Being a guest at the Formula E race motorsport in Berlin is a very special experience and a new definition of sound. After I already told you a few days ago about the first day of the event with Harman/Kardon by Harman and gave you an insight into the BMW i8 Drive Experience on the race track, today follows the report on the first race on the apron of Tempelhof Airport in Berlin.
Formula E in Berlin – Harman/Kardon Experience
After the Formula E evening event and a little surprise from the team of Harman/Kardon in the hotel room, the next morning directly again the BMW X5 limousines of the VIP driving service stood in front of the 25 hours Bikini Hotel in Berlin and brought us to the Tempelhof Airport to the VIP lounge of BMWi and Harman Kardon by Harman.
When you choose the Formula E main entrance and see the old check-in area, which was used for the autograph sessions with the Formula E drivers that day, you feel like you have started a little time travel.
On the airfield the modern technology, the new sound and the future of car racing, in the building a facility from the seventies.
While the regular visitors went to the attractions and information booths on the apron, I, the bloggers and influencers from Harman/Kardon first had the opportunity to enjoy a hearty breakfast and get the first glimpse of the first training runs of the electric race cars.
It’s impressive to see how fast you can drive around the Formula E race track in this day and age, even with battery power and an electric motor.
It immediately brought back memories of the previous day’s experience with the test driver and the BMW i8 on the track. You immediately get a completely different feeling when the brakes are applied at the end of the home stretch and the tires start to squeal. In my current YouTube video you can also see this scene again and get my impressions and reactions personally described.
This automatically increased my anticipation of the first walk through the pit lane, getting up close to the race cars and seeing how different it is between an electric car and a race car with a combustion engine.
Formula E pit lane at MS Amlin Andretti
The MS Amlin Andretti Formula E team was so kind to allow an exclusive visit to the pit and also took the time for many discussions about technology and the future of Formula E sport (many thanks for this already).
Hardly imaginable to receive guests in the pit directly between the training and qualifying runs, as well as the race in the afternoon at the Formula 1 in the today’s time.
On one side lay the impact wrenches, on the other side the laptops were connected to the race cars and quickly the batteries were again supplied with power and above all immediately cooled.
This is still one of the biggest problems for electric race cars today. The batteries do not yet have sufficient capacity and very quickly become very hot. This means that they have to be cooled immediately, and this “problem” currently leads to a special feature in the race.
Unlike in Formula 1, the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) or other racing series, the tires are not changed and refueled depending on the series, but in Formula E the cars are changed.
Each driver has two cars available for the race. As a rule, the cars are changed halfway through the race, but there are also many opportunities to choose a slightly earlier stop or a later stop. In the season after next, however, this special feature is to be rendered obsolete by many adjustments, new engines and new batteries.
You also notice immediately in the pits, the teams are much smaller, things are even more familiar and above all – the spectator is still the focus.
There were no questions in the discussions that were not allowed. Everything was explained as precisely as possible and also made understandable and as you can already see in the photos, even when photographing and in the video there were almost no restrictions. Only the battery area was not allowed to be photographed, because here each team still has its own further developments.
This is also one of the factors why the MS Amlin Andretti Racing Team is not yet as successful as the other teams in the racing series. While many teams work directly with the manufacturers, MS Amlin Andretti still develops many things itself.
Of course, it’s easier when there’s a major engine manufacturer with a large research department behind it – compared to a private team.
But those who know the successes of the Andretti family (e.g. winning the world-famous Indy500 3x in the last 4 years) will also be sure that also in Formula E, at the latest from the 2018/2019 season, the team will fully attack with another partner.
After the pit tour, thanks to Harman/Kardon, we had the opportunity to talk to technicians from the Andretti Racing Team in our VIP lounge about the team’s future prospects and expectations for the races in New York and Montreal.
What you definitely take away as an impression directly – it is a togetherness – a racing series also for the fans.
Formula E race in Berlin – The main event
The most common question I got from you before the race and also already answered in the video – “how is the sound”. You hear so much about it, but what is the experience like at the start.
I can only say it – it’s the “sound of the future” for me, it sounds modern, it’s pleasantly quiet (nothing against a nice engine noise) and it makes the racing series interesting for the whole family.
Compared to Formula 1 with a noise of 130db, Formula E is very quiet with just 80db and there are completely different possibilities for the soundscape. As a spectator, you can hear directly when the car’s underbody touches down on the uneven concrete floor on the apron of Tempelhofer Feld, when the next gear is selected or when the vehicles touch each other in the curve. You are much closer to the action and experience the moments in a completely different way.
Again, it’s exactly these moments that are incomparable – when you’re there live and experience the action.
I can still remember the moments at the Superbowl when you looked at the clock for the first time and there were only five minutes left to play, how you cheered with Dirk Nowitzki in the NBA final in Miami, or how four hours of opening ceremonies at the Olympic Games in London flew by.
When you’re there LIVE, you experience it completely differently, and that’s how it was at the Formula E ePrix race in Berlin. You followed the cars and already the first pit visit and change of cars was on the agenda. Another 30 minutes later, the first race of the weekend in Berlin was over and the award ceremony once again confirmed the overall impression.
The drivers on a visible and big podium, giving the first interviews already before the award ceremony and enough time available for the spectators to come from the different grandstands to the stage in front of the former check-in hall at the airport and celebrate together the end of a great day.
Perfect racing weekend with Formula E in Berlin
It was a great weekend with interesting bloggers and influencers from Europe and there were numerous opportunities, for great conversations and shared ideas, which I will certainly implement in the future on my blog and especially on the YouTube channel.
However, I will also approach a car with a completely different feeling in the future, pay a completely different attention to the entertainment system and think about when the first plans for the sound system were communicated, how the designers sat over plans and thought about how to implement the sound concept.
With a great conclusion and the experience to have driven on a race track once, a great weekend came to an end.
A perfect time with the stay in the Harman/Kardon and BMWi VIP lounge and the visit to the MS Amlin Andretti team, as well as the new “Sound of the Future” will remain in my memory.
I am already looking forward to experiencing a new sound experience and maybe next year I will report again from Formula E – from Berlin, but maybe also from other places…