Season five of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is returning home to the continent in which motorsport has its roots: to Europe. And for at least the 22 drivers in the championship, this is the start of a journey involving a very special challenge and a highly attractive goal. The races being held in Rome, Paris, Monaco, Berlin, and Bern will be referred to for the first time as the “voestalpine European Races”.
Five races in five of Europe’s most beautiful cities. At the last European race on June 22, the driver who has achieved the most podium finishes from the “voestalpine European Races” will win a special and coveted trophy, which was presented in Vienna on April 4, made by voestalpine using 3D printing technology and is the only one of its kind in the world.
So what do you need to know about the five races? Here the most important facts.
Rome (April 13, 2019)
The future begins in the “Eternal City.” This is the host city for the first ever “voestalpine European Race,” run on the Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR. The circuit is located in the south of the city and has 21 turns. At 2.87 km in length, this is one of the longest circuits in the calendar. In 2018, around 45,000 people packed the stands to watch the first Formula E race held in Italy. The Winner: Sam Bird. This year, too, the area around the Piazza Guglielmo Marconi offers the “dolce vita” for motorsport fans. And even though no race to date has been followed by a podium ceremony featuring the Italian national anthem, two of the drivers are local heroes. The first is Edoardo Mortara. Racing for the VENTURI Formula E Team, Mortara may have a Swiss driving license, but he’s an Italian citizen, just like his father. And his team-mate, Brazilian Felipe Massa, can also be sure of support from the Roman fans: for many years he drove for Ferrari, and looks to debut in Rome for the first time with Formula E.
Paris (April 27)
Paris is the home town of the reigning “king” of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Jean-Éric Vergne, the current champion and simultaneously winner of the last race in Sanya, China, also won his home race last year. “Emotionally, it was by far the best success of my career,” the DS TECHEETAH driver explained. He, like many others, regards Paris as one of the highlights of the season: “You can even see the Eiffel Tower from the circuit!” Formula E comes to France’s capital for the fourth time, to the Circuit des Invalides which, at 1.9 km, is one of the shortest in the race calendar. Tom Dillmann is the second Frenchman at the start, but it’s also a home race for Vergne’s team: starting this season, DS Automobiles, the only manufacturer based in France, who produces the powertrain for the team.
Monaco (May 11)
Another calendar highlight. Every alternate season Formula E comes back to the principality on a shortened version of the traditional circuit. This year, it’s the venue for the third of the “voestalpine European Races.” With a length of 1.76 km and 12 turns, Monaco is the shortest circuit in the 2018/19 calendar. After the first turn at Sainte-Dévote, the 22 Formula E cars turn and head directly to the harbour, rather than climbing uphill towards the casino at Monte Carlo. The famous Rascasse corner takes them past the swimming pool before returning to the start/finishing straight. The home team, VENTURI, is based in Monaco and successfully led by Austro-Scott Susie Wolff. They enjoyed their first win of the season in Hong Kong. To date, however, the races in Monaco have been a purely Swiss affair, with Sébastien Buemi winning both in 2015 and 2017. This year he’s driving for the Nissan e.dams team.
Berlin (May 25)
To date the German capital has featured in every Formula E calendar. This year’s “voestalpine European Race” in Berlin is being held on the grounds of the former Tempelhof airport. The 2.377 km circuit has 10 turns and is regarded as technically demanding. The anti-slip surface on the airport apron is particularly hard on the tyres. But the long and fast straights offer the drivers the chance to let their Gen2 cars truly test their pace. This year’s E-Prix in Berlin will also be a show performance by the German automotive industry, with the four major German premium marques, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche, all taking part in the championship from next season. There is also a strong local showing on the grid, with Pascal Wehrlein, André Lotterer, and last seasons’s winner Daniel Abt on the starting line.
Bern (June 22)
The final E-Prix of the “voestalpine European Races”! The Swiss capital hosts the Formula E race cars for the very first time. There we’ll find out who’ll take home the coveted trophy, manufactured using voestalpine 3D printing technology, which goes to the driver who has the most podium finishes. The 2.688 km-long circuit with 14 turns includes sharp inclines and descents, giving another added challenge to the Formula E grid. Combined with chicanes and hairpin bends, this city circuit guarantees plenty of action. There are also Swiss drivers at the wheel: Sébastien Buemi and Edoardo Mortara represent the Swiss Confederation, and you can be sure that both will be fighting through to this race in order to take home the “voestalpine European Races” trophy. Their prospects are good.