19 Jul 21

PREVIEW: Everything you need to know ahead of the Heineken® London E-Prix

The 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is heading into the home straight and its penultimate double-header, with a return to electric street racing in London for the Heineken® London E-Prix Rounds 12 and 13 this weekend, July 24 & 25.

Formula E is set to return to the streets of London this weekend (July 24 & 25) for the first time since 2016's visit to Battersea Park, with the race for World Championship honours feistier than ever.

WAYS TO WATCH: Where and how to watch every minute of Season 7

Jaguar Racing's Sam Bird tops the pile heading into Rounds 12 and 13 after a storming recovery from zero to hero with a dominant lights-to-flag victory rounding out his trip to New York City after a troubled start to his weekend with a big shunt in Free Practice 1.

As it stands

Bird's victory marked his return to the podium for the first time since Round 3 in Rome and means the Brit will be the driver with the target on his back on home soil this weekend, with reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) and Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing) tied for second in the standings and hot on Bird's heels.

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Da Costa's title defence has been on an upward trajectory since that memorable last-ditch victory in Monaco, with points in Puebla enough for the Portuguese to hold station in an ultra-close championship squabble. A podium in Round 13 means he's right in the hunt now, just five points from the top.

FE on C4: Watch the Heineken London E-Prix live and free-to-air on Channel 4 in the UK

Frijns sits level on points with da Costa but third on count-back, given the DS driver's race win. The Dutchman says he "couldn't care less" if he completes a winless run to the Drivers' title, he just wants to be that first Formula E Drivers' World Champion and he'll do whatever it takes.

Sam_Bird_wins_2021_ABB_New_York_City_E-PrixBird's on top as Formula E heads for Jaguar racer's home turf

Double points in New York City pushed Frijns' challenge on, and helped ensure Envision Virgin Racing would be top of the Teams' running heading to their home E-Prix - mighty impressive stuff from the customer team running Audi's e-tron FE07.

Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) struggled to replicate his Puebla heroics and a non-score sees him slip from top spot to fourth, while fourth and second-placed finishes in the Big Apple see form man Nick Cassidy make it two podiums in three races, firing him to fifth in the standings.

SYNC: Don't miss a minute of the 2020/21 campaign, sync your calendar for all the latest

The Kiwi's just ahead of double champion Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) who will be pleased to remain right in the fight despite a Round 13 technical problem forcing retirement, taking the sheen off his Saturday podium in Red Hook.

Just 13 points separate the top six in the Drivers' World Championship, with 25 on offer for a single race win, plus bonus points for topping Group Qualifying and setting the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap. Mathematically, that puts everyone from Bird to 15th-placed Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) within a single round's worth of points of the summit.

The competition is fierce, and there's plenty of time for all-change - even with just a couple of race weekends remaining in Season 7. 

London E-Prix Formula E circuit map

London's calling

Formula E returns to the UK capital for its first race since 2016, having raced around Battersea Park during Season 1 and 2. This year’s event marks more than five years (1,847 days) since London last hosted top-flight international motorsport. Before that, you'd have to go back to 1972 for an F2 meeting at the now-disused Crystal Palace circuit.

SCHEDULE: All the session times for the Heineken® London E-Prix

This time around, we're heading to East London's historic docklands and the ExCeL exhibition centre - host of a history-making double-header as the first international race series to race on an indoor/outdoor circuit - designed by British architect Simon Gibbons in collaboration with the FIA and Motorsport UK.

"It's fantastic to have London back on the calendar for this season," says Race Director Oli McCrudden. "We've had a London-shaped hole sitting in our calendar! We're able to race indoors because we're an electric racing series; we don't have internal combustion, or the exhaust noise that other championships have.

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"The circuit's 2.2 kilometres long and 22 corners and we're taking a track from outside, through a car park up an access ramp and into the South Hall of the centre. We've developed some key technology to enable us to do this and it's not been an easy challenge. Some of the bigger street circuits in the world take months to build it and we simply don't have the luxury of that time.

