Formula E setting up shop at England’s Donington Park

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The all-electric FIA Formula E Championship will have its headquarters and team facilities based out of England’s Donington Park circuit, a longtime staple of motorcycle racing and the site of Ayrton Senna’s legendary drive to victory in the 1993 Formula One European Grand Prix.

In addition, Donington will also serve as home testing and development site on F-E’s Spark-Renault SRT_01E race car for all 10 of the series’ teams, including American-based groups Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing.

F-E CEO Alejandro Agag said in a statement that the series looked at a number of European sites for the headquarters but felt that being part of the United Kingdom’s famous “Motorsport Valley” (also home to F-E partners McLaren and Williams) was too good to pass up.

“All 10 teams will soon have top facilities at their disposal in a modern, sustainable building, as well as direct access to the circuit to develop their cars,” Agag continued. “We are also just a stone’s throw from East Midlands Airport and the hub of our logistics partner DHL, meaning will we make substantial cost and emission savings.

“It’s also great for such an innovative and global racing series to be based at a historic race track like Donington Park and we’re looking forward to welcoming the teams.”

Construction began just after the New Year and is set to be completed by the end of April, with teams slated to move in starting May 1. F-E’s commercial wing will continue to be based in London.

More than 150 people are expected to work out of F-E’s Donington facility. True to the series’ environmental emphasis, it will comply with sustainable construction and development standards.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).