The Cape Town E-Prix is an annual race held as part of the FIA Formula E Championship, which features electric-powered race cars. The race is on a street circuit in the heart of Cape Town, South Africa, and attracts motorsports enthusiasts of all nationalities.
Formula E is an all-electric racing series that has gained popularity and attention recently thanks to its focus on sustainable and eco-friendly technology. Unlike traditional motorsports that rely on fossil fuels, Formula E cars are powered solely by batteries and electric motors, making them more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
The 2021 Cape Town Formula E E-Prix was a thrilling and exciting electric vehicle technology and innovation event. The race weekend had 24 drivers from 12 teams, including the home favourite and local hero, Kelvin Van Der Linde.
The race was held on a 2.87-kilometer circuit that featured a mix of tight corners and high-speed straightaways, which presented a challenging and exciting track for drivers to navigate. The track layout also allowed plenty of overtaking opportunities, which made for some thrilling moments throughout the race. In addition to covering the famous 2010 FIFA world cup Cape Town stadium, the track was set against the backdrop of Table Mountain, providing some breathtaking scenery.
António Félix da Costa, from the Porsche team, won the race. This was a hard-fought victory after a lackluster qualifying session which saw him lining up 11th on the grid. In the post-race interview, Da Costa thanked the team for providing him with the right machinery for the job by stating, “Our car has been efficient, so I knew we could go forward in the race, but it’s not an easy track to overtake on.” This highlighted some of the woes the Cape Town street circuit was criticised for, namely its bumpy tarmac, which hindered the driver’s ability to control their car, thus reducing the number of overtakes and attempted overtakes.
The highlight of action also proved to be the lowlight for the championship leader, Pascal Wehrlein, was the opening lap drama. The initial lap saw the Porsche driver retiring after a self-inflicted collision due to locking up going into the Mouille Point corner. This narrowed his gap to his nearest rival, Jake Dennis, to 18 points in the championship battle. This appeared to be a necessary evil to keep the championship duel alive. Despite the stunning weather conditions, there was an unmistakable aura of sadness when local hero Kelvin van der Linde failed to start the race as Mahindra Racing announced they were withdrawing their four cars due to suspension-related issues. This took out Kelvin’s ABT Cupra car as they are a customer of Mahindra Racing. The heartbreak for the South African fans is exacerbated as this was probably Kelvin’s last chance for a long time in a Formula E car.
Overall, the Cape Town Formula E E-Prix was an excellent showcase of electric vehicles and demonstrated the potential of this emerging technology. The event was well-organized, and the circuit provided an exciting and challenging race for drivers and spectators alike. Importantly this weekend demonstrated that South Africa is ready and eager for the potential return of Formula One.
As the world becomes more environmentally conscious, there is an increasing demand for cleaner and greener forms of transportation. This trend is likely to continue, and it may impact the future of motorsport. Many automotive manufacturers are investing heavily in electric vehicle technology, and some are shifting their focus to Formula E. However, it's important to note that Formula E is still a relatively new and developing sport. While there is potential for it to grow and become more popular, some challenges need to be overcome.
Thus while it's difficult to predict the future of motorsport, Formula E is an exciting and innovative development that has the potential to shape the future of racing. Whether it will become the dominant form of motorsport remains to be seen, but it's certainly an option worth considering. Cape Town and all of South Africa welcome the FIA Formula E annual street race. We look forward to the next decade of action on the sunny streets of the mother city.