunday, no matter where he places.

 

Why the BPAG/FE deal was the best case scenario

Why the London ePrix could still be cancelled in Court (Updated)

After Saturday’s Berlin ePrix, which left Lucas Di Grassi only 1 point in the lead from Sebastien Buemi, Formula E is set for another exciting denouement over the course of two races in Battersea Park on July 2nd/3rd. However there is one final potential stumbling block that has to be cleared.

On Tuesday May 24th, (Tomorrow) the immediate future of the London ePrix will be decided in a court of law after the local BPAG protesters (Battersea Park Action Group) decided to take legal action with a crowdfunding campaign on crowdjustice.co.uk that has raised almost £21,000 over 60 days. If the campaign succeeds then it will have huge implications, not only prematurely ending this year’s championship, but also potentially damaging the series by denying it’s Blue Ribbon event. How did it come to this?

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I imagine this lot won’t be very happy if the judge rules against the Council… (Infact I’m in there too, somewhere)

The first step that the Battersea Park Action Group tried to take to stop the event after the first running of the race last year, which most in the area hadn’t heard about until construction work started, was to invoke the break clause; this proved unsuccessful when Conservative councillors (Whom make up the majority in Wandsworth) on the overview and scrutiny committee voted against it 7-4 in November, despite a demonstration of about 200 people outside the Town Hall and four deputations all arguing against the event. There was a full council meeting in December on the day before the break clause deadline, and this once again led to a vote in favour of the continued running of the race for 2016 and 2017. (32:21, the majority in the 2014 vote was 43) Next was the planning permission, in which over 600 people/groups, including the the Campaign to Protect Rural England, The London Wildlife Trust, the Open Spaces Society and the Friends of Battersea Park, wrote in to persuade the planning committee that the event should not be approved on (Among other issues) the grounds that it contravened certain parts of a few important acts that are in place to protect Battersea Park; they were again dismissed.

Now, Jamie Jackson, a blind author and member of the Battersea Park Action Group, has filed for a Judicial review challenging Wandsworth Council’s actions; they have also acquired legal representation from Dan Kolinsky, a barrister and QC who practices in planning, rating, local government, public, and crucially environmental law. Kolinsky even has very recent experience of a noise judicial review against the M-Sport Rally team last year, in which although not entirely successful he was able to convince the Judge that: “a condition imposed to deal with noise, when properly interpreted, did not allow for the control of maximum noise levels; something which the Council intended it to do.” http://www.landmarkchambers.co.uk/cases.aspx?id=3663

In hiring Kolinsky, Jackson has shown that he means business by getting capable representation who’s CV suggests that he should be able to cause a few headaches for Wandsworth Council. (And most likely Formula E, who as an interested party being dragged into the conflict for obvious reasons, will of course be bringing in their own highly paid lawyers)

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BPAG have been critical of the attitude shown by construction workers, Formula E staff and Councillors towards them.

The case itself is essentially two-fold: Firstly they feel that the scale and length of the park’s closure (19 days) oversteps the mark outlined in law, and secondly there is a challenge to the planning consent, which they consider flawed. There are statutory restrictions on the Council which dictate that they cannot close all or part of the park for more than six days and further restrictions on the amount of the park that the Council can close for an event. (In Formula E’s case it’s in the region of 92%) Another overarching concern is that this sets a dangerous precedent for what will happen to other green spaces, in London particularly.

In terms of money, even if the crowdfunding stalls at £21,000, I have been told by members of BPAG that their bank balance is such that they’re are able to make up the shortfall, which is important as court cases aren’t cheap to arrange, and they’re even more expensive if you lose, or if there’s an appeal. From the protestors’ perspective they have nothing to lose; that’s not to say they don’t expect Jackson to win or that their case is desperate, but this is definitely a last ditch effort. The same cannot be said for their opponents, particularly Formula E who of course have suffered the recent loss of the Moscow round and have an awful lot to lose. There is a potential replacement venue in the form of the ExCel exhibition centre, (Beyond London though there is a rumour that an alternative Moscow venue is also in the frame) but if the tomorrow’s case goes against them it is doubtful there will be enough time before July 2nd to arrange a replacement, and it is currently unknown whether Formula E have sought one out. One thing’s for sure: Formula E know they must ensure that Wandsworth Council win their case; so much of the business and the reputation of the sport hangs on this outcome. One minor misinterpretation or alleged misconduct could be the chink in the armour that might put years of work in jeopardy.

