According to information from the local press, Formula E seems to be one step closer to ensuring the Berlin ePrix 2016 will go ahead as planned. A track on Karl-Marx-Allee close to the famous Alexanderplatz is allegedly the track-to-be.
For a long time now, Formula E and the city of Berlin have discussed the Berlin ePrix 2016 ever since it became clear that the race could not be taking place on last season’s track in Tempelhof. The majority of the hangars which have been used for the eVillage and the Media Centre are currently home to several thousands of refugees in the German capital city and therefore the series agreed to change the location of the ePrix. The search for the perfect alternative has ever since kept the city, the series and the fans awake at night as finding a suitable location in Berlin proved itself to be a bigger challenge than first expected.
May 21 - a day of complications
Berlin is home to a number of sporting events and unfortunately for Formula E, the targeted date for the Berlin ePrix brings along several complications. First of all, the Deutsche Fußball Bundesliga cup final traditionally takes place in the German capital. On May 21, the two finalists will battle for the prestigious cup in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium which ruled out a track around the stadium. This option has been rumoured to be one of the favourites for hosting the Berlin ePrix 2016 but unless Formula E decides to move the race to May 14, a track around the stadium is out of the question. One further possibility is racing on the famous Straße des 17. Juni right next to Tiergarten and the Brandenburg Gate. An Avus-like track has been discussed there yet the Avon Women’s Run 2016 rules out this alternative as well. Should the date not be set in stone, Formula E would have a higher number of locations to choose from.
The new home to the Berlin ePrix
According to Berliner Zeitung, Formula E found a new home for the Berlin ePrix close to the city’s famous Alexanderplatz. A two-kilometre track on the historic Karl-Marx-Allee will most likely replace the beloved track on the former Tempelhof airport. While close to the city centre, the beautiful fountain on the roundabout which will be part of the track adds to the unique atmosphere. With lots of straights, the track reminds motorsport fanatics of the Avus track which was home to Formula races in the early Fifties. The Northern side of the boulevard will allegedly be home to the stands; VIP areas will be set up there as well.
Still a bumpy road ahead...
While the Berlin ePrix now seems likely to go ahead, there is still a bumpy road ahead of the organisers – literally and figuratively. The city seems to be motivated to replace the extremely damaged tarmac in Lichtenberger Straße to ensure the cars can race without any complications. Furthermore, there are still bureaucratic issues to resolve. According to the German road traffic act, public roads are not allowed to be home to street races. Yet the races on the Avus and others have shown that exceptions are indeed possible. The authorities are optimistic that an exception from the road traffic act will also be made for the Berlin ePrix.
Why Berlin is so determined to keep the ePrix
Germany is home to many well-known car manufacturers and e-mobility is a huge trend in the big German cities. Especially Berlin is determined to be perceived as a “Green Capital” and therefore the city is highly motivated and spares neither trouble nor expense to make sure Formula E stays in the capital. Especially after last year’s success – the event was completely sold out – Berlin wants to deepen its relationship with the all-electric racing series which brings along both economic benefits and great publicity.
An official announcement concerning the future of the Berlin ePrix is expected later today. The German based Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport Formula E team vaguely suggested that German fans of the series should stay clued to their computer screens this afternoon: “We hear exciting news for all German Formula E fans [are] coming up this afternoon…”.
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