Season 9 and the inaugural GEN3 campaign comes to an end on 29 & 30 July when the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship visits London for its double-header season-finale. Whenever Formula E arrives in England’s capital, incredible drama soon follows and the city has hosted eight previous rounds, with two Formula E champions crowned in London.
Another will follow next weekend, with Britain’s own Jake Dennis currently leading the Driver’s World Championship by 24 points heading into the final two races of the season. The Avalanche Andretti driver is on the verge of becoming the first Formula E World Champion to win the title in their home country, on a track he has earned two wins and a podium from in four previous visits.
With Dennis chasing history, here’s how our previous London visits have played out!
2015: Piquet Jr. wins the first Formula E title!
Battersea Park hosted Formula E’s first four London races, and was the home of Nelson Piquet Jr.’s championship triumph in June 2015. Though the eventual champion won neither race in London, the 17 points accumulated by the Brazilian was enough to see him earn the inaugural Formula E title by just a solitary point.
The man who finished behind Piquet in the standings was Sebastien Buemi, who created his own piece of Formula E history by winning the first ever London E-Prix ahead of Jerome d’Ambrosio and Jean-Eric Vergne to take the title race down to the wire. The next day, it was Stephane Sarrazin who finished first, but the Frenchman was given a 49-second time penalty post-race after overusing his allocated energy.
That punishment saw Sam Bird move from second to first to clinch victory in his home race, with d’Ambrosio once again on the podium alongside Loic Duval. Despite the drama of the season finale resembling a high-end soap opera, a year later, the same location would produce fireworks that surpassed even that dramatic day.
2016: Buemi wins it by the barest of margins!
In any other weekend of racing, Nico Prost’s double triumph in London would have been the undoubted highlight of the season-finale. The Frenchman won both races in Battersea to secure third in the overall championship - and help his Renault e.dams team win their second consecutive Teams’ title.
But it was the action involving the two men ahead of him in the championship that set pulses racing in London, in a race still talked about today whenever the subject of unbelievable Formula E races are mentioned.
Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi DOMINATED the second season of Formula E. Prior to London, the duo had won six of eight races, with di Grassi also finishing first in Mexico City before being disqualified due to an underweight car. Even with Prost’s two London wins, he still finished 40 points behind eventual champion Buemi in the final standings, and 38 points adrift of second place di Grassi.
Those two vital points for Buemi came in the last round of the season, a race the Swiss star had qualified first for, picking up three essential points in the process to begin the contest on level points with di Grassi, who officially led the championship on count back having achieved more podiums than his rival across the season.
With Buemi starting first, and with teammate Prost alongside him in second place, all eyes turned to di Grassi, who had qualified third and began the race directly behind Buemi. The Brazilian trailed the Renault pair for all of two corners, before overtaking Prost into second place and colliding straight into Buemi at Turn 3.
Nobody could believe what had happened, especially when both cars somehow managed to drag themselves from the brink of retirement into the pits. The beleaguered duo were both able to continue in the race, with a new goal in mind for each - claim the fastest lap of the race.
Unlike modern-day Formula E which awards a point to the fastest lap from a car that has finished in the top ten, in Season 2, the driver with the fastest lap of the race overall was awarded two championship points, wherever they finished in the race.
Buemi, who had earned three Julius Baer Pole Positions throughout the season, had the stronger one lap pace, and eventually managed to claim the fastest lap of the race to earn the points required to become Formula E champion.
Emotional and triumphant scenes followed as Buemi, Prost, and the entire Renault team celebrated a joyful day that turned a London afternoon into a continental European party.
2021 & 2022: British delight in London!
Five years after Formula E had last raced in London, and after an expected 2020 return had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new venue hosted the return of electric motorsport to London.
The ExCeL produced a world-first for international motorsport - an indoor/outdoor circuit around the historic Royal Docklands. These were the penultimate rounds of Season 7, and 11 drivers arrived in London within one win of leading the championship.
Though Dutchman Nyck de Vries would leave London as the championship leader, it was two Brits who clinched the race wins in their home race. After Jake Dennis won the first race of the weekend, his second of the season, Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn earned his sole Formula E win the next day, to considerable acclaim across the paddock.
It was a win that almost never was however, thanks to one of the most opportunistic moments in the history of motorsport.
Lucas di Grassi and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler attempted an audacious manoeuvre to climb the pack behind the Safety Car in the race. Audi had noticed that there could be scope to make up ground behind the MINI Electric Pacesetter on Lap 12 given the ExCeL circuit's layout, the speed the pack was being held at and the sporting regulations allowing for a car to enter the pits, stop and rejoin whilst under Safety Car conditions.
UNSEEN FOOTAGE!@Lucasdigrassi almost pulled off an audacious move after nipping through the pitlane to grab the lead during a safety car period.— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) July 25, 2021
But it was ruled he didn't come to a stop before exiting the pit and was black flagged for declining a drive-through penalty. pic.twitter.com/DeXEI11K0V
The audacious plan would have worked, were it not for di Grassi's e-tron FE07 failing to come to a complete halt in his pit box. As a result, despite finishing the race in first place, Race Control handed down judgement in the form of a black flag for that Safety Car procedure infringement, leaving Lynn the overall victor in London.
Familiar faces hit the top of the podium a year later in London, as another double-header produced two more excellent races. In race one, Jake Dennis achieved a Formula E Grand Slam with pole, fastest lap and the race victory, to win his home race for the second year in a row.
The next day, Dennis was on the podium yet again, but it was second this time, behind Lucas di Grassi who put the disqualification of the previous year firmly behind him to win his 13th race in the championship he has raced in since day one of the series.