Porsche’s inaugural season in the FIA Formula E championship has not been without its troubles. In the first five rounds of the series—a double header in Saudi Arabia, plus Chile, Mexico, and Morocco—Porsche suffered a pair of retirements and one disqualification. While Porsche has a veteran pair of drivers, Neel Jani hasn’t managed to score any points, and series regular Andre Lotterer has only managed one podium and just 25 total points. It wasn’t a great start to the championship for Porsche and its 99X Electric racer, but then most of the championship was canned following the global covid-19 pandemic shutdown.
Wednesday, Formula E announced that it had found a way to finish out the 2019-20 season in a flourish of activity. Starting on August 5th, the global Formula E circus will take over the under-construction Berlin-Tempelhof airport for a triple double. That’s three double-headers run over the course of nine days in Berlin. The racing will be conducted without fans in attendance and per German regulations no more than 1,000 people will be allowed on site at any given time. Each FE team will be allowed 20 total staff.
Everyone entering the facility will be tested for coronavirus, and on-site screening will be conducted every day. Face masks, social distancing, and limited movement between teams will be strictly enforced by the series to maintain as much safety as possible for all racers and staff. This will be an interesting test for the motorsport community, putting on a series of races at the same venue over a nine day period. Can it be done safely?
Jamie Reigle, CEO of Formula E:
“Since taking action to suspend our season in March, we have emphasized a revised calendar which places the health and safety of our community first, represents Formula E’s distinct brand of city center racing and offers an exciting conclusion to the compelling season of racing we had seen so far.
We’re heading to Berlin Tempelhof, a venue that our teams, drivers and fans love, to stage a nine-day festival of racing with three back-to-back double-headers. The festival will feature three track layouts, presenting a new challenge and creating the conditions for an unpredictable and drama-filled climax to our season.
The team at Formula E has been working incredibly hard over the past weeks to enable us to go racing again in Berlin. I’d like to thank the FIA, our manufacturers, teams and partners for their continued support, the city of Berlin for their cooperation and flexibility and our fans for their patience.”
The first five races of the season have been won by five different drivers, sadly none of them Porsche aces. This leaves the championship relatively open for the six-race showdown. If someone does particularly well in Berlin, that could be the thing that decides it. A win is worth 25 points, and the current points leader, DS Techeetah’s Antonio Felix da Costa has just 67 points thus far. Theoretically nobody has been mathematically excluded from the championship yet, and with a trio of wins in the final six races of the season, either Porsche driver could become series champion.
It all comes down to six races in nine days on three different circuits at an unfinished airport in Germany. How great would it be to see Porsche win on home turf in its first season in Formula E? I know I’ll be cheering them on, from home naturally.