We've watched Formula E in Berlin Tempelhof! (also "Formula E cars in simracing and which simulations to try")

May 01, 2023

<-- Back

all the good-looking pictures in this post are taken by good-looking @floh_loves_gym. please follow her on instagram!

We have attended a real race event! "Turns out" we lived next to a street circuit this whole time. My exposure to any kind of racing (open wheel or not) is limited to "watching formula 1 sometimes", so if you're an experienced motorsport expert and I've said something silly - do not cringe too hard😛

also: check out the "Progress is unstoppable" video. That was the first thing I've seen that day and I still think about it every now and then :D

The schedule

Formula-1 race weekend is usually Free Practice on Friday, qualifiers on Saturday and the race on Sunday. (you can also watch F2 events happening on the same day, a bit earlier).

Surprise-surprise - formula-e isn't like that!

There were two separate races (on Saturday and Sunday), so you could watch Free practice, Quali and feature Race in 1 day, two days in a row.

There's no Formula-2 equivalent here (not since iPace series was cancelled) so in-between you're free to wander in fan-village, eat some street-food, take pictures and try out to experience every form of the entertaiment provided. I've counted three:

  • a BMX pump-track
  • simracing setup, where everyone could set fastest lap
  • booths of teams and their sponsors

picture of me riding a bike I was a bit drunk to go fast, guys

BMX pump-track was nice! I stood in a line of 6 people, got to ride bike for a few laps, was fun! Dudes in charge of it were also doing some freestyle tricks, nothing on pumptrack itself because rain made it too slippery. My hot rating of BMX pump-track: HOT

Simracing corner had a thousand people line. From what I've seen, staying in the line (or buying a fast pass) would give you a chance to set fastest lap in some racing sim. Reddit says it's Real Racing 3 (some special build only for Formula-e, running on PC). Fantec wheel and pedals looked seducing, but the line was just too long, my hot rating is: NOT SO HOT.

Also: check the "Formula E cars in simracing and which simulations to try" section in the very end, if this is your sort of thing.

cool kids playing a mobile game on PC cool kids playing a mobile game on PC?

Booths of chemical companies and such: don't know, haven't seen anything worth mentioning. Maybe I haven't found the right booth tho, who knows.

pictures of booths

Quali and race

Me and Flo got tickets in Sector-E, where Attack-mode corner was. Tickets with access to tribunes this year were approx: 45, ~80 and ~100 eur. Ours were the cheapest, I hope A0, A1, B and C tribunes all had a more spectacular view on the track, because ours view was pretty meh.

Since I'm used to watching formula-1 on F1TV i was hoping we'd have some screens and live commentators. We did have both, kinda.

Our screen was against the sun and way too far away (maybe was better in more expensive sectors), live commentary was in German. Plot twist: I suspect the commentator dude isn't German or Austrian or any other kind of dude who's expected to speak German. His whole vocabulary was approx 30 words and after "Seid ihr bereit" for the 10th times in 5 minutes I've stopped caring.

Outside of a funny episode where he mispronnounced the word "bisschen" and made the crowd laugh a bit - I liked this aspect of the event the least. Wish it could be better, because it could have been. Just let the dude speak English ffs.

Watching quali live was whatever but the race turned out to be worth the money, worth the time, glad I've been there.

Awesome awesome awesome feels. Same evening we've watched a recording of the race with english commentary to make a bit more sense of what has happened, two weeks after I'm still smiling writing this longread, if you have never been to a race and you're in Berlin - yeah, go check it out. Here's a highlight video from that weekend btw:

aaand once again

If you're in Berlin for the next one

I do recommend you go check it out. It's good fun.

Hottest tip: buy a 20 EUR fan-village ticket. 20 EUR would grant you entrance for both days. You wouldn't get a tribune seat (which were, IMHO, not really worth the money) but you'll still be able to watch the race on the screens and see the cars passing by through the fence.

Appendix A: Formula E cars in simracing and which simulations to try

So you've been to a race and you're kind of curious how that track looks like "from driver's eyes". Me too! That's two of us, i think. So, What games do have formula e cars? Let's find out.

Cheapest easiest way: Real racing 3

Some time ago in 2017 Formula-E partnered with Real racing 3, a mobile-only free to play game.

It has the current generation of Formula-E cars playable (as well as GEN 2) and all the circuits. You'll need to complete the tutorial (which took me under 10 min) and you're free to try all this delicious CONTENT for free! No need to have a console or a gaming PC - your phone (or tablet) will do.

Wanna use a controller ? - That works! Don't have a controller? - It's a mobile game! You don't need one!

Is there a catch? - No, not really. It's a freemium mobile game from 2013. Devs attempted the whole "somewhat realistic racing game AND you can play it on your phone". Even with all the handling and breaking assists off - cars feel like they have no weight and cornering just didn't feel right to me but HEY! IT'S FREE!

Also there's no doubt: there is high-level play in that game. Just look at this dude breaking-down tempelhof breaking points and such. Insightful stuff!

Random fun fact: Dads like this game.

Still somewhat casual: Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Motorsport 7 had old GEN 1 cars. You can play it on PC or xbox. Controller, keyboard or wheel - all supported. I'm playing it on my xbox series S with my Logitech G920 wheel and it's fun.

No tempelhof circuit (obviously) but I like how the cars handle and it's just a fun "easy to pick-up" game all around. FM5 and FM6 had it in some form too, most prob it's fine as well.

Only on PC: rFactor 2

rFactor 2 is a well-established sim, no doubt. Maxi Verstappen plays rFactor 2 (he plays FIFA too so, I'm not saying this is any kind of proof for anything, lol).

You'll need a wheel, you'll need to buy rFactor 2, you'll need a PC that can run rFactor2, you'll need to buy new Formula-E DLC (GEN3 cars are 5EUR on steam, Tempelhof circuit is another 7.99 EUR).

Are you still here? I did all these steps and my dumb potato-laptop chokes too hard on this game. This is still "official" and supposedly more detailed, but also way more pre-requisites, so be prepared :)

looks solid. does it play well? - Can't tell at the moment :(

Only on PC: Assetto Corsa + VRC Formula Lithium 2023

Assetto Corsa is a rather old PC game. There's no structured campaign, it's not very user-friendly, even the menus are absolute horror. One thing in it's favor - passionate people have been modifying it for years, so you'd use Assetto Corsa as "racing engine" here.

A group of very passionate people put VRC Formula Lithium 2023 mod together, all free of charge (there were GEN 2 mods too before). If you are big time fiddler who likes to fiddle modding PC games - you already know what you're up for. In case you're not - it's fiddly.

Other little odd things to mention

FIA had another mobile game that seems dead now? It was called Virtually Live Ghost Racing, you can still find ads on official Formula-E channel and look at their twitter which stopped posting in 2020. No goodbye, no nothing - odd.

GRID Legends had some open wheel electric event that isn't Formula E but is surely a somwaht similar-looking car.

Aaand there's some manager games where you're managing a team instead of racing - not my jam.

Big conclusions about all the small games

Play what you want, my friends. I won't judge.