Formula E

Thriller in Tempelhof: The XXL preview of the 2023 Formula E race in Berlin

Tobias Bluhm

Tobias Bluhm

It's that time again: Formula E is racing in Berlin! In front of the eyes of up to 28,000 fans, World Championship Races 7 and 8 of the 2023 World Championship season will take place on the apron of the disused Tempelhof Airport. Can local hero Pascal Wehrlein celebrate a home victory and extend his overall lead? What about the other Germans? And will the Berlin E-Prix also be a "slipstream battle" like Sao Paulo last time? Our race preview.

On no track in the world drove the Formula E more race laps than in Berlin-Tempelhof (total: 577). Since the first edition of the E-Prix in 2015, the electric series has already landed 15 times on the airfield. This season, editions 16 and 17 will follow, but despite the wealth of previous experience this brings to many teams, there are a few things that are different this year.

After all, the new Gen3 cars have presented them with major challenges since the start of the season: More power, an additional engine on the front axle for energy recovery and the great importance of slipstream will be among the most important issues in Berlin, as they were in the first races in 2023. What moves the paddock apart from that in the capital, you can find out in our XXL race preview.

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>> Program, schedule, arrival - all important questions & answers for fans on-site

Where exactly will the Formula E race be held in Berlin?

With the exception of the 2016 Berlin E-Prix, all Formula E races in Germany took place on the apron of the disused Tempelhof Airport. This year is no exception, with the electric series setting up camp directly under the canopy of the former airport, the very place where raisin bombers parked during the 1948/49 airlift as they supplied food and power to the western part of Berlin, which was cut off from the outside world.

Berlin itself needs little introduction. With 3.6 million inhabitants:inside, Germany's largest city is the political center of the Federal Republic. Berlin is known worldwide for its club scene, but the city also has plenty to offer in the way of culinary delights, thanks to numerous immigrants from inside and outside Germany.

Fast Facts | Berlin

  • That the coat of arms of Berlin features a bear is no coincidence: historians:inside suspect that Albrecht I, who bore the name "Albrecht the Bear" and founded the Mark Brandenburg, gave the city its name in 1280.
  • With more than 20,000 animals and 1,200 different species, the Zoological Garden in Berlin is the most biodiverse zoo in the world.
  • On many corners of Berlin there is a "Späti". The concept comes from the GDR, where the kiosks were intended for night workers:inside, who were not able to buy necessities during the day. There are said to be more than 1,000 Spätis throughout the city.
  • To build the Formula E track in Tempelhof, 1,648 concrete blocks and catch fences are needed. In addition, there are 110 containers, 28 tents and 41 kilometers of cable for electricity, telemetry transmissions and Co.
  • If you add up all the race laps completed in Berlin, the Formula E drivers turned a total of 13,285 laps there. The distance covered of 31,154 kilometers is roughly equivalent to the distance of two flights from Berlin to Sydney and back.

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

The organizer expects up to 28,000 fans during the E-Prix weekend in Berlin. As in the past, two races will be held in Germany this year: one on Saturday, one on Sunday. However, the race weekend actually begins on Friday with the 1st free practice session, which cannot be followed on site at the track.

In Germany, the usual ProSieben broadcasts the Formula E race from Berlin. The qualifying runs in a stream at ran.de. You can follow all free practice sessions as usual on the livestream page of e-Formel.de. Eurosport 2 will also be showing the Berlin E-Prix in full, including in Switzerland and Austria. There, however, fans can also follow the race on ORF eins or in the ORF TVthek. In Switzerland, the race will also be shown on the pay-TV channel MySports Edge.