As you’d expect, tension between local protestors on the one side and the Council and Formula E on the other is at an all time high. Conservative councillor Tessa Strickland chose to attend the public meeting in April; ( the protestors hold one every other month at Ethelburga community centre) she arrived unannounced, without signing in and wasn’t recognised until she was spotted taking copious notes. There was discontent at the untrusted Strickland’s perceived underhandedness as she insisted she was only there to listen to concerns and that her presence was “Not political”. The situation was resolved by the group’s chairman, Professor Paul Ekins, who decided to settle the issue with a show of hands for whether the Councillor should stay or go. She was respectfully asked to leave, but not before those present pointed out that she should have listened to their concerns when they had initially bought them up back in Summer. Whichever side you view it from, it was a ludicrous situation which illustrates just how far things have gotten out of hand by this point.

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Sadiq Khan has not openly aligned himself with either side of the debate, neither before nor after being elected as Mayor of London.

There is also a new factor at play here, in that one of the event’s biggest supporters, Boris Johnson, no longer holds office as the Mayor of London. Instead it is former Tooting councillor and Labour party member Sadiq Khan. The new Mayor has been placed into a pretty difficult situation by his predecessor in regards to the London ePrix: Johnson was a key player in both securing the use of the park and also in promoting the event, even driving a show-car around the circuit, and it’s not a huge leap of logic to think that Alejandro Agag will be expecting similar support from Khan. However, Wandsworth Labour have sided with the protestors against the ePrix, so will Khan disregard his own party and throw his weight behind the event? Will he back Labour up and take the step of launching a probe into the actions of his predecessor? (As he has done with the controversial Garden Bridge project) Or will he just keep to his current stance of staying out of the whole thing and waiting for the court outcome before making any comment about it? To be honest the latter may be the least risky option for him.

Finally, according to motorsport.com, London does not feature on the draft calendar for season 3; there is a very real fear amongst UK Formula E fans that this year’s event will be it’s last, irrespective of this court outcome. Nethertheless, I’m still holding my breath until it comes.    

…And now I can breathe again.

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More to come soon, but I could not be more relieved to read this right now.

Why the London ePrix could still be cancelled in Court (Updated)

FE issues resolved + Thoughts on Paris

My social media troubles are over

Originally this was just going to be my reaction addressing things that happened in Paris. But I should begin by explaining that recently both of the issues that I ranted about pretty angrily in the last blog post, which was very reactionary, have since been resolved. Firstly the guy who insulted me is no longer associated with the UK Formula E Fansite. In fairness he contacted me on this very blog to claim that his account was hacked and he apologised, which if true (And I can only really take his comment at face value) then I guess the whole thing is probably even more unfortunate for him than it was for me.

Despite the fact that I help run a Formula E group of my own that’s come to blows with a few of them in the past, I think the official fan pages on Facebook in principle are a good idea, they are building fairly niche audiences within each country and allowing the Fansite operators to have unique experiences at each race, which they then write about for the main website; it’s allowing the fans to do your publicity for you, which reaps it’s own rewards. We’re all doing what we’re doing because we love the sport, and to be honest I think what happened was just a one off incident, I don’t think it’s indicative of a wider resentment amongst the fangroups towards Formula E Addicts; it is a little awkward to have what is essentially an unofficial fan group competing for the attention of the same audience to the official fan groups, but we both work hard to build up the audiences that we have, and I have a good deal of respect for those that work there and I don’t really look down on them at all. I even briefly thought about applying to the UK fangroup myself but decided to stick with what I had already helped build up rather than jumping ship to the unknown. Looking back that was absolutely the right choice for me to make and I’ve really enjoyed what I have done so far this year for Formula E Addicts.

Even more reassuringly on Monday Formula E unblocked me after I sent them an email explaining that I’d been blocked without good reason and it turned out that they didn’t really know why I’d been blocked either; there was no conspiracy after all, it was just a mistake somewhere down the line it sounds like. But a big thanks to everyone involved for sorting out both of these issues.

