Round eight of the 2015-2016 FIA Formula E Championship will remain in Berlin – but at a new street circuit in the heart of the city – series organisers announced today.
Since the inaugural Berlin ePrix was held on the apron of the Berlin Tempelhof Airport last May, the former airport’s hangars are now being used to house people displaced by the ongoing European refugee crisis. With the emergency refugee shelter activities stopping all other public access to the airport and surrounding parklands, Formula E organisers were forced to look for a new location for the German event.
Several sites throughout the country were investigated, including the historic Norisring street circuit in Nuremburg (which hosts DTM and European Formula 3 in late June), but ultimately the series has chosen to create a new circuit in Berlin, around the Strausberger Platz.
Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag was pleased the series could keep the event in the German capital.
“It is fantastic news that we have been able to find a new location to race in Berlin and I want to thank everybody who has been involved in making this happen for all their hard work in such a short space of time,” he said.
“Germany is an incredibly important market for Formula E as the home of DHL, the championship’s Official Logistics Partner, and BMW i, the Official Vehicle Partner of the series. I am sure that this race will capture the imagination of the German fans and be a great success.”
Also present at the announcement, FIA President Jean Todt voiced his approval of the new circuit.
“The FIA Formula E Championship was created to promote the theme of a new form of sustainable mobility, alongside the development of technologies linked to an electrical powertrain; all this combining to bring a racing event into the heart of the great cities of the world. The new location for the Berlin ePrix fits these requirements perfectly,” he added.
“Berlin is one of the most important capital cities in the world, the cultural and political centre of Germany, a country where the motor industry plays a very important role and where there is a particularly keen awareness of mobility for the future. I am sure that Formula E Holdings, with the ever-valuable cooperation of the DMSB, will be able to put on a show for the spectators that is a match for the allure of a city like Berlin.”
A lap of the 2.030-kilometre, anti-clockwise circuit will begin with a long run down Karl-Marx-Allee towards Alexanderplatz and Turn 1, a 180⁰ left-hand hairpin before the returning straight ends with a left-right chicane (Turns 2/3) leading into the plaza area. Turn 4 is a right-hander which takes the field out to the right of the Strausberger Platz, down to two left hand corners (Turns 5/6) which bring the circuit back towards the plaza once again. Turns 7 through 9 run around the Strausberger Platz fountain and out the other side, where another tight 180⁰ hairpin awaits at Turn 10. The final corner, Turn 11, is a 90⁰ turn that completes the field’s circumnavigation of the roundabout and leads on to the start/finish straight.
The circuit is also planned to feature a U-shaped pit lane, similar to that seen at the Beijing circuit. In the case of Berlin, the pit lane is also on Karl-Marx-Allee and begins at the entrance to Turn 1, re-joining the circuit at the exit of the same corner.
ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’s Daniel Abt gave a glowing driver’s endorsement of his new home layout, which he and his full-time Formula E compatriot Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra Racing) will tackle in front of their German fans.
“Congratulations! Formula E hasn’t only come up with a tremendous alternative location in Berlin but created a circuit with a lot of character,” Abt said.
“The configuration looks interesting and, with its long straights and hairpin turns, seems to be promising a thrilling race as well. When we were in Berlin last time we visited a restaurant and a bar near Alexanderplatz – and now we’re going to race in exactly this part of the city. Now that the circuit has been announced, I’m even more excited about my home round.”
Whilst the layout is still awaiting final sign-off from city authorities and the FIA, once all approved the new Berlin Street Circuit will host Round 8 of the 2015-16 FIA Formula E Championship on Saturday May 21.
Images via FIA Formula E Championship and XPB Images