As the inaugural season for the new all-electric motor racing series, it’s been full of firsts for Formula E so we asked series presenter Nicki Shields to talk us through her top five personal highlights from this momentous season ahead of the series’ first race weekend in the UK.
1. Debut at Donington
The first ten Spark Renault SRT 01E Formula E cars were delivered to Donington in May 2014 and it suddenly felt Formula E was turning from a dream into a reality. I was hosting the event and press conference. It was the first time everyone, including the teams, some of the drivers, the cars and media, came together at Donington. It was definitely a memorable beginning! Plus, I was the first person allowed in the Amlin Aguri car (being pushed into the garage though, no driving!)
2. Arriving in Moscow
We’ve been privileged to travel to some incredible places during the Formula E calendar but arriving in Moscow and seeing the track for the first time was unforgettable. Walking across the bridge over the River Moskva with the Kremlin and TV compound on my left, Red Square and the media centre in front of me, St Basil’s Cathedral and the pitlane ahead of me on the right was something extremely special. Formula E and Moscow were now one! This is what Formula E was all about – racing smack bang in the middle of an incredible city. Totally bonkers and brilliant!
In the same way it’s every racing driver’s dream to win at Monaco, it was my dream to work there. Running up and down the pitlane as the Formula E cars were battling it out round Tabac, along past the swimming pool and up to Rascasse was a real buzz for me. It’s such an iconic place, packed wall-to-wall with motor sport heritage and so working at that race was a personal career highlight.
4. Piquet Jr winning at Long Beach
When Nelson Piquet Jr won in Long Beach for the first time in Formula E, it was 35 years after his father had done exactly the same in Formula One. This was a special moment in history for motorsport and for the Piquet family. It was wonderful to see such joy and elation from Nelson during my interview with him after the race.
5. Jean Paul-Driot sheds a tear
After Sebastian Buemi won his first race in Punta Del Este, I’ve never seen so much emotion from Jean Paul-Driot, E-Dams Renault co-founder with Alain Prost. He is also the founder of the winning GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 team DAMS. But it felt like this success meant more to him than any of his past victories. Taking motor racing to a new level and into the future clearly meant a lot. And he said exactly that to me after the race and that he might have even shed a tear!
The Visa London ePrix takes place on 27-28 June 2015 with tickets available from just £20. Visit www.fiaformulae.com for more information.