Berlin|27 May, 2016

Fan site diary: Berlin

Hey everyone! We are Annika, Bettina and Dennis, and we currently run the official German Formula E Facebook Fan Site. With all of us being great motorsport enthusiasts, we were really thrilled when Formula E invited us to our home race, the BMW i Berlin ePrix.

Having hit the road on Thursday, we spent some time looking around the city before heading to the pit lane. The weather forecast for the weekend really good so we were able to spend a lot of time watching the pit lane and cars get set up.

Preparations were in full swing, both out on track and in the garages and we were able to meet a lot of Formula E personalities. Our first really long chat was with Formula E debutant René Rast., but we also bumped into the world feed commentator Jack Nicholls. This became a running gag over the weekend as we kept bumping into him!

On Thursday evening, Annika and Bettina were cordially invited to a media-only dinner with DS Virgin Racing, which gave an exclusive insight of the team. It was very exciting to meet people like DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan Pinon, DS Virgin Racing team principal Alex Tai and – of course – their drivers Jean-Éric Vergne and Sam Bird. We used the time for some one-to-one Q&As, as well as talking about the future of Formula E. This was along with general topics, like driver safety and cockpit protection which have been discussed. We don't want to spoil anything yet, so we recommend that you keep an eye on our Facebook page.

On Friday, we arrived at the media centre at around 9am and we met up with other Fan Site editors from all around the world, including those from Italy, Spain, Japan and even China. At noon, we headed off to the press conference and conducted interviews with Daniel Abt and Simona de Silvestro. After this we had the opportunity to do a track walk, which was an unforgettable experience! We started the track walk with team DS Virgin Racing but as we progressed through the circuit, we met many other teams and drivers! Many of these made it into our live Facebook video.

In the afternoon, DS Virgin Racing invited three fans and ourselves to watch the shakedown from the garage. We were given a steering wheel and even some headphones to follow the radio communication during the session. We were even caught on TV! This was a great opportunity for all of us and showed just how fan-friendly Formula E can be.

Race day was a bit hectic due to the intense one-day format that Formula E has. We took our positions around the circuit to watch both practice sessions and qualifying and we spent our time in between sessions at the eVillage to enjoy the entertainment. It was clear that most people were supporting Nick Heidfeld and Daniel Abt, however our hearts had clearly been stolen by DS Virgin Racing.

After qualifying, we joined the autograph session, which gave us all a chance to speak to some of the drivers, as well as getting some awesome giveaways for our loyal fans! With spectators hugely interested, a bursting crowd formed – it was great to see the drivers being so accessible to the fans.

In addition, we were able to receive grid stickers, which gave us the required access to the starting grid before the lights go out. This was an absolutely incredible experience. We got to see all the cars up close and personal, took a Safety Car selfie and even got to meet Formula E’s founder and CEO, Alejandro Agag. Having cleared the grid, we found a good spot to spectate at turn one to watch the race. A few laps before the finish, we snuck away to the podium, to secure the best seats in the house for the post-race celebrations. While we were there, we were part of the party itself, as well as getting a champagne shower from Sébastien Buemi, Daniel Abt and Lucas Di Grassi! 

By the end of the weekend, the three of us had not only become a great team and good friends, but our passion for the series had also grown considerably. The BMW i Berlin ePrix was a huge success and it was great to see so many fans supporting sustainable racing.

We’d like to thank the Formula E team for inviting us to our home ePrix, as well as DS Virgin Racing looking after us so well and helping us get right into the thick of the action!