Motorsport sixpack

Six races condensed into nine days will decide the 2019/20 Formula E season next month.

No racing for months and now the remainder of the current Formula E season will be condensed into an intensive nine day period to determine both the drivers’ and teams’ championships.

28 July, 2020

Motorsport is about to experience another first when an international series is decided in an intensive six race ‘season’ held over nine days at the same venue. From August 5 to 13, the FIA Formula E series will descend on Tempelhof Airport in Berlin to determine both the drivers’ and teams’ classifications, with Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in the running for the teams’ trophy and Lucas di Grassi in contention for another drivers’ championship.

“Normally, we have six races in four months. Now, we are going to do them in nine days. This means a lot of emotional, mental and also physical challenges,” says Team Principal Allan McNish. “It’s a big task, but also a great opportunity, as I am sure the final championship order will be quite different to how it is now. The Berlin sixpack reminds me a little bit of a restart after a full course yellow with only a few laps to go in the last race of the season.” 

Former world champion and the most successful driver in Formula E, Lucas di Grassi is currently in fifth and alongside him, his new teammate two-time DTM champion René Rast makes his debut with Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler. 

“Lucas is only 29 points behind in the standings. He loves the track and has had great success there in the past together with Audi,” says McNish. “Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything for the future, but no doubt you arrive in Berlin with a completely different feeling. René obviously has a big task, but we will do everything to support him and to get him into the game as quick as possible.” 

Normally, we have six races in four months. Now, we are going to do them in nine days. This means a lot of emotional, mental and also physical challenges

Lucas di Grassi and Rene Rast, ready for the condensed season end.

All the restrictions and special rules will play a big role –  social distancing is a lot easier in an office than in a Formula E paddock

In order to get Formula E back on track, the organisers have drawn up a hygiene concept of almost 80 pages, which has been agreed with the local authorities and contains precise specifications to protect the health of all those involved. Allan McNish praises the efforts behind
the scenes. 

“All the restrictions and special rules we have due to the pandemic will play a big role. As you can imagine, social distancing is a lot easier in an office than in a Formula E paddock. Formula E did a great job in putting together a hygiene concept that allows us to finally go racing again.” 

There will be a maximum of 1000 people allowed on site at the event and each team is also limited in the number of staff allowed at the event.

“We have a limitation of 19 staff people plus our two drivers,” explains Allan McNish. “That means all of us have to take over more jobs. This goes for the engineers, who will split their work differently and also for me. I will be in charge of some marketing and PR work, support our team manager with FIA documents and look after various things that are normally taken care of by other team members.” 

“Our so called ‘Mission Control’ in Neuburg [Audi Sport HQ]will be even more important for Berlin than at other races,” says McNish. “The engineers back home are reviewing all of the data they receive from the track and back-up all of the decisions on site.” 

Teamwork is more important than ever in Berlin. Allan McNish: “The key to success will be to come as best prepared as possible and to keep focused no matter what happens. While concentrating on each of the six races individually, we always have to keep the big picture in mind. When others get tired – mentally or physically – we want to be even stronger.” 

Tempelhof Airport in Berlin will see intensive racing come August – but no crowds.
Lucas di Grassi hoping to repeat last year's success in Berlin.
Rast is not even remotely phased at the though of his Formula E baptism of fire.