Problems in Les Invalides

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The 2016 Paris ePrix was a pretty solid race. Slightly sedate in the second half perhaps by Formula E’s high standards of action, (And spoilt by an unfortunately timed Safety car in the final laps) but it had it’s moments, Lucas Di Grassi is a very deserving back-to-back winner and championship leader, and it can’t be denied that it was an incredibly unique and stunning looking setting right next to recognisable historic monuments such as the Eiffel tower and the Les Invalides building. However not everyone had a good experience trackside; many fans were not let into the circuit until the first practice session was over, which meant they missed the action that they had paid for, and there were further problems once people got into the circuit as well…In general it seemed like the 10,000 VIP’s there for free got a much, much better deal than the 10,000 ticket holders who had to pay; it’s not an exaggeration to say that the organisation was a bit of a disaster for these fans, even if it did not affect the race. (Despite one adventurous Marshal who stepped onto the side of the track from behind the barrier during a Full Course Yellow) Here’s a selection of stories from disgruntled fans trackside:

Au les écrans sont pour les gens en gradins qui voient déjà… (Places en gradin non mises en vente)

The #ParisePrix screens are for people in bleachers who are already seeing… (Places on benches not put up for sale)

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—  Lauren Provost (@Lauren_Provost) 23 April 2016

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Good point about the region block actually…Perhaps viewing rights is a topic for another time.

Admittedly the spectator views were also poor in Battersea Park during the London ePrix, which like in Paris resulted in a lot of Fans watching it on the big screen in the eVillage, although at least at that race last year it wasn’t quite as bad as Les Invalides because you could at least pay for a viewing platform without having to be a VIP. For the sake of balance I’d like to stress that some ordinary fans did get slightly better views of the track (I had some friends who were at turn 1 for instance, and they got a great view of Sam Bird’s spin near the end of the race) and their enthusiasm wasn’t dampened by the organisational issues; however the sheer amount of complaints is massive enough for Formula E to actually put out a survey asking for detailed feedback a few days after the race; that’s not something they’ve had to do at all so far, so I guess they are keen to show that Paris is an important market for the sport. (and it is) And as I said earlier it did look brilliant in terms of backdrop.

Before the race, local French commentators warned us, but not about the lacklustre fan experience: Once again, just like Berlin there was yet another political movement by local Green politicians who strongly objected to the environmental impact of the event, in particular the laying down of temporary Bitumen tarmac over the pavement/cobblestones outside Napolean’s tomb. (which is of historical significance due to having been constructed by POW’s a century ago) However, you’d be forgiven for dismissing their arguments entirely: Perhaps my schoolboy understanding of French (And my subsequent dependency on Google Translate) makes them sound far more nonsensical and incoherent than they actually are but I can’t accept bullshit rationale such as this:

“E” as Electric is not enough to make us modern and ecological things. Nobody asks the electric car to go fast, very fast … especially not in town! The figures for road deaths still just essentially increase due to non-compliance with speed limits. In town, the glorification of speed is really not the right message.

Just like the weakest and most sensationalist part of the Berlin anti-FE crowd’s argument, these commentators completely and utterly miss the point of not just Electric Vehicle racing, but the entire concept of motor racing in general by suggesting that the presence of Formula E will contribute to deaths on the road. It’s clear that A) They didn’t bother to do any research and B) the motive for their opposition to the race is simply to attack their Rightwing opponents who support it; they are not altruistic or hoping to serve local people whatsoever in intent, and it doesn’t surprise me either: I’d expect nothing less from self-serving, ignorant politicians in any country. As I established in detail in my post to FE Protestors, Formula E and the FIA in particular do a substantial amount for road safety; if anything under president Jean Todt the balance is too far in favour of road safety campaigns rather than focusing on issues in the actual sport that Todt runs; yes, Jean was heavily involved in the genesis of Formula E and should be given credit for approving the concept and pushing for it. But this is also the man who rather insensitively compared the number of deaths in the Paris Terrorist attacks of November last year to the higher number of fatal road traffic accidents worldwide. Of course factually there is nothing wrong with that assertion, but in my opinion it was a case of Todt (Not for the first time) showing his inhumanity by bringing up his favourite hobby-horse in the worst possible way, showing how out of touch he is with both fans of the sport and human suffering in general. That’s not to discredit the work that the FIA does for Road Safety whatsoever, but at some point you have to get your house in order and I think Todt is blind to the issues his lack of focus has created.

