Formula E to switch track direction between Berlin races - The Race
Formula E

Formula E to switch track direction between Berlin races

Jul 23 2021
By Sam Smith

Next month’s Formula E finale Berlin finale at the Tempelhof Airfield will again feature two variations of track configuration.

The Race can reveal that both a conventional layout and a reversal of it will be used in the last crucial two rounds of the championship in a similar manner to how the multiple rounds were completed last season.

That was when Formula E was forced to run a residency of six races in the space of nine days at the former airfield location in the centre of the German capital.

On that occasion the first two races were run on a reversed layout of the conventional circuit, while the next two events were completed on the usual configuration.

Berlin E-Prix Formula E

The third iteration that was used for the final two rounds had significant modifications to the first and second sectors. This track, featuring some lower-speed complexes, was met with mixed reviews from drivers.

Formula E Operations, the promoter and organiser of the world championship, is not yet disclosing the precise make-up of the track that will be used and reversed.

Drivers have expressed their approval of the idea of Formula E making changes overnight to allow two different track layouts to be used at Tempelhof.

“I think it’s brilliant because this year we’ve seen, apart from Monaco, only double-headers and you’ve seen that it is super tight, especially when it’s the second race day,” BMW’s Maximilian Guenther told The Race.

“To bring a new element with an entirely new track layout is typical of Formula E’s innovative approach.”

Maximilian Guenther BMW Formula E Berlin

Guenther, who won one of the conventional track layout Berlin races in 2020, believes that the decision will cause teams headaches in preparing for the two tracks.

“The preparation will be even more challenging because we have to prepare two different racetracks, but at least we’ve got some experience from last year,” he added.

“We know how good the racing can be on both layouts, so for me as a driver, I am very much look forward to this.”

Audi’s Lucas di Grassi broadly agreed with Guenther but expressed some surprise that Formula E is confident of being able to change the barriers and satisfy the safety requirements in reversing the track.

“I thought it was not going to be possible because of the time problem of changing the barriers,” di Grassi told The Race.

“But apparently they’ve found a good solution to do it and I think it’s mega, because then it gives you a new track to get your head around.

Lucas di Grassi Audi Berlin Formula E

“Even if it’s only reversing changes, everything changes and the reference alterations make it a completely new challenge.

“I think it’s a pretty good idea that they do the final races like this and the fans will appreciate again that we never get things easy in Formula E.”

Berlin E-Prix Formula E

Race director Scot Elkins told The Race that “we are a little bit lucky here because we’ve got concrete walls and we’re able to create overlaps and make things differently in terms of running this circuit clockwise and anti-clockwise.”

However, it was still a herculean effort by the organisers to make the track changes a reality last year, in an endeavour that sporting director Frederic Espinos described with the phrase: “it’s always easier to do nothing, that is not a challenge and it’s easier to just stay at home and wait for whatever”.

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