FE drivers fear overtaking will be "near-impossible" in London

Formula E drivers reckon overtaking will be “near-impossible” on the revised ExCeL Centre track and are already calling for future races to feature further layout changes. 

FE drivers fear overtaking will be "near-impossible" in London

Team simulations revealed the two races would be close to flat out sprints, which prompted the FIA to deduct 4kWh from the 52kWh race total to introduce an element of energy saving that would increase the likelihood of drivers opting for different strategies.

It was hoped that this might avoid the widely-held suspicion that the return to the UK capital would be typified by processional racing, but many argue the FIA has not gone far enough.

Combined with major modifications to the final sector to reduce average speeds, which has led to the introduction of a hairpin and a chicane, drivers reckon overtakes will be minimal.

Reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa told Autosport: “I suspect for the race it’s not what we need.

“[It will be] very hard to overtake and on top of that, there’s not a lot of energy management.

PLUS: Why consistency can't be relied upon for Formula E title success

“I’m not here to say what the FIA has to or not do, but the reduction could have been bigger to fit the track.

“With the reduction as it is now, it will still be hard to overtake. It’s too fast.”

The provisional circuit layout was first shown ahead of London’s anticipated return for the 2019-20 season, but the debut was delayed as the ExCeL was repurposed into the temporary Nightingale Hospital during the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lucas Di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07

Lucas Di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, Audi e-tron FE07

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images

But despite extensive changes to all three sectors of the lap from the layout first shown in March 2019, drivers are calling for further modifications to be made in time for the 2022 races, which are scheduled for July 30-31.

Da Costa’s DS Techeetah teammate Jean-Eric Vergne, who notably called out the “disintegrating” Autodromo Miguel E Abed circuit used for Puebla E-Prix, credited the championship for returning to London for the first time since the 2015-16 season finale in Battersea Park.

But the free practice 1 pace-setter added that it was “not the best track for the fans”.

Vergne said: “It looks really nice. It's the first time in our life we race half indoor, half outdoor.

But the two-time champion reckoned: “It's way too tight for Formula E, so it might be very difficult to overtake. We might see a bit of train.

“I'm one of the drivers who is always quite tough on circuits.

“For the years to come, they will change the layout and we will have more overtaking opportunities.

“For what it is at the moment, it's tight. It's going to be near-impossible to overtake.”

Pre-event points leader Sam Bird added: "It is extremely tight. 

"Even if we had quite extreme energy saving to do, I don't think the circuit layout promotes an enormous amount of opportunities to overtake. 

"We can do some small modifications in the years going forward to increase overtaking opportunities because right now difficult to see in the dry where you would potentially move forward."

shares
comments

Related video

London E-Prix: Vergne tops tightly-contested first practice
Previous article

London E-Prix: Vergne tops tightly-contested first practice

Next article

London E-Prix: Guenther leads BMW Andretti 1-2 in second practice

London E-Prix: Guenther leads BMW Andretti 1-2 in second practice
Load comments
Eight things to watch in Formula E's 2022 season Plus

Eight things to watch in Formula E's 2022 season

In the final season of Formula E's outgoing Gen-2 car and reigning champion team Mercedes, famous and infamous rookies, a dose of qualifying meritocracy, new cities and under-pressure Porsche will be sure to keep things interesting as the 2022 season kicks off in Saudi Arabia this weekend

Why Vandoorne is poised to deliver Mercedes a perfect Formula E sign-off Plus

Why Vandoorne is poised to deliver Mercedes a perfect Formula E sign-off

As Mercedes embarks on its last Formula E season this weekend, Stoffel Vandoorne is targeting a title that has so far proved elusive in his time with the team he joined for its soft launch as HWA in 2018. After team-mate Nyck de Vries won last year, the Belgian is confident of writing the perfect final chapter to his electric story with the manufacturer

Formula E
Jan 27, 2022
Why Maserati's shift to Formula E is a win for both sides Plus

Why Maserati's shift to Formula E is a win for both sides

Maserati will make a full-factory return to racing, joining the Formula E grid in 2023 with a view to electrifying its road car portfolio. In that regard it makes sense for Maserati - but it's also a win for the series as it seeks to rebound from losing three of its heavyweight German giants in the space of a few months

Formula E
Jan 11, 2022
The fundamental questions facing a Formula E junior series Plus

The fundamental questions facing a Formula E junior series

As Formula E prepares to enter its new Gen3 era, many have pondered the prospect of its existing machines continuing in a feeder category. But before such a programme could be embarked on, there are several important questions that must be satisfactorily answered

Formula E
Jan 4, 2022
Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2 Plus

Why Formula E title success felt so different to F2

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was wide open until the final race after its most unpredictable season yet. Eventual champion Nyck de Vries explains why this made his title-winning experience such a different experience to conquering F2 in 2019

Formula E
Dec 6, 2021
Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong Plus

Formula E's new toys ahead of its second-generation swansong

Formula E welcomes a mix of past, present and future for the 2021-2022 season. The old guard facing off against a sprinkling of newcomers, a fresh qualifying format amid a sporting rules shake-up and a range of minor tweaks to the existing all-electric machines are all subplots to the final campaign before the next generation arrives

Formula E
Dec 3, 2021
The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two Formula E teams Plus

The sharing mentality that transformed the fortunes of two Formula E teams

Electing not to share data with its competitive customer team would have been a straightforward means of gaining an edge on at least one of Mercedes' Formula E rivals last season. But by reciprocating the relationship forged under its initial HWA guise, when it was a customer to Venturi, both teams have reaped the rewards

Formula E
Nov 30, 2021
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Plus

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

Formula E
Nov 29, 2021