London is set to stage the Formula E season finale this weekend, and the contest couldn’t be closer with the two leading drivers in the championship separated by just one point.
Like last year’s inaugural season closer, the London ePrix, held in Battersea Park, will be a double-header; each of the two races a separate round in itself, with practice, qualifying and the race held independently of each other on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July respectively.
This year has Lucas Di Grassi and Sebastian Buemi fighting it out for the championship. ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’s Di Grassi and Renault e.dams’ Buemi – who both have top level motorsport experience from the likes of Formula 1 and Le Mans – have 141 and 140 points respectively.
Form currently just about favours Di Grassi, but Buemi is the only driver this season to complete the full 30 point haul available from each round. Likewise, Di Grassi hasn’t made a pole position of set a fastest lap this season, relying instead on his outright race pace to climb to the top of the leader board.
There are a maximum 60 points up for grabs – 25 for first place, plus three points awarded for pole position, and two points awarded for the fastest lap in each of the two races – and Sam Bird who sits in third place in the drivers’ standings is highly unlikely to enter the mix as he’s on 82 points. That’s not to say that Bird wouldn’t like to win on home soil, repeating his victory from last year, but it would require two wins, two poles, two fastest laps, and for Di Grassi and Buemi to score no points in both races for him to take the title.
The manufacturer’s championship is even closer, with a potential maximum haul of 98 points over the weekend – 1st and 2nd places win 25 and 19 points respectively, plus the pole and fastest lap points, available in both rounds. Renault e.dams leads ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport by 202 points to 191. Again, Sam Bird’s DS Virgin Racing team could compete, but it is unlikely since they are on 119 points.
The race takes place in London’s Battersea Park on a track just under 3km in length. Both ePrix feature 33 laps, with 19 cars from 9 teams competing for points. The track is well liked by drivers and is described as “tricky”, and “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,” by Bird.
This year is the last that the race will be held at Battersea Park after a residents group successfully protested against the holding of the event. There is currently no London race on next year’s calendar, though plans are being looked into for a new track location.
Organisers have made it well known that a circuit taking in landmarks including Horse Guards, Admiralty Arch, The Mall and Buckingham Palace would be ideal, but would involve far greater obstacles in closing the area down for a weekend. London is expected back on the calendar for the 4th season.
Those interested in attending the race can book tickets at the Formula E website. Ticket prices start at £25 per person with general admission free for under 16s. The event includes an eVillage that includes live music sets, driver autograph sessions, a children’s zone, and EV and technology displays. Visit the event’s website to find out more.