Welcome to the 2022 London E-Prix ! As the Founding Partner and Official Timekeeper of Formula E, we’re bringing you all the action live from London. From the build up to team reactions and drivers’ interviews, we’re giving you a genuine Formula E experience. It’s going to be an electric ride. So strap in, let’s switch to Attack Mode.
2022 London E-Prix
The new age is here
As you step out of the Custom House tube station, you wonder where and how they built a racetrack in the city of London. A city whose average speed limit is around 7.1 miles per hour. A city where the traffic moves as idly as the River Thames. You take the escalator up, tap your contactless card against the barrier and exit Custom House.
Here, your eyes are drawn to the street below the tube station bridge. It’s rush hour, but the road is empty. The summer sun is heating the tarmac which looks lonely, waiting to be wedded to rubber. Then you see stewards wearing hi-vis jackets. They’re surveying the slender path. It dawns on you: this isn’t any stretch of road. This is the racetrack.
You walk down a billboard-heavy boulevard that opens up to a gorgeous view of the Thames. Tall, black cranes perform a guard of honor along either side of the riverbanks. The docklands are a rare sight for most Londoners. Once a working, thriving dock and shipyard, this area has been given a new lease of life. Hotels, cable cars, the City airport. The new age is here. And that’s why all of this makes sense. This is the perfect setting for the new age of racing: Formula E.
André Lotterer and Pascal Werhlein, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Drivers, at the 2022 London E-Prix
Enter the mind of a Formula E driver
The London racetrack is a unique indoor and outdoor circuit. One second you’re inside an exhibition center, the next you’re screaming through corners that hug the river. How do you prepare for such a race? How do drivers deal with its many challenges? Well, we got the chance to interview the TAG Heuer Porsche drivers, André Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein to give us their insights.
Every team needs a strong leader. And this is especially true when it comes to Formula E. As we walk around the busy pit lane, we manage to seize a few spare minutes from Florian Modlinger, Team Principal of TAG Heuer Porsche. We ask him what it takes to be a team principal in Formula E.
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E
Florian Modlinger: “In general, I’m responsible for the whole Formula E project. This means the racing on one side but also, the development and testing for the Gen3 car. What it takes is passion, you need to be dedicated to your job. I love racing. I love motorsport. But also in addition, you need the experience. I worked in the past with different manufacturers. It helps you gain experience, you become more complete, you learn every day.
And also, I think, how to lead and to guide and to motivate people, it’s also a key element of being team principal. Because you have a big bunch of people, dedicated to their jobs. But we also have hard times, for example, if we have a crash or a long night, everyone needs to give their best. They need to stay fully focused, motivated. And that’s also part of my job. To bring the team together, to motivate them and to be spot on.”
We also asked him how he is feeling before the race.
Florian Modlinger: “It’s [London] a very unique place, because it’s indoor and outdoor. This makes it really interesting, depending on the weather conditions. We are well-prepared and we are looking forward to the race.”
Where the magic happens
So you’ve seen the drivers. You’ve heard from the team principal. But what about the rest of the team? If you’re a racing fan walking down the pit lane, the sights and sounds are both familiar and unusual at the same time. You see mechanics, stewards, technical experts. You watch the pit crews practicing front wing and tire changes in seconds and milliseconds. This part of the pit lane is familiar.
But unlike other racing series, a Formula E pit lane feels calmer, neater and more efficient. No loose cables, no shouting over shrieking engines, no ear-splitting sounds. Step into the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team garage and you see a slick setup. The garages are built within 4 hours. Every inch, every part, every nut and bolt is used and reused as the teams travel across the world. From the technical panels to the mechanical gear, everything here is meant to run like clockwork. This is probably why you can spot quite a few TAG Heuer timepieces on people’s wrists.
Garage of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team at the 2022 London E-Prix
Something for every fan
The exhibition center has so much to offer. When you enter the fan zone, you’ll find a host of electric activities. For example, The Fastest Lap by TAG Heuer. It’s a gaming arcade with simulators replicating the London circuit. There’s also an electric go-karting track. Hungry? Well, there’s a wide range of pop-ups serving diverse cuisines. Looking for a bit of arts and crafts? Head to the long wall upon which you, or your kids, can color in Formula E art. This race weekend is made for every type of fan. Whether you’re an adult, a child or a newbie, there’s always something to capture your attention. (Apart from the racing, of course.)
The London circuit is dotted with grandstands. Some indoors opposite the pit lane, some outside by the river. The narrow nature of the track makes viewing more pleasurable. You feel a whole lot closer to the action. You can see the drivers muscle their cars at every corner.
Live wire racing
The thing you don’t expect when you arrive at a Formula E event is the end-to-end action. The qualifying duels don’t just sound fun; they are fun. The giant screens by the grandstands display the drivers’ head-to-head times as they race around the circuit. It’s like watching a game of cat and mouse, with the drivers trying to beat each other’s times in every sector. As a fan, you’re on the edge of your seat all the way up to the qualifying final.
The build-up to the race is also electric in every way. A few minutes before lights out, the indoor section of the London track goes dark. All you can see is the warm glow of 22 bright red lights at the back of each race car. The DJ blasts rock music through the speakers as spotlights pick out every driver on the grid, building up to lights out. The lively broadcast commentary is also shared through the speakers, so you don’t miss out on any of the action. Every part of Formula E is fine-tuned, putting fans at the heart of the experience.
Everyone’s a winner
As you walk out of Excel, up the boulevard and into Custom House tube station, you’re left with a sense of exhilaration. You’ve just witnessed the new age of racing. You’ve just seen a sport that is trying its best to be better, to be more sustainable. It takes time. It takes innovation. But above all, it means that you don’t have to come away from a race thinking of a particular driver or a specific team as the winners. You walk out of a Formula E event feeling as if everyone is a winner. And that’s what makes Formula E truly unique.