As Nico Rossberg and Mercedes celebrate the first win of the 2014 Formula One season, another group of racers prepares for a new electric race series. All-electric Formula E racers will hold their own Grand Prix for the first time this September at the iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing.
Although this is the inaugural year for Formula E, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the same massive infrastructure that oversees Formula One is already fully behind the fledgling series. Designed by Rodrigo Nunes, the new track was built in close cooperation with the FIA, Formula E, the Olympic Park committee, the Republic of China Motor Sport Federation (FASC), the Mayor of Beijing and the Chinese Government. Beijing’s Formula E circuit is the first of ten city-based races scheduled as part of the 2014/2015 season.
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For this event, which is due to take place on Saturday September 13, each of the 10 teams has access to four Spark-Renault SRT01E Formula E fully-electric single-seat racers, or two cars per driver. Racers will wind their way around the 20 turns of the 3.44 km (2.14 mile) track in a counter-clockwise fashion at speeds in excess of 225 km/h (140 mph).
For season two, Formula E has arranged for an "open championship" season, where teams will be allowed to design and develop their own cars in accordance with technical specifications to be set by the FIA.
"The Beijing track is an amazing facility," said Lucas di Grassi, driver for the Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team. "For the drivers, it will be a tremendous challenge to learn the limits of this track quickly, as well as to understand the best overtaking opportunities. The most obvious places are likely to be the first and last corners. The circuit will also require lots of traction and braking stability, while the energy recuperation at braking zones will help to stabilize the car. The pit lane is also unique and requires practice to get right."
The Beijing track isn't exactly one of the most complicated, or innovative, or technical of tracks. With a large percentage of straight-aways, sharp 90 degree corners and four strategically placed chicanes, it will be interesting to see how the electric racers perform as they make their way around the former Olympic Bird's Nest Stadium and the National Aquatic Center.
Donington Park Raceway in the UK has been confirmed as the new headquarters and central workshop for Formula E as part of a program to increase development and reduce overall costs.
Source: Formula EView gallery - 12 images