Formula E fans at the historic Tempelhof Airport Circuit in Berlin this weekend will, for the first time in championship history, get to cheer a German team and driver at the top of the standings going into the 2023 SABIC Berlin E-Prix double-header.
The Porsche 99X Electric has proven to be the benchmark car package in Season 9 with Pascal Wehrlein winning twice in the first three races to lead the Drivers’ World Championship and putting his TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team at the top of the Teams’ standings.
Great Britain’s Jake Dennis of Avalanche Andretti Formula E, the Porsche customer team, is 24 points behind Wehrlein in second and under pressure from Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) just a point back in third after three consecutive appearances on the podium.
Double champion Jean-Éric Vergne (DS PENSKE) is only two points away in fourth having steered to victory in Hyderabad and finished second in Cape Town.
Jaguar’s I-TYPE 6 has emerged as the strongest competitor to the Porsche-powered cars since Round 4 in India. Cassidy has led the charge for Jaguar customer Envision Racing who sit just behind the German manufacturer in the standings.
The factory Jaguar TCS Racing team finally capitalised on its race-winning pace and energy management for a 1-3 result last time out in São Paulo as Mitch Evans and teammate Sam Bird (Jaguar TCS Racing) took to the podium. They find themselves 42 and 46 points from top spot in the Drivers’ table but with plenty of racing still to come.
Antonio Felix da Costa (TAG Heuer Porsche) had seen race strategies torn up in the early season – contact at Turns 1 and 2 in Diriyah is a prime example – and had fallen away from Wehrlein despite piloting a Porsche. But da Costa has gained on his German teammate with a podium in India then a stunning last gasp victory in Cape Town with an unforgettable move on former teammate Vergne. Da Costa has proven himself in Berlin with two wins in the Season 6 finale propelling him to the title. Only he, Sébastien Buemi (Envision Racing) and Lucas di Grassi (Mahindra Racing) have taken the top step at Tempelhof more than once in Formula E.
Reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne (DS PENSKE) sits 11th in the standings, more than 60 points back. Retaining the title now looks like a distant dream but he has form around Tempelhof with a win and two podiums to his name. Dominating the double-header in Berlin would put the Belgian firmly back in contention.
Return to Tempelhof
Berlin is the only city to have hosted a race in every season of Formula E – 16 in total. The 2.4km Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit on the outskirts of the German capital city is a unique challenge for the teams and drivers, and a favourite of many.
Phil Charles, Technical Manager, Jaguar TCS Racing, said: “Berlin is a unique race event for the championship – some long and fast corners and an unusual track surface. I call the surface ‘pebblemac’ as it is actually made up of large concrete blocks with stones – the pebbles – pressed into the top surface. These stones are aggressive on the tyres and although it is a short lap, the percentage of time spent cornering is quite high so car setups need to compliment the corner type. In addition, it’s a tricky energy management race so there is plenty to think about in Berlin but it’s a great track to go to.”
WHEN AND WHERE TO WATCH
Qualifying (12:40pm UAE time) and race (17:00 UAE time) will be live on Saudi Sport Company’s (SSC) linear channel SSC 2 as well as their digital platform shahid.net. Across the Middle East and North Africa, Dubai Sports 2 will also be broadcasting the qualifying and race.