Formula E will return to London in July 24/25, on a brand new circuit. It will take place inside and outside the ExCel arena located in London’s Thames-side Docklands. This double-header marks the end of the first season for the electric single-seater series as a true FIA championship. It promises to be a unique and fresh take on Formula E’s city-centre format.
Alex Lynn, one of seven British drivers in the grid, is looking forward to racing home. Along with Alexander Sims, the 27-year old drives for Mahindra Racing in Banbury. Lynn is a former reserve driver for Williams Formula 1 and is highly respected both in single-seater racing as well as sports car racing. With Wayne Taylor Racing, he won the Sebring 12 Hours and was part of the winning crew for Aston Martin that captured the GTE Pro class in the Le Mans 24 Hours with the Vantage. He has raced for Jaguar and DS Virgin before and scored his first Formula E podium at the Valencia races. This year, he will aim to win London’s maiden E-Prix.
Autocar interviewed Lynn for some insights into Formula E driving. We were amazed at how hard it can be to race in this series, which has one of the best grids of motorsport outside of F1. This is what we found.
1 Drivers don’t have much knowledge about ExCel E-Prix.
It’s just going into and out the Excel centre. That’s all I know. Formula E has made things harder to prepare for Formula E, but not in an attempt to hoodwink any teams. The teams want as many advantages as possible and will spend at least a few days on the simulator before they go to the track. This is actually quite enjoyable!
Formula E’s high collision rate is unavoidable on most tracks.
Formula E heavily relies on the manufacturer, which means that there is a lot of pressure for drivers to succeed and achieve results. Add to that the elite field. You don’t get better racing drivers if you allow someone else to pass you. This combination of aggressiveness and results creates a racing style that is extremely aggressive. It’s pass or be passed when you are involved in the race. The worst type of racing is the one that takes place on tighter circuits.
Formula E drivers are subject to 3 range anxiety, as is the case for EV drivers.
The first Valencia race this year was cancelled due to a math error. Rules are designed so that we take away energy from every minute spent under the safety car or full course yellow. This usually works. Guess what, if there’s a safety vehicle or FCY within the last five minutes, you subtract four percent. It’s unlikely that many will make it all the way to the finish. This was a strange experience. You couldn’t believe the message your car gave you. It said that only a small amount of energy was left. Although the rules were changed, it was not ideal. This ruined a very enjoyable race, and it was disappointing for me. Formula E drivers feel responsible for their show, as we want to demonstrate that electric vehicles are possible and can be raced. This is an interesting series, and it’s not always easy to watch.
Four Racing at Monaco Grand Prix was Formula E at its finest – more fun than F1 in the Principality
“Monaco was my favorite Formula E race. The circuit was just right for our cars and vice versa. It was Formula E at its best. Monaco is a great place to race, despite its F1 reputation. But it was a good feeling and allowed us to overtake corners we hadn’t seen before. Monaco was a great place to race our style.
Lynn’s most thrilling and rewarding form of motor racing is 5 Formula E.
I would say Formula E is a very demanding sport. It takes hours of dedication and time to get the best out of the car. You also need to have a lot of mental ability. You can choose between two types of driving in the day. There’s the race, which is focused on energy savings and the qualifying style which is focused on going as fast and as smooth as possible. This is the most common type that we are all familiar with. The car is set up in one direction, and then you can have the race, which is all about energy saving, battery temperature, and tyres. This takes only a few hours. While people see the race in 45 minutes, the prep time is 10 days. We spend 10 days on the simulator every day. The sim runs from 8am-8pm. This championship is exhausting, but it’s also very rewarding. It’s rare that I have ever felt as happy when results were good or slightly better than I did racing in this championship. You can even get a point if you take a look at the entry list. At Monaco, I was ninth. However, we won both factory Porsches and both factory Audis as well as both factory Mercedes. It’s actually quite good, if you look at it.
6 Formula E makes Lynn a better racing driver
This championship has made me a better driver. When you’re competing for your car, there aren’t many drivers. You think more about yourself and become more critical. When I return to sports car racing, I feel a lot more confident and at a better level. Alexander, who also raced for Corvette GT racing, would agree.
7 Formula E has become a “destination” series for ambitious young racing drivers.
Alexander and I spoke about it at the weekend. Every driver must ask the question, “What next?” When they don’t get to F1 because of any reason. You have so many cool things you can do, win and enjoy. Then you need to find what you love. It could be the Indy 500. Is it Le Mans? It could be something else. Formula E seems to be a great destination for top drivers looking for something that will fill the F1 gap.
8 Races in the London E-Prix are personal
It’s truly special. It’s home to my race. But it also happens to be my hometown. This is where I live now and was raised. This is a great thing. We hope to create something unique going into and out the arena. Formula E is known for setting new standards, and that is exactly what we want. It’s a great motivation to race at home.
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Publiated at Wed 21 July 2021 23.07:41 +0000