After a four-year break, Formula E is returning to the UK as rounds 12 and 13 of the season will be held in London.
On July 24 and 25 on the spectacular track, which runs through an exhibition hall in the London Docklands, the title fight comes to a head. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, with its drivers Lucas di Grassi and René Rast, is within striking distance in both of the championship classifications.
In the first two seasons of Formula E, the title fight was only decided in the very last race, when Lucas di Grassi was one of the protagonists on both occasions and the capital of Great Britain provided some motorsport drama, according to the driver.
“We have already experienced many emotional moments in our Formula E history in London,” he said. “The headquarters of the series is based here, as is the case for many teams and drivers. You could say that Formula E is coming home.”
Everything is different this time in comparison to 2015 and 2016, when Formula E raced on the extremely narrow and bumpy tracks at Battersea Park. This year’s venue is the ExCel Exhibition Centre London in the London Docklands, located in the east side of the city. A first for the championship: a Formula E track runs through an enclosed exhibition hall.
At 2.252 kilometres in length, the track also holds numerous surprises due to the changing surfaces on the indoor and outdoor sections. For example, different grip conditions and, of course, changing conditions when it rains, according to Audi Team Principal Allan McNish.
“The circuit in London is definitely different from anything that we’ve seen before, but that’s what Formula E is all about,” he said. “It’s a new challenge for all of the engineers and drivers. We’re preparing intensively to go into the first practice as perfectly sorted as possible, but it will still be a relative voyage into the unknown.”
With four races to go in the inaugural world championship season, Formula E presents itself as exciting as never before: 15 drivers are within just 27 points of each other. Only a single perfect race day can earn a driver 30 points (victory, pole position, fastest race lap and being fastest after the group stage of qualifying). René Rast is in seventh place of the drivers’ standings before the races in London, while Lucas di Grassi is in twelfth place.
London will host two races during the weekend. The start time is at 3 p.m. local time (4 p.m. CEST) on Saturday and 2 p.m. local time (3 p.m. CEST) on Sunday. Fronted by Vernon Kay both London races will be shown live on Channel 4, as well as available via its on-demand streaming platform All4.