The FIA Formula E Championship has confirmed that the Brussels ePrix has been cancelled. In its place, the Berlin ePrix will now take the form of a double header event, with a second race to be held at city’s Tempelhof Airport.
As plans progressed for the inaugural Belgian event it became apparent that no suitable venue in the capital city was available for the scheduled date of July 1, the decision was then made to merge the round with the existing Berlin event.
The season will now end with three consecutive dual-race events, with the Berlin ePrix to be followed by the previously-announced double headers in New York (Rounds 9 and 10) and Montreal (Rounds 11 and 12).
It was announced last month the the Berlin ePrix will return to its original home on the apron of the former Tempelhof Airport for this season, following last year’s event at Karl-Marx-Allee. Teams will take to a new circuit configuration (pictured below) for the dual Season Three events, organisers have also announced.
The 10-turn, 2.25-kilometre track layout remains anti-clockwise, but is now far more open and flowing, with no sign of the technical final sector from the 2015-16 season event.
The start/finish ‘straight’ actually has a left-hand sweep to its profile, running alongside the former airport terminal building. The first corner is a near-270 degree left-hander which turns back onto itself, followed by two 90-degree right-hand corners for Turns 2 and 3. From here, the circuit layout looks likely to encourage passing, as straights of various lengths (with some higher-speed corners) link four hairpins.
Turn 4 is left hand hairpin, followed immediately by a right hand kink on exit, leading on to the circuit’s back straight. Turn 6 is a second left-hand hairpin which is followed by a short straight and Turn 7, a ninety-degree left turn. The cars will then flow though a right hand kink down to Turn 9 – the only right-hand hairpin on the course – before another straight leads to Turn 10. This final corner is almost a mirror image of the previous turn, and as it leads back on to the front straight it is quite possible that a last-gasp dive bomb for position late in the race could happen here.
ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’s Daniel Abt is excited by the new layout, and having the opportunity to race twice in front of his home fans.
“For us as a German team with German partners, and me as a German driver, it is great news that we will have two home races this season,” he said.
“It’s no secret that I loved the track around Karl-Marx-Allee a lot. But now that I have seen the new Tempelhof layout, I can’t wait to get there. The fans will love the unique setting that brings everyone so close to the action and us drivers. The track is perfect for great racing and a lot of overtaking. I’m looking forward to meeting my home crowd. We will put on a great 48-hour Formula E party for the fans in Berlin.”
The Berlin ePrix will host rounds seven and eight of the 2016/17 FIA Formula E championship over the weekend of June 10 and 11.
Images via FIA Formula E Championship