Home » Electric races through the exhibition hall: The XXL preview of the London E-Prix 2021

Electric races through the exhibition hall: The XXL preview of the London E-Prix 2021

by archyw
Formula E

Tobias Bluhm


FIA Formula E

For the first time since the controversial season finale of 2016, the electric racing series is returning to the British capital London next weekend (24/25 July) – with a unique “indoor / outdoor course” on the Thames. The E-Prix in the ExCeL center is one of the biggest highlights of the season for many drivers and teams.

After all, with Nio 333, Mahindra, Virgin, Mercedes, Dragon, Andretti and of course the British manufacturer Jaguar, seven teams have an important operational location in the United Kingdom. In addition, there are the seven British drivers Jake Dennis, Sam Bird, Alexander Sims, Alex Lynn, Oliver Turvey, Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Rowland as well as “Formula E Operations” itself, whose headquarters are in central London.

The new racetrack is located on the ExCeL exhibition grounds not far from London City Airport. Parts of the course, including the pit lane and the start / finish straight, lead here by an exhibition hall. The special requirements of the hybrid course present those responsible with numerous challenges. Find out what matters at the weekend in London in our race preview.


For almost a millennium, London has been the capital of the United Kingdom or its predecessor. As the seat of government and the British royal family, London developed into an important trading center in Europe in the Middle Ages, became the capital of the British Empire in the 19th century and is now an important cultural and financial center. Around 14.2 million people now live in the metropolitan area of ​​London.

The Formula E circuit is located in the Docklands district, which was once the largest port in the world. London City Airport is in the immediate vicinity of the course, which is located in the exhibition halls of the ExCeL center.

Rearview mirror | What happened since the New York City E-Prix

In the only two-week period between the Formula E races in New York and London, the paddock was primarily concerned with a decisive format adjustment. Due to the low proportion of full electricity on the racetrack in Great Britain, the FIA ​​decided to reduce the usable amount of energy for the London E-Prix from 52 to 48 kWh. This should make overtaking easier.

Considerations about the future of Formula E also made the rounds. In an exclusive interview with ‘e-Formel.de’, Jaguar Racing Chairman Gerd Mäuser said that a qualifying format adjustment from 2022 is “fairly certain”. Meanwhile, Roger Griffiths stated that Team Andretti is interested in signing a US driver for the next season.

Schedule | The UK Formula E race

Unlike usual, the Formula E race weekend in London will start on Friday – presumably to improve the airtime for the recently introduced British TV partner “Channel 4”. The 1st free practice starts on Friday afternoon, so that only one practice, qualifying and race will be held on Saturday and Sunday.

Session Friday (23.07.) * Saturday (July 24th) * Sunday (July 25th) *
Shakedown k.A.
1. Free practice 6: 00-6: 45 pm
2. Free practice 10: 00-10: 30 a.m.
3. Free practice 09: 00-09: 45 a.m.
qualification 12: 00-1: 00 p.m. 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
run 4:04 pm 3:04 pm

* all times in CEST

Route | Unique indoor & outdoor course in London

It is considered a premiere in international motorsport: the Formula E World Championship uses a route in London that partially leads through a covered exhibition hall. In order not to damage the floor of the ExCeL center, the indoor part of the course was treated with epoxy resin, which forms a protective layer of plastic after it has hardened. The outdoor area runs along the walls of the exhibition center, passes two train stations and crosses a car park that is located directly on the Thames.

A total of 22 bends await the pilots over 2.252 kilometers, including the double hairpin (bends 10/11) directly on a railway line in the northern part of the course and the technically demanding final sector (especially bends 16-20). The route, which is traveled clockwise, offers several recuperation options to recover energy. At the same time, the proportion of full electricity is extremely low, which is why the FIA ​​decided before the race to limit the usable energy to 48 kWh.

The attack zone is in turn 16. Another special feature: the indoor section of the racetrack is significantly higher than the outdoor area, which is why Formula E has to use comparatively steep ramps to get to the “first floor”, which is four to five meters higher “of the ExCeL building.

TV & Livestream | The Formula E London E-Prix

The London E-Prix 2021 will be broadcast in Germany on Sat.1. In the program of ‘ran racing’, the private broadcaster shows both races from Great Britain in full length, the preliminary reports begin half an hour before the start of the E-Prix. As in Puebla, Tobi Schimon and Daniel Abt will accompany the race on the microphones. You can also follow the event in Germany in the paid Eurosport Player, Eurosport 2 will also show a repeat of the London E-Prix on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

You can follow all free practice sessions and qualifying sessions in a free live stream on e-Formel.de. We also accompany the entire race weekend in our LGT Formula E live ticker, which is ideal as a “second screen” for additional information or as a solution for on the go.

