Formula E’s hybrid event which championed sustainability

Formula E 2022, held at ExCeL, won Automotive Event of the Year at the C&IT Awards 2023. Here’s how they did it.


Formula E - the fully-electric racing series- came to ExCeL London in 2022 for two action-packed rounds on the world's only indoor/outdoor circuit, after the inaugural event took place behind closed doors.  This was the first time since 2016 that motorsport fans could watch the sport in London.

With more than 50 million watching live worldwide, and 45,000 fans in their seats, it was the perfect example of a world-class hybrid event, but with no margin for error. 

Objectives included:

  • To create a world-class racing circuit from scratch to the same standards as Formula 1, but this time accommodate 45,000 race fans and provide a global broadcast spectacle. 

  • Work with Formula E to design, create and implement the world's only indoor/outdoor circuit 

  • Construct accessible grandstand seating for 45,000 race fans - both inside and out - and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all spectators, teams, celebrities, drivers and staff Create from scratch a new fan zone for the first time with a range of engaging sustainability activities. 

  • Create world-class hospitality, fit for A-list celebrities 

  • Embark on various legacy projects between Formula E and ExCeL's five main charity partners 

  • Use the event to create awareness of EVs, aligned to the London Mayor's Clean Air Scheme 

  • To create a blueprint for the event and identify areas for future growth. 


Given this event was under the scrutiny of motorsport's world governing body (the FIA), it encountered a series of obstacles. Formula E takes place all in one day, meaning there was no 'dress rehearsal' or margin for error, especially with 45,000 race fans watching, together with a further 50 million watching in their homes around the world. 

Other challenges were to:

  • Work closely with Newham Council to ensure all permit and 

  • permission challenges are met, including meeting noise restrictions and curfews. 

  • Construct the racetrack and undertake all necessary ground works without encroaching on public roads (as prohibited by UK law) or impacting other tenanted events or residents. 

  • Resurface the unique non-slip indoor race-track surface which prevents the cars slipping - more than 500 metres

  • Construct new GRP panels to replace the floor ducts which could pose potential hazards to the cars/drivers 

  • Update the door mechanism to allow the cars to exit the halls 

  • Undertake the installation of all concrete blocks around the perimeter of the circuit 

  • Create a high-end hospitality suite suitable for A-list celebrities Undertake everything in the most sustainable way possible (due to the nature of the event) 

  • Provide a high-class security operation ensuring the safety of all race fans, drivers, teams and A-list celebrities, in particular FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. 


After months of planning and hard work, Formula E was able to race in front of a live UK audience for the first time in six years, with the event running without any issues or incidents and to resounding praise from Formula E, its teams, drivers and its governing body. 

Organisers worked to:

  • Develop a pioneering template by which ExCeL and other event venues could host similar world class sporting events 

  • Lay more than 6,500sqm of a specially developed indoor slip-free surface 

  • Fabricate 650 GRP panels to replace the floor ducts 

  • Install a new 15m wide extended door to allow the cars to exit the hall 

  • Install 1,200 blocks and fence panels, as well as  450 linear metres of LED lighting 

  • Cater for more than 2,000 hospitality guests and 45,000 race fans 

  • Identify significant economic and environmental benefits such as a new onsite block storage 

  • saving 200,000km in freight journeys. Raising more than £2,500 for ExCeL's charity partner Richard House Children's Hospice. 


Key highlights include: 

  • Global TV audience of 50 million 

  • -Media coverage value in excess of £100 million (Advertising Equivalent Value) 

  • Ticket sales of 21,416 on Saturday and 20,998 on Sunday (excluding hospitality, Formula E personnel, Event staff) 

  • 95% of attendees scored their experience at 

  • 7/10 or higher, with 93% saying they would recommend the event to a friend 

  • More than a third rated their experience "very good value" 

  • Helped Formula E deliver a carbon neutral event through 100% renewable energy 

  • Create a series of initiatives for ExCeL's charity partners such as surplus food donated to local food banks, 150 free tickets to community projects, £2,500 raised for children's hospice and goodie bags for local schools. 

Charlotte Flach Editor C&IT