The second last race meeting of the 2020/21 Formula E season, sees London host this weekend with a double header and crucial points on offer.
22 July, 2021
Formula E racing makes its long awaited return to London this weekend, with several teams including Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in the hunt for valuable points and a shot at both the teams’ and drivers’ championships.
The headquarters of the FIA Formula E series and home to many fo the race teams, London holds a particular significance to the formula and yet teams have not raced here for four years. Back then the racing was on the a track at Battersea Park which was largely considered by drivers to be less than ideal. This year though, sees a brand new track unveiled that includes a unique undercover section and a particularly tight and technical layout.
The track, which is built around the Exhibition Centre London (ExCeL) in the London Docklands, features a Formula E first in the form of a section of track that runs right through an enclosed exhibition hall.
At 2.252 kilometres, it is tight and twisty and although not a high speed design, its technical challenges will still make for plenty of close racing.
“The layout is not particularly fast overall,” says Lucas di Grassi.
“It has low energy consumption, many corners and, at first glance, offers few overtaking opportunities, making the circuit quite different to other Formula E circuits.”
For teammate René Rast too, the circuit presents plenty of challenges and another chapter in what has been a ‘baptism by fire’ this season, learning each new Formula E circuit on the go.
“First New York, now London and then Berlin, the locations for the final phase of the season are really incredible,” says René Rast. “I’ve never driven on a circuit like the one in London in my career. The layout and the entire setting are completely new territory for all of us and something very special. It promises to be a great adventure.”
Despite the apparent lack of overtaking opportunities, there will be no shortage of drivers ‘finding a way through’ given the closeness of the championship. Going into the two London races this weekend, 15 drivers are within just 27 points of each other and 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).
Rast currently sits in seventh place of the drivers’ standings, with Lucas di Grassi is in 12th. In the teams’ standings, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is fourth and the most consistent team in the field, with Rast and di Grassi scoring 14 times in 11 races – more often than any other squad.
Interestingly, Envision Virgin Racing, which fields two Audi e-tron FE07 race cars currency leads the teams’ championship, having produced six podium finishes in the season to date.
So there is plenty on the line for teams and drivers alike this weekend.
For Australian race fans wanting to take in the action, the timings will best suit night owls, with the first race getting underway at midnight on Saturday night and the second race at 11pm Sunday night AEST. Viewing options for both races can be found here.
After London, just two more races remain of the 2020/21 season, to be held at a final double header weekend in Berlin. For Audi Sport, which will finish its time in Formula E at the end of the season, the desire to go out on top will see these last races hotly contested to draw a line under what has been another successful motorsport outing.
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