Session Datum Wochentag Start TV/Stream Session Ende TV/Stream TV-Sender/Website
1. Freies Training 21.04.2023 Freitag 16:55 17:00-17:30 17:45 e-Formel.de
2. Freies Training 22.04.2023 Samstag 08:00 08:10-08:30 08:45 e-Formel.de
Qualifying 22.04.2023 Samstag 10:30 10:40-11:55 12:05 ran.de
Rennen 22.04.2023 Samstag 14:30 15:03-16:00 16:20 ProSieben / ran.de
3. Freies Training 23.04.2023 Sonntag 08:00 08:10-08:30 08:45 e-Formel.de
Qualifying 23.04.2023 Sonntag 10:30 10:40-11:55 12:05 ran.de
Rennen 23.04.2023 Sonntag 14:30 15:03-16:00 16:20 ProSieben / ran.de
Rookie-Test (vorm.) 24.04.2023 Montag   09:00-12:00   e-Formel.de (Ticker)
Rookie-Test (nachm.) 24.04.2023 Montag   14:00-17:00   e-Formel.de (Ticker)

* alle Angaben in Mitteleuropäischer Sommerzeit (MESZ)

On the Monday after the race weekend (April 24), there will also be a central test day for all teams in Berlin. Only drivers who have not yet contested an E-Prix or less than two tests in the electric series may take part (to the complete entry list for the rookie test). The test takes place under exclusion of the public. However, 'e-Formel.de' will be on site to report throughout the day in the Hankook Formula E Liveticker and with analysis.

What makes the race track in Berlin stand out?

Two longer straights make the "Tempelhof Street Circuit," the official name of the circuit, one of the faster tracks on the Formula E calendar. "Slipstreaming will be an issue again because of this, although not quite as extreme as last time in Sao Paulo," assessed McLaren driver Rene Rast of the track when asked by 'e-Formel.de'.

On 2.355 kilometers, the drivers must master a total of ten turns. The course will be driven counterclockwise on both days. There will be no change of direction or overnight rebuilding (as in 2022, for example) this year. The attack zone will still be in turn 6. An additional special feature: the cars will not be driving on asphalt in Berlin, but on much grippier concrete slabs. In recent years, tire wear has thus always been a critical issue.

What has happened since the last E-Prix in Sao Paulo?

Soon in Sao Paulo, the discussions about Formula E's next development steps began, particularly regarding the Gen3EVO and Gen4 cars, respectively. The details of the conversations, including musings on the possible introduction of an all-wheel-drive system, are likely to have kept the teams busy even during private testing that some of them have been conducting in Spain in recent weeks.

Apart from that, the racing teams announced one by one their lineups for the rookie test. The line-up includes former F1 starters such as Daniil Kvyat, Jack Aitken and Roberto Merhi, as well as up-and-coming German talent such as David Beckmann and 18-year-old Tim Tramnitz from Hamburg.

In what order do 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 group who set the fastest lap times in their group after twelve minutes will then move on to the quarter-finals, where they will duel it out for the best grid positions from then on. For Saturday's race of the Berlin E-Prix, the following composition results for the qualifying groups.

What will the weather be like in Berlin?

In Berlin, Formula E must prepare for typical German April weather. More than 20 degrees Celsius are probably not in it on both race days - on Sunday, according to current forecasts, short rain showers are also possible. Several days before the race, however, it is still unclear whether the current forecast will come true.

Who are the favorites?

So far in the 2023 season, there is no way around Porsche: together with the Andretti customer team, the sports car brand from Zuffenhausen has been able to win races almost at will on the first race weekends. Pascal Wehrlein travels to Berlin as the world championship leader (to the overall standings), but has repeatedly lost points in the past three E-Prix.

The biggest beneficiaries of small Porsche missteps recently have been DS Penske and Jaguar Racing. Fans should keep an eye on the "big cat" in particular, which provided engines for all three drivers on the podium in Sao Paulo. But the other German drivers Rene Rast (McLaren), Andre Lotterer (Andretti) and Maximilian Günther (Maserati) have also recently expressed optimism that they will once again be among the front runners at the Berlin E-Prix. We look forward to an exciting, twist-filled race weekend!

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 sign up new!

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