"We will pop up a race track over the weekend and get it away so that we're not impacting the lives of citizens. The aim of the game was always to make sure that when the fans left they would be saying it was the most spectacular thing they'd ever seen."

"It looks really cool – it’s very tight and twisty coming in and out of the ExCeL arena, which is unlike any other race that's happened before," says Mahindra Racing's Alex Lynn. "There are so many questions; what visor you're going to have with the indoor/outdoor switch and the different lighting conditions; if it's wet outside and then dry inside, then what setup are you going to put on the car? In Formula E you never really know what’s going to happen until the lights go out."

Back the Brits!

There will be a strong British presence both when the cars line-up on the grid at ExCeL London, and in the garages supporting them.

Seven of the 24 drivers will be competing on home soil with Sam Bird, Jake Dennis, Alex Lynn, Alexander Sims, Oliver Turvey, Tom Blomqvist and Oliver Rowland all hoping to make it to the top-step of the podium.

Championship leader Bird won his home race in 2015 – one of only two drivers to have ever done so – with the 34-year-old also the only one to have recorded victories in every Formula E season to-date.

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Meanwhile, two British teams – Jaguar Racing and Envision Virgin Racing – will also be on home turf for the event, whilst both Mahindra Racing and NIO 333 teams feature all-British driver line-ups.

London's sustainability drive

London has set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and the city's Transport for London public transit authority by 2030, with the UK set to phase out sales of petrol and diesel vehicles entirely by 2035. In 2020, the country at large saw renewables make up the majority of its energy mix for the first time ever, at 43 per cent.

The city now has some 6,000 EV chargers, and is set to expand its London Ultra Low Emission Zone this year. ULEZ results in nitrogen dioxide cuts of up to 50 per cent by restricting polluting vehicles' access. Its expansion out of central London into surrounding boroughs will benefit 3.8 million more people.

The UK government has stated that it will "Build Back Greener" with a focus on clean energy and green jobs post-pandemic.

Get involved

Formula E blurs the lines between the real and virtual worlds of motorsport and there are even more opportunities to engage with the championship in Season 7, even if you can’t be at an E-Prix in person.

Formula E is the only motorsport in the world that lets fans play an active role in influencing the outcome. FANBOOST for Round 12 opens on July 21 until 15 minutes into the encounter, while voting for Round 13 opens shortly after Round 12 has finished. To give your favourite driver an extra boost of power, visit FANBOOST and the Formula E app.

Play Formula E Predictor

Can you predict the unpredictable? The Formula E Predictor puts you in the hot seat to predict each round of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. 

It's free to play, and points are awarded for each correct prediction. Make your picks for five race outcomes - selecting from the 24 Formula E drivers that you think will win the E-Prix, clinch Julius Baer Pole Position, set the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap, be the first to use ATTACK MODE and be the driver to make up the most places in the race.

Find out how to watch every lap of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship from wherever you are

Prizes this season include an unmissable VIP Experience for the winner to attend an E-Prix in Season 8 so don't forget to get family, friends and colleagues involved in a league.

Join the full Formula E race day experience direct from the comfort of your own home as the Allianz E-Village goes virtual. Starting from Monday of race week and until the event comes to a close, the Virtual Allianz E-Village has fans covered.

There will be exclusive content straight from the paddock, a chance to win a spot in a live Q&A with Formula E drivers, an online autograph session and much more.

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Follow live

Follow every lap from London as it happens in the Live Hub. The new-for-Season 7 Live Timing experience – including a real-time interactive track map and the ability to follow your favourite driver – plus detailed session reports, exclusive interviews, all the standings and results as well as reaction from the ground means fans won’t miss a moment.

The Formula E app allows fans to go behind the scenes and listen to Driver Radio for live reactions from the cockpit and the pit wall as the race plays out. To listen in, download now on iOS and Android.

There are more ways to watch Formula E this season than ever before, meaning there are no excuses for missing out on any of the action!

London E-Prix hero

Catch all the headlines, timing, inside stories and results from the 2021 Heineken® London E-Prix