Review of 'FIA Formula E Visa: London ePrix 2015'

http://london.fiaformulae.com/

This was the finale of the first Formula E season - An all-electric racing tour that ended it's first year in Battersea Park in London.

Tickets

There were tickets for grandstands around the track but visibility was difficult throughout with the trees getting in the way but also meaning the track was very narrow. The best place to see probably would have been in a grandstand looking down one of the straights - Even the start/finish line had very poor visibility. We ended up with tickets for the ground to allow us to find the best position to see in a particular sector of the track. The price differential was reasonable between seats and standing was reasonable and given that it was the first year of the race it is difficult to determine in advance what was the best position for visibility.

We ended up at the fence just at a chicane so ended up with a reasonable chance of seeing cars as they (slightly) slowed down for the corner. Yes, it was often very fleeting…

Travel

Given that parking was impossible (only available to disabled attendees) and the nearest tube being a mile or so away, so we decided to take a bus to just west of the park and walk in just after the gates opened. Our position on the track was very close to an entrance so when we arrived just after the gates opened we had our choice of spaces to position ourselves. Getting out was equally easy with the trains and tubes extremely busy afterwards.

The Village

Every ticket gave you access to the “village” - The main portion of the park was devoted to food and various exhibit stands. Queues for the food stalls were enormous throughout the event with it not being uncommon to spend an hour or more waiting (though prices were actually fairly reasonable).

The exhibits were quite interesting with, understandable, a lot of focus on electric vehicles. Interestingly, Visa were on hand offering free radios that strap on your ear so you can hear the race commentary - Very helpful to figure out what was going on.

The Village also had several big video screens to see the action which was probably the best visibility of anywhere in the park of the race. The podium was also here were the champion was crowned.

The Programme

Each day (Saturday and Sunday) consisted of some test laps followed by qualifying, the drivers parade and then the 60 minute race itself (with a break midway for the drivers to change cars since the cars cannot go the full distance on a single charge). In between sessions very little happened on the track except for a few stunt electric motorcycle drivers and the occasional official car scouting out the track. A lot of the day was spent waiting for the action on the track - which was often extremely short and difficult to follow (impossible without the in-ear radio from Visa!).

The Racing

It was an exciting race though with not a lot of overtaking (not that we would have seen it) on the narrow and bumpy track around the park. For someone familiar with petrol racing the sound was very odd - the high-pitched whine of electric engines as the cars whip around the track. The speeds they achieve is quite amazing. Sitting where we were immediately beside the track was a bit of a thrill as they went by only meters away - We could certainly get much closer to the cars than in Formula 1.

Conclusion

Priced reasonably, this was definitely worth seeing at least once. We might be tempted to go again next year if we can though we would certainly want to have a grandstand seat to hopefully get a better view. Great to see the home-town driver Sam Bird win but also to see Nelson Piquet win the championship.

Rating:

Review Date: 2015-06-28



Battersea Park

Location: London (England)

Address: Battersea Park, London ENGLAND

Public Transport: BUSLOGO 452/137/345 NRLOGO Battersea Park, TUBE Sloane Square

URL: http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/200521/battersea_park/266/battersea_park

An often overlooked large park on the south side of the Thames just a short distance from Battersea Power Station. Transport is difficult with the nearest tube more than a mile away. The park has a large number of trees but some wonderful large open grassed areas for enjoying whatever the weather may be delivering…Facilities are basic though there is a children's zoo.