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

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is entering its final stretch, with the focus on four drivers in the title fight with the 2022 SABIC London E-Prix Rounds 13 & 14 to come at the ExCeL in the city’s historic docklands, 30 & 31 July.

Formula E made its first trip to the venue last season, and in a first for an international race series raced on an indoor/outdoor circuit layout which offered up a completely unique challenge for drivers and teams to get their heads around. Two Brits clambered the podium to the top step, too with Jake Dennis and Mahindra Racing’s former driver Alex Lynn making home advantage count.

WAYS TO WATCH: Where and how to watch every minute of Season 8

Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne regained the advantage at the top of the Drivers’ World Championship after a mixed set of results across two hotly-contested rounds in New York City. The Belgian turned an 11-point deficit into and 11-point advantage over ROKiT Venturi Racing driver Edoardo Mortara. 

The Swiss’ struggles opened the door for the rest of the top four, also including Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) and DS TECHEETAH’s Jean-Eric Vergne, to close the gap – but not everybody was able to capitalise, with the Frenchman enduring a particularly tough weekend on his way to a none-score for the first time this season.

That whole top four are still split by fewer points than are on offer in any single Formula E round, and with two races in London followed by a double-header in Seoul still to come, the season may be heading towards its climax but there’s still time for it all to change.

Last time out…

Vandoorne's trip to the Big Apple could scarcely have been a better one. The Mercedes-EQ driver followed up a fourth-placed finish on Saturday with a podium and second place on Sunday while those around him in the title fight faltered.

There was a clear lead-four heading into the New York City E-Prix double-header, with Mortara topping the pile after securing a podium in Jakarta and a third win of the season in Marrakesh.

READ MORE: The New York E-Prix Round 12 report

Mortara struggled to make real inroads in New York, however, after failing to make it through the Groups in qualifying on Saturday, with the Venturi driver also slapped with a post-race penalty which saw him demoted from a fighting fifth position to ninth, while Vandoorne came home fourth.

On Sunday, a brake-by-wire issue scuppered the Venturi driver's qualifying session, leaving him marooned right at the back of the pack for the start of Round 12 and with it all to do again. The best he could manage was to fight to 10th and a single World Championship point with Vandoorne winding up second.

Eleventh in Round 11 for Evans was rescued by a combative drive to third on Sunday, but Vergne will be scrabbling for a far better return in London after a none-score at the worst possible moment with the season reaching its climax.

That meant an 11-point advantage for Mortara became an 11-point deficit to Vandoorne come the chequered flag on Round 12. A 22-point swing at the stage of the season is huge, and with NYC providing the most recent evidence, we may well see another of that top four break clear before the final chequered flag falls in London on Sunday.

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The Teams’ World Championship is equally hard-fought, with Mercedes-EQ pulling 10 points on second-placed ROKiT Venturi Racing post-New York. DS TECHEETAH managed to draw level on points in joint-second, with the team’s CEO Mark Preston in confident form after Antonio Felix da Costa steered the team to a maximum in Round 12.

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.

Six of the 22 drivers will be competing on home soil with Sam Bird, Jake Dennis – a winner here last year - Alexander Sims, Oliver Turvey, Oliver Rowland and Dan Ticktum all hoping to score well on home soil, with a full complement of fans in the grandstands for the first time after COVID restrictions affected the Season 7 event.

Bird won his home race in 2015 with the 35-year-old also the only one to have recorded victories in every Formula E season to-date, so far; although he is winless in Season 8. Nicolas Prost won races one and two at Battersea Park in 2016, with Dennis and Lynn victorious on Formula E’s first double-header in the docklands.

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London's calling

Formula E returns to the UK capital for a second race weekend in as many years since the series left its initial Battersea Park home in 2016 – a host location in both Seasons 1 and 2. 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 SABIC London E-Prix

We're heading back to East London's historic docklands and the ExCeL exhibition centre and a circuit designed by British architect Simon Gibbons in collaboration with the FIA and Motorsport UK. It’s a unique challenge.

The 2.141km, 22-turn track is tight and twisty with a slicker, less grippy surface indoors and asphalt outside, with plenty of elevation changes. Regen is high with the new-for-Season 8 chicane complex between Turns 10 and 13 replacing last year’s double hairpin, and there is plenty of opportunity for overtaking. Qualifying will be important, as ever, but there’s certainly room for manoeuvre.

Fans will also get a chance to see the Gen3 car in the flesh for the first time in public, while trials rider Danny MacAskill, DJ & producer Jax Jones and music from Nina Nesbitt and Gracey will be providing the entertainment off-track in the Allianz E-Village fan zone alongside the Accelerate final in the gaming arena and more.

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.

Watch

Don't miss a minute of Season 8. Keep track of the best ways to tune in where you are at fiaformulae.com/watch.

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Follow live

Follow every lap from London as it happens in the Live Hub. Keep across Live Timing – 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.

New for Season 8, there’s a full race day rundown pulling together everything on-track with the best of social media and in-race clips – alongside the usual Live Hub experience that debuted in Season 7. Get involved using #ABBFormulaE.

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.

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 8, 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 13 opens on Tuesday 26 July, until 15 minutes into the race. 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 22 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.

SABIC Formula E

Get yourself up to date with the action and the inside track from the 2022 SABIC London E-Prix in the Live Hub