>>> detailed TV & livestream overview of the Formula E race in London

In Austria, ORF Sport offers a live broadcast from London online. You can also follow Formula E on ORF 1, but with the broadcast of the Olympic Games in Tokyo and a ZIB news overview, the broadcasts start with a delay on both days from 5:00 p.m. In Switzerland, MySports One will be showing the E-Prix live, while Eurosport 2 will broadcast a repeat in the evening.

Qualifying groups | Overview for the London E-Prix

In Formula E, the drivers are divided into groups of six for qualifying. The aim of the racing series is to give all pilots (at least in theory) the opportunity to have a “free lap”.

The groups are divided based on the current intermediate results in the drivers’ championship: the best six drivers start in group 1, their closest pursuers in group 2 and so on. The following groups result for the London E-Prix.

Weather forecast | “English summer” with a high probability of rain

London is expected to welcome Formula E with warm temperatures and high humidity. On Saturday (15 to 24 ° C) and Sunday (16 to 21 ° C) there is a probability of precipitation of over 95 percent, in the afternoon, in addition to showers, thunderstorms are also possible. The reliability of the weather forecast is limited a few days before the event. Nevertheless, it looks as if the teams in the electric racing series will have to prepare for two typical “English summer days”.

Fast Facts | London

  • According to a census in 2020, a total of 8.96 million people live in London. The city therefore has more inhabitants: inside than the entire Republic of Austria (8.93 million).
  • London became the capital of the Kingdom of England after the Norman conquest in 1066. Since then, numerous laws have been passed that are still in force today. For example, it has been forbidden to wear knight armor in the British Parliament building since 1313.
  • In all previous editions of the London E-Prix, a decision was made about the championship title – and the current overall leader Sam Bird (Jaguar) could already “make the bag” at his home race. So that his rivals in Berlin can no longer catch up with him, he would have to increase his points lead to 60 points in London. In view of the tight 5-point buffer that currently separates him from Antonio Felix da Costa (DS Techeetah), this is rather unrealistic.
  • The Olympic Games will take place in Tokyo at the same time as the London E-Prix. The ExCeL center was also once the venue for Olympic disciplines: in 2012, medals were awarded in the exhibition center in the disciplines of boxing, wrestling, judo, taekwondo, weightlifting, table tennis and fencing, at the Paralympics in the competitions wheelchair fencing, table tennis, judo, powerlifting, sitting volleyball and Boccia.
  • The ExCeL has an area of ​​over 400,000 square meters. To cover the entire area with Formula E cars, you would need 43,796 racing vehicles.

Video: The highlights of the London E-Prix 2016 (Sunday)

Prognose | It’s Coming Home!

For Formula E, which is headquartered in central London, the London E-Prix is ​​a highly anticipated “home game”. The electric racing series ended its first two seasons with spectacular events in Battersea Park, but has not returned to the Thames since then. The planned comeback in summer 2020 had to be canceled after the ExCeL center was converted into a temporary hospital for corona patients.

After their excellent performance at the New York City E-Prix, the Jaguar Racing drivers are undoubtedly one of the favorites. Thanks to his New York race win, Sam Bird is currently leading the championship, Mitch Evans is “only” in 8th place due to his late driving mistake in the Sunday race.

However, the gaps in the drivers’ standings are also extremely small in London. Bird leads with just five points ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa, who is tied with Robin Frijns (Virgin) in second place in the drivers’ championship. With a win and all the bonus points, however, even Jake Dennis (BMW), currently in 15th place in the drivers’ standings, could take the overall lead in the first London race.

As usual, the qualifying groups will play a crucial role. The effect of the route development due to the indoor section of the route is likely to be smaller than it was last in New York. Nevertheless, the teams currently expect that groups 3 and 4 in particular could have an advantage. On Saturdays there is no way around drivers like Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes), Maximilian Günther (BMW) or Sergio Sette Camara (Dragon). It remains to be seen whether the best qualifiers will be able to stay at the top in the race.

Mercedes undoubtedly wants to recover from its current form low and find its way back into the top 5. Frijns, on the other hand, is motivated to finally celebrate his first race win of the year. Fans should also watch out for the once overall leader Nyck de Vries (Mercedes), who only managed to finish in the points once in the last six races. But a “home win” for a Briton is not impossible either, after all five of the seven drivers from the United Kingdom start in qualifying groups 3 or 4 on Saturdays.

By the way: our readers have one again this year free community prediction game round organized. If you want to take part, you have until the weekend to submit your first tips or to register again!

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