Just under a year ago, Felix Rosenqvist claimed a breakthrough first Formula E victory both for himself and for Mahindra Racing with a commanding drive in the 2017 Berlin E-Prix. This Saturday, the Swede – now a firmly established frontrunner in the all-electric championship – returns to the German capital and its former Tempelhof Airfield to once again try and blitz the opposition.
“It’s actually quite a special feeling coming back to Berlin and Tempelhof,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It was a watershed moment for me last season; that’s where I proved I wasn’t just quick in Formula E, but also that I had what it takes to actually win races. It was an important milestone, and a day that meant a lot to the entire team. It’s always nice to go back to a place like that.”
As a matter of fact, last year’s Berlin E-Prix could have netted Rosenqvist not just one, but two victories. A double-header event in 2017, the German round of Rosenqvist’s rookie season saw him take the chequered flag first on the road in both the Saturday and Sunday races, although a time penalty picked up for a pit stop blunder with team-mate Nick Heidfeld eventually demoted him to second in the Sunday race behind Sébastien Buemi.
This time around, however, the Berlin event features just one single race, meaning the full attention will be on Saturday’s encounter.
Rosenqvist arrives at Tempelhof sitting third in the current Formula E standings, eager to recover his race-winning form from earlier in the season after a slightly more difficult excursion last time out in Paris.
“We weren’t quick enough in Paris, but I’m pretty confident that was mainly track-related and it’s not something I worry about going into Berlin,” Rosenqvist says. “We had a fantastic car at Tempelhof last year and I know how big a leap we’ve made since then. Given the pace we’ve had in all the other races this season, and how strong we were in Berlin last year, I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be aiming for the podium, at least.”
With four races left, the 2017-18 ABB FIA Formula E Championship is headed by Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne ahead of DS Virgin’s Sam Bird. Rosenqvist, as previously mentioned, holds third, hunted by the two most recent Formula E champions Buemi (Renault) and Lucas di Grassi (Audi).
Rosenqvist currently battles a 61-point deficit to Vergne in the title race.
Saturday’s Berlin E-Prix will go green later in the day than normal, owing to an extended schedule of on- and off-track activities that include 2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg demonstrating the Season 5 next-gen Formula E car in front of his home crowd.
The E-Prix will accordingly get underway at 18.00 local time instead of 16.00, the traditional Formula E race start slot.
All times local (GMT+02:00)
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
Race 9/12 | Berlin E-Prix
Saturday 19 May
Free Practice 1: 09.00-09.45
Free Practice 2: 11.30-12.00
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 8/12 races
1: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 147 p.
2: Sam Bird (GBR), 116 p.
3: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 86 p.
4: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), 70 p.
5: Lucas di Grassi (BRA), 58 p.
TEMPELHOF (track data)
Length: 2.37 km
Lap record: 1m07.670s
Set by: J-M. López (2017)
2017 result (Felix): P1/P2