Fans enjoy Formula E Spectacle in the German Capital Berlin
■ Mitch Evans claims his eighth victory at the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race in Berlin Tempelhof Airport
■ Drivers to compete on the wet 2.355-kilometer track for the first time in Season 9
■ Hankook iON Race demonstrates its consistency and potential on concrete slabs, despite varying temperatures and rain
Neu-Isenburg, Germany, April 24, 2023 - Two thrilling races at the Berlin E-Prix were the best possible advertisement for Formula E in the German capital, where all the drivers in the fully-electric racing series again lined up on Hankook’s premium product, the iON Race tire, as they have done since the start of this season. In front of sold out grandstands at the decommissioned Tempelhof Airport, New Zealand’s Mitch Evans from the Jaguar TCS Racing team took victory on Saturday to claim his eighth win in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. His teammate Sam Bird finished runner-up under a bright blue sky and in temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius. Maximilian Günther (Maserati MSG Racing) pulled off a very strong maneuver in the final corner before the checkered flag to pass Sébastien Buemi (Envision Racing) and secure third place on the Hankook tire in front of his jubilant home fans. After 66 years, this was Maserati’s first podium with a Formula race car. “As the track is very aggressive, I expected that the race could be tough on the tires. However, I have to say that tire management was far better than in previous years. The tire was very consistent. The different surfaces meant the grip level also varied. That was a real challenge, but I really enjoyed it,” said Günther, whose podium result made him the best-placed German in Berlin.
The rain departed Tempelhof Airport just in time for Sunday’s race action, and the second race of this double-header took place on a dry track. The 22 drivers once again treated fans to a feast of overtaking maneuvers and changes of position, with the lead and podium positions regularly changing hands. As on Saturday, it was again a Jaguar that took the checkered flag after 40 laps of racing. Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) from New Zealand took victory ahead of Britain’s Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti Formula E) and Frenchman Jean Éric Vergne (DS Penske). “The tire was really very consistent and I was able to push the whole time,” said the happy winner. Cassidy’s victory sees him close to within four points of championship leader Pascal Wehrlein from Germany (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team), who finished sixth on Saturday and seventh on Sunday.
A big surprise was the performance of the two ABT Cupra Formula E Team drivers in the wet qualifying session on Sunday. Pole position for Dutchman Robin Frijns and second place on the grid for team-mate Nico Müller from Switzerland represented the team’s best result in qualifying so far. Unfortunately, they were unable to repeat that strong performance in the race, with Müller finishing ninth and Frijns down in 17th. “We understood the Hankook tire very well today. It is particularly important in the rain to get the tire into the working window and tease every little bit of grip out of it. Robin and I did that well and we felt very comfortable on the tire on the wet track,” Müller explained.
For the first time in Season 9, the drivers took to the track in the rain. Conditions were wet on the 2.355-kilometer track at the decommissioned Tempelhof Airport for the third free practice session early on Sunday morning and qualifying. Furthermore, the track surface on the airport apron also made the double-header the biggest challenge of the year so far for the Hankook iON Race.
Hankook Formula E race engineer Thomas Baltes: “The big challenge for the tires on the Tempelhof track were the concrete slabs. Sometimes with some gravel, sometimes without, and repaired in many places. Over the years, however, the gravel has been washed out, repeatedly making for different grip levels, which did not make handling easy for the drivers. Plus, the concrete is very light and heated up far less than the dark asphalt. The rain on Sunday morning reduced the grip level yet further, and required some very sensitive driving in the Gen3 cars.”
On Saturday, Hankook Europe President, Sang Hoon Lee, personally presented the trophy to the victorious Jaguar TCS Racing team. He had previously visited the starting grid and attended important appointments in Berlin.
The guests and journalists invited by Hankook to Friday’s “Tyre Mounting” enjoyed a great initiative. After a welcome and introduction from Hankook’s Communications Director, Felix Kinzer, the guests, with guidance, were allowed to fit the Hankook iON Race onto a rim. The most prominent attendee was former Formula E driver, TV expert and influencer Daniel Abt. After the event, Hankook Motorsport Director Manfred Sandbichler and Hankook Formula E race engineer Thomas Baltes were on hand to answer questions from media representatives.
What makes the Hankook iON Race so special, how many tires are transported to the circuit, and what happens to the tires after the races? These questions also interested the guests of Formula E title sponsor ABB. Hankook Motorsport Director, Manfred Sandbichler, invited ABB and its guests to the Hankook mounting area, where he provided detailed information on the new official tire of Formula E.
Motorsport fan and vintage car enthusiast Daniel Brühl also visited Formula E at the weekend. The actor particularly enjoyed the grid walk shortly before Saturday’s race. Brühl played Niki Lauda in the film “Rush” and has made a name for himself internationally through his roles in “Good Bye, Lenin!”, “Inglourious Basterds” and “All Quiet on the Western Front”.
A race car can be a thing of beauty. The design for a Formula E car, developed specially by an artist and Allianz, caught the eye of thousands of fans in Berlin. And it goes without saying that the Hankook iON Race also played its part.
As well as the 22 drivers out on the track, sim racers also took their place at the wheel in Berlin. The E-sports series organized by Formula E, Accelerate, is now in its third season. In both Berlin and Rome, two qualifying races will be held, with eleven drivers qualifying from each for the grand finale, which will take place as part of the Hankook London E-Prix (28th to 30th July). As with the “real” Gen3 cars, the Hankook iON Race also provides optimal grip at the virtual racetracks.