Five things to know about Formula E and the Cape Town ePrix

The Cape Town ePrix track is ready and set for some Formula E action this weekend. Photo: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

The Cape Town ePrix track is ready and set for some Formula E action this weekend. Photo: Armand Hough. African News Agency (ANA)

Published Feb 24, 2023


Cape Town - According to the Formula E website the beginnings of the idea of the sport were written on the back of a napkin in 2011 when sport founder Alejandro Agag and FIA president Jean Todt met at a restaurant. Things have come a long way and Formula E has become one of the most popular disciplines in motorsport.

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In a bid to grow the sport, Cape Town will host its first race and it will also be the first to be staged in sub-Saharan Africa.

IOL Sport’s Alicia Pillay tells you all that you need to know before Saturday’s ePrix gets under way.

Qualifying and races

In qualifying all drivers go up against each other based on where they are positioned in the Drivers Championship, battling at 300kW to set lap times in a 10-minute session. From there the fastest four from each session will progress into the Duels stage and the quarter-finals. The quickest drivers from each group face off in the Final Duel.

The winner of the final duel will be on pole for the weekend’s race. The runner-up will be second on the grid and the semi-finalists will line up third and fourth, the quarter-finalists between fifth and eighth, according to their lap times. A Formula E race is just 45 minutes long with an additional lap.

Charging the car

Charging the car is not permitted during a race or qualifying. Teams can charge the cars in-between sessions and during practice.

Kelvin van der Linde

Kelvin van der Linde is no stranger to motor racing in South Africa. He made history earlier in February, when he became the first South African to make his Formula E debut.

He will hope to wow the local crowd at the Cape Town ePrix where he will race with Cupra, after Robin Frijns decided to take more time to recover from a hand injury sustained in the Saudi Arabia race.

Van der Linde says he has also been playing tour guide with fellow drivers in the Mother City.

The Circuit

The Cape Town street circuit is bound to showcase the city’s beauty with Table Mountain, Signal Hill and Cape Town Stadium as its backdrop.

The track has been deemed as the fastest on the Formula E calender and the sense I get from the drivers that I chatted to earlier in the week, is that we are in a for an exciting competition.

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How much does a Formula E cost?

Unlike like Formula One, Formula E is a relatively ‘inexpensive’ sport.

A cost cap was imposed for the 2022/2023 season with teams being able to spend €13 million (about R252m) and it will increase to €15 million in the 2024-2025 season.

Now when you look at what Formula One teams are allowed to spend the amount is a lot more and in the region of $142.4 million (about R2.6 billion). Try getting your mind around that number in rands!