For the first time since 2016 the all-electric Formula E series heads to London where 22 drivers will do battle for the penultimate double-header round of the season, for the Heineken® London E-Prix Rounds 12 and 13 this weekend and the battle for both the driver’s and team’s championships is tantalisingly poised.
With four races remaining in the championship, just 22 points separate the top 10 drivers in the standings, and with 25 points for a win, it is all to play for. Jaguar Racing's Sam Bird leaped to the head of the points heading into London after a dominant lights-to-flag victory at the previous round in New York City, recovering from a troubled start to his weekend with a big shunt in Free Practice 1.
Reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa and Robin Frijns are tied for second in the standings with Envision Virgin Racing driver Frijns sitting level on points with da Costa but third on count-back. Frijns is yet to taste victory this season, but the Dutchman stated that he "couldn't care less" if he claims a maiden title following a winless campaign.
Jaguar Racing's Sam Bird celebrates victory in New York
Solid points in the previous New York City race for Frijns and a podium and a fourth place finish for team-mate Nick Cassidy mean that Envision Virgin Racing head the Team’s championship and Cassidy’s recent form has pushed the Kiwi to fifth in the driver’s standings. He will be battling it out with previous championship leader Edoardo Mortara and double champion Jean Eric Vergne who both will look to take the championship initiative in the UK capital.
Back in 2016, the second ever London E-Prix took place in the leafy Battersea Park, however the 2021 event heads to East London's historic docklands and the ExCeL exhibition centre where an international race will be held on an indoor/outdoor circuit for the first time designed by British architect Simon Gibbons in collaboration with the FIA and Motorsport UK.
"The circuit's 2.2 kilometres long and 22 corners and we're taking a track from outside, through a car park up an access ramp and into the South Hall of the centre,” commented Race Director Oli McCrudden. “We've developed some key technology to enable us to do this and it's not been an easy challenge. Some of the bigger street circuits in the world take months to build it and we simply don't have the luxury of that time.”
"It looks really cool – it’s very tight and twisty coming in and out of the ExCeL arena, which is unlike any other race that's happened before," said Mahindra Racing's Alex Lynn. "There are so many questions; what visor you're going to have with the indoor/outdoor switch and the different lighting conditions; if it's wet outside and then dry inside, then what setup are you going to put on the car? In Formula E you never really know what’s going to happen until the lights go out."