The Formula E racing series plans an electric Grand Prix in London around Battersea Park in June 2015, it was announced last night.
Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag revealed the location of the ‘London ePrix’ at the championship’s global launch event in the Roundhouse, Camden. He also presented promotional video footage of the electric single-seater cars racing across a closed Westminster Bridge.
Formula E’s inaugural calendar lists the London race as taking place on 27 June 2015, however there are still some hurdles to be overcome before the race is a certainty.
“We are now going to begin a process of engaging with all the stakeholders,” Agag told Auto Express. “We will talk to the local residents and the Friends of Battersea Park association to reassure them on all their questions about the race, so they’re sure that disruption will be minimal and the race will be a good addition to the park.”
“The city of London and the Mayor’s office are very keen for this to happen, but we won’t impose ourselves,” he added. “We’ll only race there if everyone’s happy about. We really hope it happens, as whoever designed Battersea Park 200 years ago designed it with a racetrack inside!”
Agag was joined at the event by London’s deputy mayor for policy and planning, Sir Edward Lister, who said: “Boris Johnson made it absolutely clear he wanted city hall to help make this happen, and we’re very excited it’s becoming a reality. The city and the mayor’s office are fully supportive, but the details and local consultations are a matter for Formula E and Wandsworth Council now.”
Several more drivers have recently been confirmed for Formula E, including Brit Katherine Legge at the Amlin Aguri team; Le Mans stars Nicolas Prost and Sebastien Buemi at Renault e.dams; and Italian Michaela Cerruti, who will partner Jarno Trulli at his TrulliGP squad.
Ex-F1 racer Nick Heidfeld has also signed up alongside Toyota Le Mans driver Stephane Sarrazin at the Venturi team.
“With the level of drivers involved and the cities we’re going to, I’m very excited to be part of this,” Heidfeld said. “Formula E looks like the place to be right now. Everybody, even sponsors are more interested in it, because it’s a lot more environmentally friendly.”
Heidfeld, along with several other drivers, got his first chance to drive the Spark Formula E car at a shakedown recently. “There’s a lot of torque available early on,” he explained when asked what it was like to drive. “With a normal engine, the torque increases gradually, but with an electric motor it’s available instantly and there’s a flat torque curve. We’ll be some way off F1 – there’s a bit more than 300bhp – but the cars are great fun to drive and quick enough for cities.”
The first round of Formula E takes place in Beijing, China on 13 September this year, with the inaugural calendar also taking places like Berlin, Monte Carlo, Miami and Long Beach.
All 10 teams are based at the series’ headquarters in Donington Park, Derbyshire, and members of the public can attend Formula E test sessions on 3-4 July, 9-10 July and 19 August free of charge.