We're just a few days out from a double-header in Berlin and Rounds 7 & 8 of the 2021/22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. With lights out on the Shell Recharge Berlin E-Prix, 14 & 15 May, fast approaching, we take a look at the lesser known stats and facts behind the race in the German capital.
10. Size matters
The German capital measures approximately 23 miles from north to south and 28 miles from east to west, making it the largest city in Germany and, at over 3.5 million, it has the European Union’s second largest population, after London.
9. Feeling green
Considered by many to be Germany's greenest city due to its vast number of parks, woodland, canals and lakes, Berlin has a large system of waterways covering over 100 navigable miles and has more bridges than Venice. In fact, Berlin is exceptionally green, and it's a real leader in sustainability. Some 30% of the city comprises green space, parks and woodland for an idyllic big city feel.
The city’s senate has invested more than 30 million euro in its cycling infrastructure in 2020 alone, quadrupling its outlay from 2016, making it easier than ever to transit the city on a bike – a contributor to Berlin’s ‘good’ air quality index rating.
Berlin's energy consumption per year in its built space has almost halved in the last 20 years, reducing from 150kWh to 80kWh per square metre in 2020. It’s also ranked as the most energy efficient city in Europe in terms of its residential building infrastructure.
8. Culture capital
Known for its architecture, the arts and sciences, Berlin is recognized as a world city of culture and creative industries. Germany’s capital is home to three world-class Opera Houses, the world-famous Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, a plethora of theatres and museums, Europe’s most visited zoo and remains Germany’s primary centre of science and research.
Berlin is home to three UNESCO World Heritage sites, Germany’s tallest structure, the Fernsehturm (television tower), and one of the country’s most famous landmarks, the Brandenburg Gate, which once represented German division but is now a symbol of peace and unity.
Nico Rosberg went for a sightseeing trip of his own around the city to help launch the Gen2 car to the public back in 2018.
6. Familiar territory
No city has staged as many E-Prix as Berlin, which will host its 15th and 16th Formula E races on 14 & 15 May and remains the only place that has played host to an E-Prix in every season since the start of the all-electric series in 2014. In all but one of those seasons – Season 2, when the German round took place near Alexanderplatz – Tempelhofer Feld has been the host venue.
The nine-day six-race Season 6 finale helped bolster Berlin's numbers but the city, and Tempelhof, have long been favourites of fans, teams and drivers alike; the historic airfield never fails to deliver. That visit saw an incredible three different circuit configurations used, too.
5. Iconic surroundings
Tempelhof Airport, which stopped operations in 2008, plays a very special role in the history of Berlin. The site is seen as a symbol of freedom after its role in the famous airlift of 1948/49 when allied forces wholly supplied people in the city by air for nearly a year after the Soviet Union entirely blockaded the western parts of Germany’s capital.
Tempelhof Airport's main terminal building was once among the twenty largest buildings on earth, but it also formerly contained the world's smallest duty-free shop! It's still the biggest building by area in Europe today.
In 2019, dignitaries from around the world gathered in Berlin to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the airlift.
4. Playing Host
Alongside Formula E, Berlin has staged numerous major international sporting events. Most notably, it was the host city for the 1936 Summer Olympics and was also the venue for the 2006 FIFA World Cup final and the 2009 World Championships in Athletics.
3. Tempelhof Circuit
The 10 turn 2.355 km track is sited on the giant apron of the terminal building. With its unique concrete surface, the Tempelhof Circuit is a difficult track to master - let Maximilian Guenther (Nissan e.dams) explain.
The track surface is made up of unforgiving concrete slabs that test not only the drivers’ skills in energy conservation, but tyre management is also thrown into the mix so expect a little more wear and tear than usual.
In Season 6, Berlin gave the field a completely new challenge in facing three different track configurations at the same location over six races and there'll be a flavour of this format with Formula E's first double-header taking place across two layouts.
From Season 7, Formula E runs the traditional anti-clockwise Tempelhof that we all know well on Saturday, but Sunday sees the circuit flipped and reversed with the return of the NILREB layout.
2. Making history
Berlin has long been a kingmaker in Formula E. Champions have been crowned and records have been broken.
The championship's first Grand Slam came in Daniel Abt's breakthrough victory came in 2018 when he signed off a career-defining perfect race weekend with a commanding lights-to-flag win on home soil in Berlin at the BMW i Berlin E-Prix, having also claimed pole position and the fastest lap – a then-unique feat in Formula E, though Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) achieved the same feat in Berlin on his way to the title in 2020.
Ahead of Formula E's return to Germany, ABT Sportsline in fact announced its return to the championship for Gen3, starting 2023. The team had been a fixture in the series from race one all the way back in Beijing, 2014. Despite a hiatus in Season 8, following the exit of Audi, ABT can still count itself among the most successful teams in Formula E history, with 47 podiums and 1,380 points to its name.
The team won the first ever Formula E race in Beijing, 2014, while Lucas di Grassi steered to the Drivers' title in 2017. ABT sealed the Teams' crown a season later and partnered with Audi between 2017 and 2021.
Da Costa was crowned champion in the German capital in that unique Season 6 finale, while last time out, Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) was able to capitalise on the drama as a start-line collision between Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) and Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) in the finale ended the pair's chances of a title effort right at the last in 2020/21.
On the restart, Jake Dennis also fell out of the running as he hit the wall into Turn 1. De Vries kept his cool to seal maiden ABB FIA Formula E World Championship honours.
1. For the record
Jaguar TCS Racing's Mitch Evans is the fastest to ever get around the Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit in race trim. His 1m08.350s at the Season 6 finale is the benchmark around the German race track.
On the reverse NILREB layout, Lucas di Grassi - then of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, now ROKiT Venturi Racing - set the fastest lap back in Season 7 on a 1m08.305s in the race.
Published on 10th May 2022