Formula E hit London last month for the last two races on its inaugural calendar. We headed along to check out the new all-electric world championship on Saturday, June 27 in Battersea Park.
Our main reason for heading to the UK in late June was to go to the Goodwood Festival of Speed. When we realised that the final two races of the new Formula E championship would be on the same weekend, we elected to go to Goodwood on Friday and check out the new electric championship in London on Saturday.
We stayed in Clapham and walked to Battersea Park, which took around 30 minutes. After entering and buying a race program (£8), we quickly realized that the organization of the event was a little lacking. Our early-bird Silver tickets , which we had purchased for £30 (plus booking fee) gave us access to the number 12 viewing platform. Incredibly, the position of the viewing platforms were not indicated on the circuit map in the program! The signage at the circuit was also poor and we spent a good 30 minutes trying to find our platform.
When we did locate it for the practice session, the views were very limited. The platform wasn’t raised very high off the ground and the catch fencing blocked the views of the cars (see below). A disappointment! Maybe we just picked the wrong platform, but I have a feeling the views from the other ones were similar. We decided to forget the viewing platform and spend the rest of the day roaming around the rest of the park.
Limited Platform Views
Luckily, we found a good spot on the entrance to the pits area where could at least get a good view of the cars. The big find of the day was the baristas brewing excellent FREE coffee! In the end, we watched most of the race on the big screen in the middle of the park, close to the food and drink stalls. For the record, Saturday’s race was won by Sebastian Buemi and local hero Sam Bird took out Sunday’s race, whilst Nelson Piquet Jr was crowned the driver’s champion.
Driver’s autograph signing session
Would we go again? Sure, it was a decent, affordable day out in a great city park in one of the world’s best cities. We could have paid less; there was no benefit in paying £30 for the viewing platform tickets, where the views were really limited, when we could have paid £15 for General Admission tickets. The organization was lacking this year, but hopefully the Formula E folks will learn some lessons and improve the fan experience in 2016. We don’t see Formula E overtaking Formula 1 in popularity within 5 years, as Richard Branson was quoted as saying on the London ePrix weekend, but if the speed of the cars can be increased and the spectacle improved, then it can become a worthy alternative.