Formula E

First Formula E race in South Africa: Questions & Answers about the Cape Town E-Prix 2023

Tobias Bluhm

Tobias Bluhm

Formula E's efforts to hold a race in South Africa began several years ago, and now the dream is becoming a reality: at the Cape Town E-Prix, the electric series will make its debut in the shadow of Table Mountain next weekend. Why Porsche faces a challenge despite its good form, and what fans can expect from South African local hero Kelvin van der Linde, you can read in our preview.

The fourth journey in the 2023 Formula E season will take teams and drivers to a new place on the championship map: Cape Town. On a street circuit specially built for the series around a 2010 World Cup stadium, the first E-Prix in South Africa will take place on Saturday. Porsche travels to Cape Town as the favorite, but pressure from Jaguar, Envision and DS Penske is mounting

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Where exactly will the first Formula E race take place in South Africa?

The Green Point district has been chosen as the venue for the Cape Town E-Prix. There, Formula E will make a guest appearance on the streets around the "DHL Stadium", which was originally built for the 2010 World Cup.

Cape Town is located not far from the Cape of Good Hope and is the seat of the South African Parliament. The region was first settled by the San and Khoikhoi before becoming a Dutch colony in the 17th century and eventually a British colony in the 19th century. During this time, Cape Town grew into a major port city, in part because of its importance to sailors en route from Western Europe to India.

During apartheid, when the rights of South Africa's non-white population were curtailed, there were repeated clashes in Cape Town before Nelson Mandela announced the beginning of a new era South Africa on the balcony of the city's City Hall in 1990. Since then, Cape Town has developed rapidly, becoming safer and more prosperous. An estimated 4.7 million people now live in the metropolitan area.

Fast Facts | Cape Town

  • The population of Cape Town is decidedly young, with about half of all residents:inside being under 25 years old.
  • In 1967, surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant on a human being at Cape Town's Groote Schuur Hospital. The patient's heart continued to beat for more than two weeks before he died of pneumonia.
  • Since 1805, a cannon is fired daily at 12:00 on Signal Hill - much to the amazement of many tourist:in. On the summit, there is also a second cannon as a reserve, but according to one myth, it was used only once, because a spider had disturbed the remote control.
  • The Cape Winelands are among the most renowned wine regions in the world and are even recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
  • The national animal of South Africa is the springbok. The antelope can run at a sprint speed of almost 90 km / h and would thus be around 1:59 minutes on a lap on the Formula E track of Cape Town.

Who will broadcast the Formula E race in Cape Town on TV & Livestream?

Although Cape Town is about a twelve-hour flight from Germany, the time difference is only one hour. As usual this year, the E-Prix begins already on Friday with the 1st Free Practice. All other sessions will take place on Saturday.

Session Datum Wochentag Start TV/Stream Session Ende TV/Stream TV-Sender/Website
1. Freies Training 24.02.2023 Freitag 15:55 16:00-16:30 16:45 e-Formel.de
2. Freies Training 25.02.2023 Samstag 08:05 08:10-08:40 08:55 e-Formel.de
Qualifying 25.02.2023 Samstag 10:30 10:40-11:55 12:05 ran.de
Rennen 25.02.2023 Samstag 14:30 15:03-16:00 16:20 ProSieben / ran.de

* alle Angaben in Mitteleuropäischer Zeit (MEZ)

In Germany, ProSieben will broadcast the Formula E race from South Africa as usual. Qualifying will be streamed at ran.de. All free practice sessions can be followed as usual on the livestream page of e-Formel.de. Eurosport 2 will also be showing the Cape Town E-Prix in full, incidentally also in Austria. There, however, fans can also follow the race on ORF Sport+ or in the ORF TVthek. In Switzerland, the race will be shown on Eurosport 1 as well as in the program of the pay channel MySports Edge.

What distinguishes the race track in Cape Town?

The "Cape Town Street Circuit" is in many ways a classic Formula E street circuit: narrow passages are combined with sharp turns and few opportunities for recuperation. Compared to other tracks, the track has a comparatively large full-power component. The drivers have to negotiate a total of 13 turns over 2.927 kilometers.

The best overtaking spot is likely to be in turn 4, a traffic circle converted into a chicane. The passage through turns 8 to 10, where the drivers have to maneuver their cars past concrete walls with centimeter precision at high speed, is also challenging.

What has happened since the last race in Hyderabad?

The FIA confirmed to 'e-Formel.de' that following the Berlin E-Prix, a test day exclusively for electric rookies will take place. On Monday after the race, drivers who have not yet competed in an E-Prix are expected to be allowed to test for a total of six hours on the track in Tempelhof. There is to be another testing opportunity for rookies in the run-up to the Rome E-Prix.

ABT Cupra, meanwhile, was evaluating its driver options for the next race. Robin Frijns contested a largely positive simulator test with the team in Kempten last Wednesday, but the team decided to continue its collaboration with Kelvin van der Linde. The race driver, who is well known from the DTM, will thus be able to contest his home race in Cape Town, while Frijns' wrist is expected to continue healing.

In what order will the drivers go into qualifying?

In Formula E, qualifying takes place in two sections: Group Stage and Knockout Stage. For group qualifying, the driver field is first divided into two halves, with all drivers in the odd championship places (places 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.) competing in group A, and those in the even places in group B.

The four drivers in each case who were able to set the fastest lap times in their group after twelve minutes will then move into the quarter-finals, where they will duel it out for the best grid positions from then on. For the Cape Town E-Prix, this results in the following composition for the qualifying groups.

What will be the weather in Cape Town?

As South Africa is located in the southern hemisphere of the Earth, Cape Town is currently experiencing late summer. Temperatures could rise above 20 degrees Celsius during the weekend. Several days before the race, it is still unclear whether the current forecast of heavy cloud cover on race day will come true. Precipitation, however, currently seems unlikely.

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Who are the favorites?

This year, there is no way around Porsche. Even after the setback in the 1st free practice in Hyderabad, when the world championship leader Pascal Wehrlein crashed due to an electronics problem, the team from Weissach, together with the customer racing team Avalanche Andretti, is considered the measure of all things in Formula E. Jaguar could be dangerous to Porsche in Cape Town, but must first prove to have ticked off the teammate crash in India for this.

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An important factor in Cape Town is likely to be slipstream. With fewer opportunities to recover energy, it is important for the Porsche chasers to save energy behind their rivals in order to possibly mount attacks in the closing stages of the race. The slipstream effect seems to be two to three times greater with the new Gen3 cars than with the Gen2 cars - at least that's how Hyderabad winner Jean-Eric Vergne described it in a media round with 'e-Formel.de' last week. Accordingly, the decision for the race win could come late in the race.

By the way: also in the 2023 Formula E season, our readers:inside have organized a free community typing game round. Who wants to participate, still has time until the weekend to submit the first tips or register new!

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