My first ever motorsport photography expierence - The Sabic Berlin E-Prix 2023

Formula E has held a Berlin E-Prix in every single season since the series exists. Only a single time not taking place on the historic airport field in Tempelhof. But while Formula E visited Berlin on a weekend in April 2023 for the 9th time already, I was able to experience my first ever motorsport event. Around 33,300 viewers attended the double header over the weekend, with two practice sessions, qualifying sessions, and races to watch. Formula E makes great use not only of the Tempelhof airport field, but also plays into the distinctive characteristics of the closed airport building. The visitors access the fan village and the grandstands through the former main entrance. A personal highlight were the two show cars displayed in the old terminal area. A Gen 2 car from the years prior, as well as one of the current Gen 3 cars.

The Formula E weekend was not only my first ever motorsport event that I visited, but was also my first ever motorsport photography experience. It was a totally spontaneous but a genius decision to take a camera with me. I had never taken photos with a camera before, all my photography was always taken with a phone camera. I can only laugh at the beginner mistakes I made about half a year ago, and be stunned at how well the pictures turned out nonetheless. Not only that, but I was nervous, so so nervous not only but for the most part about the photography part of the day. Not knowing if I would find a good spot and if the camera would show me that maybe I was bad a photography after all.

The Saturday began with the second practice session of the weekend, which I sadly had to miss as I was taking the train to Berlin during that time. I did however arrive early enough at the circuit to roam around the location a bit and take a look at all the exhibitions available. Some teams displayed their electric road cars in the fan village or advertised for road safety, showing their newest developments. I was able to get a feel for the camera while taking some shots of these cars. They had even set up a simulator for visitors to be able to drive a couple laps around the circuit. I was a bit too shy to try it, though, as I don’t own a drivers licence and have never driven a car before.


The weather on Saturday was outstanding by German standards. The sun was shining nonstop and was basically shining directly into my eyes from my seat on the grandstand. Prior to this experience, I had always asked myself why motorsport teams were so keen on selling caps and why so many people were buying them. But with the sun practically blinding me, I had to admit that it probably made quite a lot of sense wearing them if fans as well as team members are spending so much time outside during the race weekends. My first piece of motorsport merch was therefore an actually quite nice blue Formula E cap, purchased in a tiny and extremely crowded merch booth that was playing music at a sound level that was definitely damaging my eardrums.

The actual racing action started with the first qualifying session of the weekend at 10.40 am. I have to admit that I had very little knowledge about all the teams and drivers at this point of the 2023 Formula E season. I had watched most of the races of the season but was still unable to tell all the liveries apart. This changed drastically after taking about 3000 photos on that Saturday. My first ever motorsport photos were taken during that qualifying session. If you have ever tried to take photos at any motorsport event before, you will have gotten a taste of its challenges. The most obvious one of them is the speed of the cars. Luckily my grandstand was located at a turn so that I was spared of this problem for my first experience. The bigger problem I encountered was finding a good spot as a spectator because the viewers and the track are obviously divided by multiple fences for safety reasons. To limit the amount of fence in my pictures, I decided to leave my seat on the grandstand. I choose to spend the entire race on the stairs of the grandstand instead, accompanied by some like-minded people and their cameras.

The break between qualifying and race was used for buying the cap that I mentioned earlier, as well as get some food from the various food trucks next to the airport building. The queues were quite long and did not seem to get shorter as we were getting closer to the race, but we were able to grab some fries and a burger. They also had some vegetarian options available, something I had not expected to find on a motorsport event. On second thought, it seems quite fitting considering the event was taking place in Berlin and was organised by an electric racing series.

As I was busy taking photos during the race, I wasn’t quite able to follow all of the overtakes and the general racing action. I was however very pleased with the race result as German Maserati MSG Racing driver Maximilian Günther scored his first podium of the season. The Saturday podium was completed by Mitch Evans who won the race and his teammate Sam Bird from Jaguar TCS Racing. From the very top of my grandstand and a massive amount of zoom, I was able to get some pictures of the podium ceremony.


Next year, Formula E will return to Berlin for not only its ten-year anniversary season but also for the 10th Berlin E-Prix. They will be visiting again for a double header weekend from the 10th to the 12th of May. The circuit is rumoured to be undergoing some changes, adapting further to the newer Gen 3 cars. I will certainly be attending the anniversary weekend next year and will hopefully be able to be there not only on Saturday but also the Sunday. And of course I will be bringing my camera, putting to use all the experience I gathered over the multiple motorsport events I visited in 2023.