For the third time the Berlin ePrix finds itself a new home, this time back in the historic surroundings of Tempelhof Airport, albeit on a completely different circuit to the one that staged the race in Season 1.
It’s the first double-header of the season, which means that there are a whopping 58 points up for grabs. That means this weekend has the potential to reshape the way the championship picture looks. The season has only just reached its half way stage, but the races come thick and fast now, so buckle up and hold on, this is going to be a crazy ride!
The story so far
After the disappointment of Mexico City, where he left with just a single point for Visa Fastest Lap, Sebastien Buemi’s response has been emphatic, back-to-back wins from the Julius Baer pole position. This, coupled with Lucas di Grassi’s first DNF of the season last time out in Paris, means that the Renault e.dams star is now a significant 43 points ahead in points.
Di Grassi is still second in points and remains the only other driver to win a race this season. Nico Prost, Buemi’s team-mate, is third overall, but is yet to visit the podium. He was fifth in Paris to keep his record of scoring points at every race alive.
Nick Heidfeld has been third in both of the past two races for Mahindra to move up to fourth in points. In contrast, despite showing race-winning speed, TECHEETAH’s Jean-Eric Vergne has crashed out of Monaco and Paris, dropping him down to fifth in points.
A solid fourth place in Paris has taken Mahindra’s second driver Felix Rosenqvist up to sixth in points, making him the highest-placed rookie in the standings. Despite two podium finishes for DS Virgin Racing, Sam Bird has slipped out of the top six after picking up just a solitary point for Visa Fastest Lap in Paris, but the race marked the first podium finish for his team-mate Jose Maria Lopez, who has been improving race by race.
In the teams’ standings Renault e.dams leads the way, well clear of Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport. After its biggest ever points haul in a single race in Paris, Mahindra is a comfortable third in the standings, while its first points since the season-opener in Hong Kong has given Andretti breathing room in the ultra-close battle for places 7-10 at the foot of the table. Three consecutive top 10 finishes have moved Panasonic Jaguar Racing into eighth in the standings.
1. Sebastien Buemi – 132
2. Lucas di Grassi – 89
3. Nico Prost – 58
4. Nick Heidfeld– 47
5. Jean-Eric Vergne – 40
6. Felix Rosenqvist – 40
1. Renault e.dams – 190
2. Abt Schaeffler – 115
3. Mahindra – 87
4. DS Virgin– 63
5. NextEV NIO – 48
6. TECHEETAH– 45
The Berlin ePrix
Despite being a mainstay of the calendar since the inaugural season, the Berlin ePrix has now been held on three different tracks. The first event was held at Tempelhof Airport and was the scene of Jarno Trulli and his eponymous team’s only pole position.
That race was won on the road by Lucas di Grassi, only for his car to fail post-race scrutineering, handing the win – his and the Dragon Racing team’s first – to Jerome D’Ambrosio.
For Season 2 the race switched to a track incorporating Karl-Marx-Allee near Alexanderplatz. Jean-Eric Vergne started from pole, but a strong move Buemi earned him the lead, which he converted to the win. Daniel Abt drove his strongest race in Formula E to date to take second place, ahead of his Abt Schaeffler team-mate di Grassi.
Now the race returns to Tempelhof, but on a very different version of the circuit. The lap length has been reduced from 2.47km to 2.27km and there are just 10 turns instead of 17. The layout has been designed to make for better, more exciting racing. However, one constant is the airfield track surface, which manages to be simultaneously slippery and abrasive.
The race is the first double header of the season. This means that the Saturday event runs as normal, with two practice sessions, qualifying and the race, while Sunday is a carbon copy of this. However, in order to add an element of intrigue, the Sunday race will be two laps longer than Saturday’s, meaning the teams and drivers will have to recalculate their energy strategies overnight.
Points are awarded for each race, and there is no combined overall race weekend winner.
– Length: 2.03km
– Turns: 10 – 5 left, 5 right
– Direction: Anti-clockwise
– Surface: Concrete
– Outright lap record: n/a
– Official lap record: n/a
Germany and the German fans have emphatically embraced Formula E’s brand of all-electric street racing, helped no doubt by the success and presence of the Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport team and drivers Daniel Abt, Maro Engel and Nick Heidfeld. All three have been present in Super Pole for at least one race this season, while Heidfeld has taken three podium finishes so far.
The Abt Schaeffler team is the only one to have breached Renault e.dams dominance, and historically its drivers – especially Lucas di Grassi – are always in the mix for win.
How to watch
For details of where to watch the Berlin ePrix in your country click here. Live streaming is available in selected markets on fiaformulae.com, the official Formula E app and via YouTube and Facebook. Live timing and text commentary is available on the Formula E website.