Formula E back on track

The all-electric racing series will return to the track in August for a condensed run to the final.

After a long absence, Formula E will make a welcome return to the track with an intensive six program of races in nine days to decide the 2019/20 season.

22 June, 2020

As has been the case with most sports around the world, it’s been a long time since ‘real’ competition took place, but now Formula E is the latest international sport to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdowns.

The all-electric racing series will return after a 158 day absence, with a shortened program that will see six races held in rapid succession at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport in August to wrap up the 2019/2020 season.

In addition to this welcome new for race fans, followers of the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team will also be excited to learn that two-time DTM Champion, René Rast, will join Lucas di Grassi for the restart, bringing his significant skill and experience to the electric series for the remainder of the season.

The 33-year-old German already has some limited Formula E experience, having raced in 2016 in the Berlin E-Prix for another team, although that event was held on a street circuit downtown. Rast is preparing for his first experience in the Audi e-tron FE06, when he will test at the Lausitzring at the beginning of July. 

The all-electric racing series will return after a 158 day absence

“And with six races in nine days, I’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn quickly.”

René Rast

Comprising three double headers, the races will take place August 5/6, 8/9 and 12/13 with the former airport in Berlin reconfigured to provide a different layout for drivers each weekend. To ensure the health of all the teams and drivers and to meet all of the official requirements, Formula E has developed a comprehensive safety concept which unfortunately means no spectators will be present for the resumption of racing although the action will be streamed live for race fans.

For Rast it will be something of a baptism by fire, testing the car vacated by Daniel Abt next month before diving into the intensive series the following month, but the reigning DTM is no stranger to high pressure and is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’ve been following Formula E very closely for a long time and am now looking forward to this new challenge,” says René Rast. “The demands on the drivers in Formula E are high: In addition to pure speed, it’s also a question of efficiency, battery management and the perfect strategy – and all of this on tight city circuits, where things are usually quite turbulent. But, with the testing at the beginning of July and my experience in the simulator, I’ll will try to be as well prepared as possible when I arrive in Berlin,” says René Rast with a smile, “And with six races in nine days, I’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn quickly.” 

Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass, is likewise confident that Rast will adapt quickly to the electric-series and show his considerable class and race craft.

“René was naturally on the shortlist from the very beginning. In the past, he has often proved how fast he is in a new series without having to get used to it,” says Gass. “It’s nice that there are no overlaps between DTM and Formula E so that René can compete in both series for us. With six final races in Berlin, our team still has everything to play for in the championship.” 

Last year Lucas di Grassi clinched the win at the Berlin E-Prix at Tempelhof, and although the layouts will be changed up during the finals, he will be looking to use local knowledge and his own considerable experience to add to that win last year and make a run on the driver’s championship once again.

Race times will be confirmed closer to the resumption of racing.

In 2019, Lucas di Grassi clinched the Berlin E-Prix, so he will be hoping to add to that account at the famed airport circuit