Formula E hits London for nail-biting title decider

London Formula E track
London Formula E track

The second season of the FIA Formula E Championship will be decided at the double-header finale at Battersea Park on July 2 and 3.

At the Visa London ePrix either Lucas di Grassi or Sebastien Buemi will succeed Nelson Piquet Jr as the champion of the world’s first all-electric single-seater series. Sam Bird retains a mathematical chance of winning the title, but to do this he needs to win both races, secure all the bonus points for pole position and fastest lap, and hope that neither di Grassi nor Buemi scores a single point.

After eight races in some of the world’s most iconic cities, including Beijing, Buenos Aires, Paris and Berlin, just a single point separates di Grassi, who drives for the Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport team and Buemi, who races for Renault e.dams.

For the second season of the pioneering championship, the rules regarding the powertrain were opened up. So when the cars of the title protagonists look the same, underneath they are very different, with unique gearbox, motor and inverter solutions as well as significant differences in rear suspension design.

Despite this, the championship has been incredibly closely fought. Both di Grassi and Buemi have taken three wins apiece and with 60 points still to play for, both drivers effectively have an equal chance of taking the title.

Di Grassi said: “We’ve had eight races and the points gap is almost back to zero, and now we go to a track that is the most different from all the other tracks. It’s very cambered, there are a lot of corners and it’s very narrow. It’s technically very difficult to drive there and it’s the second longest track of the season. The weather unpredictability in London could play a big role because qualifying is divided into groups, which are random, and as happened last year, if you pick a group during which there is rain – that could define the race."

Buemi said: “We are not just fighting for the drivers’ championship but the teams’ championship too. So from a pure driver’s perspective you would think that the only objective is to finish ahead of Lucas. But from a team point of view the other championship is very important too. When we get there we’ll do practice and qualifying and look at the weather. Obviously, everything could look different after qualifying…"

The setting for the championship decider is Battersea Park in London. Last year, the Grade II-listed Victorian Park was the scene of the first motor race in the city of London since 1972. The 1.818-mile (2.975km) track features 17 corners, with an average speed in season one of 75.389mph (121.327km/h). This season, with the change in regulations, the cars have been going an average of 1.667mph (2.684km/h) a lap faster.

Formula E was established by the governing body of world motorsport – the FIA – to demonstrate the ability of electric car technology in motorsport. As a result, the series is committed to embracing sustainable technologies. To this end, all the cars are charged by a generator that runs on glyercine, a fuel that is almost emission-free, producing significantly fewer particulates such as NOx or CO2 compared to a standard diesel generator. Indeed, the fuel is so clean, you can actually drink it!

But Formula E events are about more than just the racing. The eVillage is a fan zone where fans can get up close to the drivers at the podium ceremony and autograph session, as well as discover more about the sustainable practices of our partners through interactive displays.

For this year’s Visa London ePrix, Formula E has partnered with Lightsource – Europe’s leading solar energy company – to ensure that the whole eVillage area is powered by renewable energy produced through a solar photovoltaic (PV) panel system combined with storage and glycerine bio-fuel solutions.

On top of this, there are:

– 10 electric, solar-charged buggies exclusively for disabled transport

– Solar-powered mobile phone charging points for the public

– The official course cars, which are supplied by BMW i will also be charged using renewable energy

– The majority of ticket booths at the entrances will also be powered by solar energy

Nick Boyle, CEO for Lightsource, said: “Both Lightsource and Formula E are aligned in our ethos of pushing the boundaries in sustainability. We are extremely proud to be working in partnership with Formula E’s operations team to deliver bespoke renewable energy solutions to the Visa London ePrix. This is the new world of electricity supply, where choice and control is at the forefront for consumers large and small. By powering the entire eVillage, we are hoping to demonstrate that renewable energy is definitely a reliable and credible source of power."

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