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Formula E 18/19 race preview: Race 11, Bern

Jun 20, 2019

On Saturday June 22nd, the eleventh race of the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship will take place in Bern. With three races left and little between those at the top of the Drivers’ Championship leaderboard, the stakes are high in Switzerland.

Map Of The Track

Bern Circuit Layout

Track name = Bern Street Circuit

Track length = 2.668 km

Number of turns = 13

The Bern E-Prix is only the second temporary street circuit to be used for modern motorsports in Switzerland, after the inaugural Swiss race in Zürich during the last season of Formula E. The Zürich track clashed with local events this year and Bern stepped up with this 13-turn track that features two chicanes and a long straight for the powerful Formula E vehicles to open up the throttle. Some strong changes in elevation had previously rendered the track unsuitable for electric racing, but the stronger second generation batteries now handle the shifts with ease.

Green Scout Report

According to Yale’s Environmental Performance Index for 2018, Switzerland tops a list of 180 countries ranked by environmental health and ecosystem vitality. This is a country that takes environmental policy seriously.

Switzerland takes great pride in its mountains, lakes and clean air, and has long had in place a series of policy measures that have seen environmental protection become a deeply ingrained aspect of Swiss culture.

The Switzerland Energy Act was put to a referendum in 2017, and came into force on January 1st 2018 once voted through. It enshrined in law investment grants for renewable forms of energy - in particular, geothermal and hydro-power, but also solar PV and biomass.

Today, Switzerland has 638 hydroelectric power plants, generating 59.9% of the country’s electricity. The Energy Act aims to phase out nuclear energy by 2050.

2013’s Spatial Planning Act was enacted to protect natural resources by preventing the spread of urban sprawl and committing to use existing urban areas more economically. The complementary Spatial Strategy for Switzerland designated areas of the countryside where conservation takes priority above all other concerns, as a means of preventing development and preserving biodiversity.

In the fight against global warming - and decreasing air quality - Switzerland increased its carbon tax in 2014 with particular focus on the construction and transport industries, while imposing strict measures to ensure high-performance filters and catalytic converters are installed in vehicles.

Three things to look out for

  • On home turf: Swiss driver Sébastien Buemi will be looking to capitalise on his highest performance this season after claiming second place at the previous race in the Berlin E-Prix. With 61 points so far, the 2015/16 Champion has already admitted that he “cannot come back” in the Drivers’ Championship, but he will undoubtedly be keen to put in a strong performance for his home crowd.
  • New contenders: with Mercedes-Benz and Porsche having signed up to take part in the 2019/20 season of Formula E, the competition - and industry confidence in EV technology - will really be gathering steam next year. Keep an eye out for the new kids on the block - they may well be in the stadium, scoping out the opposition for next year.
  • A crowded field: with 16 drivers still technically capable of winning the Drivers’ Championship - and only three races left - the Bern Street Circuit could be a deciding factor in who gets to go to the final two races of the season in New York. With so little between them, Bern promises to be a fierce race with high stakes and a significant battle for first place.

Sims takes in the circuit and the local renewables

BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alexander Sims has been taking time ahead of the race to familiarise himself with the circuit but also the amazing work being done with carbon capture in Zürich.

“It’s really exciting to have the opportunity to race in Switzerland. I’ve prepared on the simulator in Munich and then took a road trip in a BMW i3 to Bern, stopping at Hinwil just outside of Zürich to see carbon capture technology by Climeworks in action, which was really interesting.

“The Swiss E-Prix rounds out this season’s European races and will take place on an exciting looking circuit with plenty of undulations. However, it is narrow, so overtaking will be tough. Getting a strong qualifying position will be essential for a good result.”

How do I watch?  

The 45-lap race starts at 13:00 (UK time) on Saturday 22nd June and is available to watch on the BBC Sport website, Red Button, and BT Sport.

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