Rising popularity of Formula 1 drives WEC and Formula E to suffer


clash formula 1 and le mans not avoided due to popularity of sport
16 June at 11:00
  • Ludo van Denderen

For motorsport enthusiasts, the weekend of 14 and 15 June '25 will be quite busy. Not only is the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix then and IndyCar visits Detroit; the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans will also be run then. A triple clash that could hardly be avoided now that F1 has become hugely popular. So popular that other major racing classes suffer.

Naturally, the FIA and the l'Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) looked into whether there was any other time in the motorsport calendar for the world's biggest endurance event. Running at the same time with Formula 1 and, to a lesser extent, IndyCar is anything but ideal in terms of exposure. But the international calendar has gradually become so full that there is hardly any room to make a race like Le Mans a stand-alone. Just as the 6 Hours of Imola, the Lone Star Le Mans (at COTA in the US) and the 8 Hours of Bahrain in the WEC are run simultaneously with a GP.

Formula 1 already gobbles up many weekends

The World Endurance Championship (which Le Mans is a part of) has now grown to an eight-race championship, IndyCar has 17 races scheduled in '25 and Formula E operates on 11 weekends. Yet the biggest 'problem' is Formula 1. Wherever the prestigious F1 circus goes, there are always sold-out grandstands and organisers all over the world are therefore eager to host a race. For the '25 season, 24 Grands Prix are again scheduled, eventually expanding to 25 per season is not out of the question.

Compared to Formula 1, every other class pales in comparison - even though the WEC is currently growing tremendously. No event wants to be programmed at the same time as a Grand Prix, because that means fewer viewers, less media exposure and, as a logical consequence, less revenue. But with the F1 calendar growing so large, there is little to no room to stay away from an F1 weekend every time.

WEC and Formula E clash too

Le Mans and the Canadian Grand Prix clash in '25, but chances are this was chosen for this with the Formula E calendar in mind. The electric class already had one clash with the WEC (Berlin in FE, Brazil in WEC, ed) planned for '25, once again holding a race at the same time as the endurance championship was certainly not desirable. Indeed, a number of drivers compete in both Formula E and the WEC, and their teams are anything but happy if they have to choose one or the other over two weekends.

A risk of participating in two series outsiders might say. It should be noted, however, that drivers under Formula 1 do not earn millions a year. An average driver in Formula E does not become treasure-rich from their sport, so is happy if they can also get into the WEC, and visa versa.

New WEC rules add complication

Formula E teams as well as Formula One teams are likely to suffer clashes with endurance racing in '25. This is because the FIA announced last week that the rules in the main class of the WEC - the hypercars - are changing: from '25, factory teams will have to enter at least two cars to accumulate points for the conctructors' championship. Teams like Lamborghini and Cadillac will therefore need more drivers for their WEC adventure, while Aston Martin will also report to the grid with two hypercars in '25. To fill those cars, these teams soon end up with drivers currently driving Formula E or reserves in Formula 1 (see, for example, Mick Schumacher currently at Alpine).