Autovolt Magazine

London ePrix 2016: What you need to know

The London ePrix is back for its second and final time at Battersea Park. Following a convoluted court battle to keep the race in the park, the FIA and Formula E organisers finally succumbed to the wants of certain residents and conceded that they will not attempt to hold the event at Battersea Park in the future, post 2016.

Like last year, the capital will play host to the final two races of the season, which will once again mean the title winner is anything but obvious. Lucas di Grassi leads the current driver standings with 141 points, followed by Sébastien Buemi with 140. Last year’s second London ePrix winner, Sam Bird, stands in third position with just 82 points – likely taking him out of the running for outright championship winner, unless something dramatic happens.

However, the rest of the pack shouldn’t be ignored either for a London win, despite perhaps not being in the running for the overall 2015-16 title. Last year’s second race was actually started and “won” by Stephane Sarrazin in his Venturi, but due to a miscommunication with his team, he used too much power and was disqualified, passing the win to Sam Bird in his Virgin (now DS Virgin).

Similarly, the team standings are a close run thing between the top two. Renault-e.dams has 202 points, closely followed by ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport with 191 and DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team with 119. These top three just happen to also be the teams that are supported by major car manufacturers, Renault, Audi and DS. There’s expected to be some announcements made by new team Jaguar too, so look out for this. It’s rumoured the team will announce their driver line-up for 2016-17, but this remains to be seen.

There’s been some chatter about Lucas di Grassi’s disagreement with FanBoost, which, ironically, is not likely to play in his favour. The Brazilian has commented that FanBoost could influence the race in London, but championship rival Sébastien Buemi disagrees – despite being above him in the current FanBoost leaderboard ahead of the weekend’s races.

The track remains unchanged from last year, with its sweeping bends, steep cambers and narrow areas that offer a delightful drive for the racers. Sam Bird commented:

“London was one of my favourite circuits last year not only because it’s sort of my home city, but also Formula E created a spectacular track with many different corners. It was a great venue, a sublime setting at Battersea Park! The track is quite narrow in areas with some big chicanes and a very fast first corner which is very tricky because of the camber of the road. Obviously we get quite a lot of rain in England and we need a cambered road to drain the water but it makes for interesting handling when negotiating a high-speed left hander, trying to go over the crown of the road and back down the other side. It’s tricky for a single-seater racing car and something that isn’t necessarily normal when you’re negotiating turns on normal tracks.”

Where to watch the race when there?

If you’re lucky enough to attend the race in person, we thoroughly recommend making full use of your time in the eVillage where there’ll be plenty to see, do and interact with. Last year’s event also benefited from opportunities to meet team drivers and other alternative electric displays including from the likes of Harrod’s 1901 Waverley electric car and Targett Aviation’s electric sports aeroplane plus plenty of cars on show including BMW i vehicles and much more. Due to the nature of street racing, it can be difficult to see the actual track itself – something that Formula E organisers are aware of. Their hands are tied in respect of this because of putting safety first, naturally, but there are still plenty of seating and standing areas where you can get a real glimpse of the action. There are numerous large screens dotted about the park too though, and these make following the race simple.

What time is Formula E on the telly?

You can follow the races Live on TV:

  • 2016 London ePrix: Race One (2 July) – Saturday 3pm – 5:30pm ITV, UTV, ITVHD, STV
  • 2016 London ePrix: Race Two (3 July) – Sunday 3pm – 5:45pm ITV, UTV, ITVHD, STV

Sources; FIA Formula E, ITV, FanBoost