And that in my opinion is the absolute tragedy of the Paris ePrix: Here was an event in the heart of a city which only 6 months ago suffered a devastating and high profile bombing which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more; this race could have brought people together and have been a really positive event for locals; it could have given something back even to those unfamiliar to FE. During qualifying eventual pole sitter Sam Bird even made a brief but touching reference to the city’s solidarity after the attacks. But what we got instead was an event that divided people; it divided VIP’s from the rest of us, and it divided fans from their view of the track with a few badly placed advertising hoardings. The legacy left in Paris for fans is a messy one and one which needs to be rectified as soon as possible. Thankfully the Official Facebook page for the Paris ePrix is at least addressing the issues and pledging to do something about them. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one due to them recently encouraging reaction and their willingness to listen; let’s hope they follow through and make changes based upon this feedback so that a lot less fans leave Paris disenchanted next year… Got to hope that they give Formula E a second chance though.

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Agag and Todt awkwardly tackle the tricky subject of protestors

With protestors in the Battersea Park Action Group (BPAG) charging ahead with their crowdfunding campaign to take legal action against Wandsworth Council which threatens to jeopardise all future races there, Alejandro Agag is under a lot of pressure and scrutiny. It was still a surprise though that 14 minutes in a lady in the press conference (Which Agag did with Todt on the the day before the race in Paris) decided to ask them if they still believed that the London ePrix would be a success despite the bad press the event was receiving. I’m going to address some issues I had with his answer here.

First off, it’s only a subtlety and I know they’re good friends, but I think Agag’s “I answer and then you” to Todt comes off as a little bit arrogant and condescending towards him; and I’m not exactly a member of Jean’s fanclub either…

“So there is no negative press about Battersea Park.”

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Hmm…

Searching “Battersea Park Formula E negative press” yields 41,500 results on Google. Of the top four, the first is an article by weekly Motorsport magazine Autosport covering the review and services committee meeting in November at which there was about 200 Protestors demonstrating outside Wandsworth town hall, which councillors themselves said was one of the largest they’d ever seen. The article is written by Scott Mitchell, a motorsport journalist whom I respect and admire, and whilst he concedes that the Council’s inability to repair damage/revert alterations made to the park from the race several months afterwards is unacceptable, overall he doesn’t agree with the protestors even though he does express concern that Formula E’s legacy in Battersea could be tainted by the fiasco; but tonally this a positive article which supports the event even though it is giving attention to the controversy. The second result is a Horticulture weekly article which as you’d expect takes the Protestors’ side; bizarrely the “bad publicity”part in the flavour text is actually from a  comment that I wrote on that article, so I’m not sure it would necessarily show up that high without that particular phrase in there, but nevertheless it can’t been seen as any anything other than bad publicity for the event. The third is a link to the news section of Battersea Park Action Group’s website, which is devoted almost exclusively to Formula E’s misdemeanours, and the group doesn’t hold back it’s angry vitriol in it’s reactions. The fourth result is from the London tabloid newspaper the Evening Standard which talks about Jamie Jackson’s legal challenge, crowdfunding and the fast approaching court case. Usually Formula E creates promotional content for the Standard which it then pays to have in the paper, however covering the controversy obviously goes beyond that remit. So I would say as a source that the Standard supports whichever side they think will bring in the most views on a given day, but this particular article is quite negative. Finally, we see images of both the race and the construction work which took place to build the race last year; the images of the build day are unflattering to say the least. It’s also worth pointing out that if you search for “Formula E Battersea Park” you might see an ad that the Open Spaces Society have paid for an ad for the campaign to appear on the first page of your Google Search. So Alejandro has not gotten off to a great start here; rather than addressing the problem he instantly sets out to deny it. An incredibly easy point to disprove, and a very unhelpful thing to say.

“There is 10 people around Battersea Park who complain and they’re extremely noisy. And I respect all opinions. And I have to respect these 10 people- maybe they’re 9- people’s opinions. But 30,000  people- No, 60,000 people (over) effectively 2 days, came to the race. So I think 60,000 is more than 9. And in a democracy, majority rules; and the Majority in Battersea and Wandsworth decided to go for that race. So we respect all opinions, but we have our own: And we think Battersea will be a great success.”

Notice how he very deliberately repeats that he “respects all opinions”; he’s presenting a very black and white narrative that presents himself as the innocent good guy fighting off a minority of bitchy NIMBY’s too selfish and deranged to let the Council lend out the park to Formula E. Oh, how I wish that were the truth; it would make the world so much easier to deal with wouldn’t it? If everyone who ever disagreed with Formula E was always wrong in every circumstance.

