Breaking old ground

Motor racing finally returns to Switzerland

The Zurich E-Prix will remembered for much more than the end of reigning Formula E champion Lucas di Grassi’s absence from the winner’s circle. It also ended a much longer drought.

The event was the first formal motor race in Switzerland for nearly 64 years, since Juan Manuel Fangio triumphed for Mercedes in that year’s Swiss GP at Bremgarten. Circuit racing was later banned in the wake of the 1955 Le Mans 24 Hours disaster, in which more than 80 people were killed.

This prohibition was lifted back in 2015 and it should be no surprise that Formula E should revive motor racing in an environmentally-conscious country. 

Switzerland, home of many of the championship’s sponsors, had been on the FE radar for some time.

There was a demonstration run on the streets of Geneva before the end of the opening season of the FE series, and the first proposal for a race was in Lugano in 2017.

There probably won’t be a Swiss GP any time soon, but the FE race in Zurich at the beginning of June was an important step for a country that has produced a line of Grand Prix drivers — including Jo Siffert, Clay Regazzoni and Marc Surer, not to mention Le Mans winners Marcel Fässler, Neel Jani and Sébastien Buemi.

FE has proved its ground-breaking credentials once again.