Formula E’s 11 teams and 22 world-class drivers return to the German capital – a fixture on the calendar since the inaugural 2014/15 season – after three new events on the spin, to tackle the unique challenge of the historic airfield's technical circuit and tricky track surface over two rounds.
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As it stands, TAG Heuer Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein leads the Drivers' World Championship table as he has done since Saudi Arabia, with 86 points, a Diriyah win double and a Mexico City podium from the opening six rounds.
The Porsche 99X Electric has proven to be the benchmark package so far, with Wehrlein winning twice in the first three races and Jake Dennis, in the Avalanche Andretti customer Porsche, managing a win and a two second-placed finishes in Mexico City and Diriyah, respectively. The Brit sits 24 points from Wehrlein in second, and is under pressure from Envision Racing's Nick Cassidy - just a point back in third after three consecutive appearances on the rostrum - and DS PENSKE's double champion Jean-Eric Vergne in fourth, only two points away in fourth having steered to a textbook defensive victory in Hyderabad and finished a close second in Cape Town.
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Jaguar's I-TYPE 6 has looked equally as, if not more potent, than the Porsche-powered cars since Hyderabad. Cassidy has led the charge for customers Envision Racing who sit just behind the German manufacturer in the standings, while the factory Jaguar TCS Racing team finally capitalised on its race-winning pace and energy management for a 1-3 result last time out in Sao Paulo as Mitch Evans and teammate Sam Bird took to the podium. They find themselves 42 and 46 points from top spot in the Drivers' table, though there's half-a-season of racing still to come - and in Formula E, that's plenty of time for all-change.
Antonio Felix da Costa had seen races scuppered early-season - contact at Turns 1 & 2 in Diriyah a prime example - and had fallen away from Wehrlein despite the prowess of the Porsche beneath him. Since Hyderabad, though, he's eaten up the ground on his German teammate with a podium in India then a stunning last gasp victory in Cape Town with an unforgettable move on former teammate Vergne. Wehrlein's recently been struggling more than the Portuguese in qualifying with pace over a lap, and one strong double-header could bring him right back into the mix. Da Costa is no stranger to those in Berlin, with two wins in the Season 6 finale propelling him to the title. Only he, Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing) and Lucas di Grassi (Mahindra Racing) have taken to the top step at Tempelhof more than once in Formula E.
Reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne is yet to get the most out of the DS PENSKE - unlike teammate Vergne - and sits 11th in the standings, more than 60 points back. Retaining the title is now looking more of a distant dream than a potential reality. He has form around Tempelhof, though, with a win and two podiums to his name.
Action gets underway with Free Practice 1 on Friday from 17:00 local time, with Free Practice 2 from 08:10 on Saturday. Qualifying follows at 10:40 and Round 7 itself from 15:00 CEST. Free Practice ahead of Round 8 starts at the same time on Sunday, with qualifying also following at 10:40 and the race once again at 15:00. Keep track as is happens at fiaformulae.com/live and tune in where you are via fiaformulae.com/watch.
Return to Tempelhof
The net zero carbon race series returns to the 2.4km Tempelhof Airport Street Circuit on the outskirts of the German capital city. Berlin is the only city to have hosted a race in every season of Formula E - 16 total. In all but one of those seasons – Season 2, when the German round took place near Alexanderplatz – Tempelhofer Feld has been the host venue.
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It’s a unique challenge for the teams and drivers, but one they relish – and a favourite of many. The bumpy concrete apron, higher than usual degradation and high grip takes a toll on energy management and makes race strategies a headache but the action is always among the best on the calendar.
“Berlin is a unique race event for the championship - some long and fast corners and an unusual track surface," says Jaguar TCS Racing Technical Manager Phil Charles. "I call the surface ‘pebblemac’ as it is actually made up of large concrete blocks with stones - the pebbles - pressed into the top surface. These stones are aggressive on the tyres and although it is a short lap, the percentage of time spent cornering is quite high so car setups need to compliment the corner type and the unique cycle the tyres see.
"In addition, it's a tricky energy management race so there is plenty to think about in Berlin but it’s a great track to go to!”
Sebastien Buemi has six podium finishes in Berlin, and two victories, albeit one at Alexanderplatz. Antonio Felix da Costa is one of three drivers to have two wins to his name at Tempelhof. The Porsche driver’s came at the Season 6 finale as he hammered home his advantage to take the title.
Lucas di Grassi won here with Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler in 2019 and signed off on Audi’s first spell in Formula E with another win on home soil for the brand in Season 7. Reigning champion Vandoorne (DS PENSKE) strode to victory in the last race of Season 6 at Tempelhof.
Free Practice 1 for the SABIC Berlin E-Prix Round 7 gets underway at 17:00 local time on Friday 21 April.
Free Practice 2 follows at 08:10 local on Saturday with qualifying from 10:40. Round 7 of Season 9 gets underway from 15:00 local.
Free Practice 3 gets us underway on Sunday morning at 08:10 with qualifying from 10:40. Round 8 of Season 9 gets underway from 15:00 local.
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