The “Only 9 people” part doesn’t make sense to me. The public meetings at the local community centre that I’ve been to have always had at least 20-25 or so present; 600 residents sent in messages opposing the planning permission, and over 400 have sent in money to the legal crowdfunding campaign. Finally the Petition has 2,863 signatures; although I’m not sure that all of these come from within the borough, more likely the number has been boosted by residents from the rest of London, though I still suspect that a majority of the signatures are from within Wandsworth. (And before anyone asks, rest assured that I’ve not donated to their crowdfunding or signed their petition; and anyone who expects me to do so because of my general sympathy for the movement is simply asking too much of me. I may not be a great journalist by any standards but I have always tried to give both sides of the debate a fair hearing and tried to remain as objective as I can)

Now you can say that nearly 3,000 is still only a small percentage of Wandsworth’s population and that Agag’s point still stands that they are a minority, and that’s fair enough; I won’t pretend that the entire borough, infant children and all, is behind the campaign. But to grossly misrepresent his opposition like this is a joke quite frankly. The next part though was what shocked me the most:

I keep meeting with those 9 people, actually I get along quite well with them when we’re not discussing about the race, they like Formula E, they just wanna use their park because it’s on their backyard, but you know, we also want to use it.

I’ve got assurance from protestors that Alejandro has never once even met with the protestors in person, nor even sent anyone else from FEH to do so on his behalf; I have been pushing for Agag to actually talk to them since last year so this really upsets me; there’s no nice way of putting this, but Agag’s assertion here is completely misleading and untrue. I would argue that infact they don’t get on with him whatsoever, indicated by his presence on their infamous “Hall of shame”:

Copied from SaveBatterseaPark.com

ALEJANDRO AGAG

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CEO, Formula E Holdings.

Son-in-law of previous Spanish Prime Minister, Aznar, to whom he was, for many years, a chief aide. Friend of Berlusconi, Murdoch and Briatore – all chief witnesses at his wedding in El Escorial.

What can we say about Alejandro? An ambitious billionaire, who claims green credentials. Make no mistake about it, an event that involves a massive carbon footprint, noise from 3 weeks construction, 800 diesel operated top loaders, diesel-run generators, thousands of tonnes of concrete and debris screens, full or partial park closure for more than three weeks, zoo animals moved, helicopters, is not green. Judging from some of the statements he has made, he is either unaware of the meaning of green, or else he is being deliberately obfuscatory.

But don’t worry. According to Agag this is just all just a big front; they love him really. The second part of Agag’s statement, that they actually have nothing against Formula E, was something echoed by the group at the start of the campaign quite often; I think their issues are more to do with Formula E Holdings than the sport itself as a whole, but unfortunately they can’t help themselves but complain about trivial aspects of the sport which don’t affect them, I.E. The concept of FanBoost or even in one instance the diversity of the drivers. If they had any begrudging respect for the sport at the start of their campaign, that seems to have disappeared now; they feel they haven’t been given any so it seems they haven’t bothered doing so in return.

Finally Todt finally got to give his 2 cents on the issue:

It’s human nature to criticise and to be against even if it’s something that is outstanding, so we cannot avoid it. We’re all aware that there is also some unhappiness in Paris, but wherever it goes you will not have unanimity of people being happy over the development of something. But I think globally it is an overwhelming support which we get for Formula E.

I can see where Todt is coming from, but again I doubt he is fully aware of the situation in Battersea beyond what Agag and co. have told him. Comparing it to the issues in Paris is kind of a moot point because, as I said, it’s just some Green politicians in Paris who are complaining; in London it’s members of the public complaining about the politicians who voted for Formula E. Whether Formula E truly does have global support is something that does worry me, especially recently hearing that Bureaucracy and admin issues in Russia are set to sabotage that event from continuing, which is a huge shame as it was actually one of the best ones. Even if it does have universal support globally there are definitely question marks over the London event, and far from steadying troubled waters, Agag’s comments have added fuel to the fire. We’ll let the law decide, although personally I’m not sure the protestors stand a dog’s chance in Court based on their current approach.

Anyway, sorry the promised Rosberg article has taken so long; turns out it’s not easy to fully analyse an 11 year career in detail quickly. To make up for it here is my entry to a Lego Porsche competition that I finished in the past few days:

 

 

FE issues resolved + Thoughts on Paris