Battersea Park is set to host the two-day finale of the second FIA Formula E Championship from 2-3 July but future races could see the 10 super-powered electric cars travel at speeds up to 140mph past some of London’s most iconic landmarks, including Buckingham Palace.
Last year’s inaugural British Formula E race saw more than 60,000 spectators turn out to watch the cars battle it out on the 3km circuit in London’s Battersea Park. Though the race was originally given permission to run in the park for three consecutive years by Wandsworth Council, local residents brought forward a judicial complaint about the noise, disruption and damage caused by the event. The review has since been withdrawn with the announcement by Formula E bosses that this will be the race’s last year in Battersea Park.
A number of other possible sites in London are being explored but the first choice is St James’s Park which would allow the cars to race past Buckingham Palace. Formula E chief executive Alejandro Agag told The Evening Standard ‘I love Battersea Park, but you’re effectively in a park and all you see is trees – this would be a view of London’s landmarks’. Other Formula E race cities such as Paris see the circuit pass by historic landmarks – such as the Seine and Hôtel national des Invalides – as they race through the heart of the city and so it is no surprise that race bosses would hope to deliver similarly grand surroundings for the London race. Though no agreement has yet been reached preliminary discussions have occurred between race organisers and the Greater London Assembly (GLA).
Originating in 2012, Formula E (officially known as the ‘FIA Formula E Championship’) is, according to the official website, ‘the world’s first all-electric motor racing circuit’. FIA President Jean Todt initiated the concept to demonstrate the potential of sustainable mobility and Formula E CEO Agag used the idea as a basis to build a global entertainment brand.
Comprised of ten teams – each with two drivers – races last approximately 50 minutes and include one mandatory pit stop for all drivers to change cars. Fans are able to get involved with the race like never before through ‘Fanboost’ – part of Formula E’s mission to become the world’s leading digital sport. For the twelve days prior to each race event and the first six minutes of the race itself fans can vote for their favourite driver via multiple social media channels. The top three drivers who get the most votes receive an extra 100kj of energy in their second car which they can use only once in a power window between 180kW and 200kW.
The first Formula E Championship took place in Beijing in September 2014.