The inaugural FIA Formula E Championship continues on its maiden venture through Europe this weekend, as Germany plays host to Round 8 of the series, for the 2015 DHL Berlin ePrix.
A fortnight has passed since the dramatic Monaco ePrix – which saw a huge first lap crash for Bruno Senna, while Sébastien Buemi became the first double winner of the series and first driver to take a lights-to-flag victory, on his way to closing the gap in the title fight.
With just four rounds remaining of what has been a pulsating 2014/2015 season, tensions at the front of the field look set to rise as we head to Germany’s capital.
What to expect from Race 8?
e.dams-Renault continues to maintain a stranglehold on the rest of the field at the top of the Teams Standings, 45 points clear of second place, and with that it has become the first team to take two victories this term.
Thanks to his dominant win around the streets of Monte Carlo, Buemi now sits third in the leader board and has moved to within 10 points of championship leader Lucas di Grassi, while team-mate Nico Prost remains well in contention sitting fourth. With the French outfit looking a strong prospect at almost every circuit so far this season, it would not be a surprise to see them fighting for the top step once more in Germany.
As Buemi was staking a claim on the title fight, a rivalry emerged between Brazilian protagonists di Grassi and Nelson Piquet JR; who were left to squabble both on and off track following a heated qualifying session – before going on to finish second and third respectively in the race. For Audi ABT, Berlin is the team’s home event, as well as for driver Daniel Abt, who will be aiming to put a disappointing outing at Monaco behind him with a better outcome around Germany’s city streets.
The increasingly popular Piquet JR continues to perform brilliantly for NEXTEV Team China Racing, collecting his fourth podium of the season at Monaco, which leaves him short of rival di Grassi by just four solitary points in the title battle. His team-mate Charles Pic also impressed at the crown jewel of the racing calendar, having recorded yet another points finish despite starting from 18th on the grid.
Brit Sam Bird scored his best finish since his win way back in Malaysia, as he crossed the line in P4 to keep his championship aspirations alive. The Virgin Racing driver occupies fifth place in the Drivers’ standings, nearly 30 points adrift of di Grassi – he is in need of another good display around Berlin’s unique track, to avoid becoming detached in the race for the title. In the sister car, Jaime Alguersuari was left frustrated and unable to follow Bird’s progress around Monte Carlo, with his race ending prematurely at the first corner due to a collision.
At Dragon Racing, Jerome D’Ambrosio claimed fifth, following an impressive qualifying where the Belgian took his best ever starting position of P3. Loic Duval, on the other hand retired half way through the ePrix – despite this, Dragon continue to show promise and could be fighting amongst the frontrunners once more in Round 8.
Monaco provided home comforts for Venturi, as Leonardo Di Caprio’s backed outfit scored their best result of the season with a double points finish at their home race. Stephane Sarrazin’s superb pace took him as high as seventh, while Nick Heidfeld can look forward to his home event in Berlin following a 10th place finish thanks to a post-race penalty awarded to Scott Speed. The much needed points haul lifts the outfit off the bottom of the standings and above Trulli for the first time since the opening round in Beijing.
Teams who will be looking to bounce back in Germany include Andretti, Amlin and Mahindra, all of whom suffered disappointment and misfortune last time out, scoring just four points between them. Andretti’s race was compounded by early contact for both Scott Speed and Jean-Eric Vergne, with the latter taking some consolidation with two points for setting the fastest lap of the race.
Speed had finished P8, but a time penalty for exceeding maximum power usage robbed the American of points and instead, played into the hands of Antonio Felix da Costa who moved up to ninth. The Amlin Aguri driver recovered well from crashing out of qualifying – which resulted in him starting at the very back of the field – to take some positive points from a difficult race over to Germany.
Senna joined Salvador Duran on the sidelines, with the Brazilian a victim of the Turn 1 carnage, having been in the “wrong place at the wrong time” before he was dramatically launched into the air. His Mahindra squad had to settle for yet another point-less race, as Karun Chandhok came home a lonely 13th, one lap down on the rest of the field. All three outfits will be hoping for a change in fortunes at the Berlin ePrix.
Location and Track
Berlin is famed for its historic sites and is renowned as one of Europe’s most cultural destinations, providing Round 8 of the championship with an abundance of history.
Situated in the unique location of the capital’s Tempelhof Airport, the track is just a short distance from the city centre. The ‘Apron’ section of the airport hosts the Berlin ePrix street circuit, a challenging 2.4km anti-clockwise layout awaiting the 20 drivers.
A great spectacle should be provided at the tight, twisty track consisting of 17 tricky turns, with ABT predicting speeds to reach 200km/h and a lap time of 1m 24s expected to be achievable.
There has been lots of support from local politicians about staging the ePrix, with the Senator for Economy, Technology and Research, Cornelia Yzer stating that Berlin “as the capital of electric mobility” was predestined for such an event.
As always ElectricAutosport.com will be bringing you closer to the action with extensive live coverage online and through social media, providing exclusive behind the scenes stories and analysis to ensure that every aspect is catered for to complete your race day experience.
Don’t miss out on any of the action from the inaugural Berlin ePrix, as the championship fight intensifies. Catch all the drama from the heart of Germany with TV coverage: Find the broadcast overview here.
Timetable of events: