Formula E Hyderabad: From The Best Seats At The Venue
Formula E Hyderabad: From The Best Seats At The Venue

Hyderabad made history earlier in February, hosting the first Formula E race on the streets of India. While long straights, hairpin turns and tight chicanes made for a thoroughly enjoyable race, it was the premium race day experience that added the cherry on top

India finally made its debut on the international Formula E roster during its ninth season in 2023 with the Hyderabad E-Prix held in the ‘City of Nizams’ on February 11, 2023. The 2.83 km-long race track with 18 turns, located alongside Hussain Sagar Lake, is one of the most picturesque circuits on the calendar this season. Interestingly, the Telangana government had gotten a T-shaped 2.3 km track approved. However, the original track design, created with PPE Racing’s assistance, was strongly criticized by drivers including Norman Nato, who reportedly likened it to a “dildo” after testing it in a simulator. The track was subsequently redesigned by Driven International, who had also designed the 2021 Yas Marina Circuit layout in Abu Dhabi.



There’s no denying that India’s efforts to amplify audience outreach and improve logistics in recent years have put the country on the world map of motorsports, with MotoGP’s upcoming Grand Prix of India being a prime example. The Hyderabad ePrix venue can accommodate up to 25,000 spectators, and the race saw a full house on February 11. However, thanks to Jaguar TCS Racing, we were not in the grandstands and had a premium race day experience with access to the BOSS | EMOTION CLUB, which was formerly known as the premium suite.


The premium suite isn’t mentioned on any of the maps except for the one on your E-ticket which also gives you access to VIP drop-off at the venue. Sweet. I hopped off the taxi and got myself registered before heading into the lounge, which was surprisingly jam-packed, puncturing the air of exclusivity there was in the build-up. But as soon as I realised who the crowd consisted of, the claims didn’t seem so tall after all. Boasting a range of exclusive perks and benefits, the lounge sports unrivalled views of the racetrack plus a dedicated pit-lane walk. With fine dining and champagne available throughout the duration of the event, there’s a full-on social calendar featuring an in-house DJ and live entertainment, plus an exclusive Q&A session with the championship teams and racers.



Inside The Lounge


As soon as I entered the lounge, Mitch Evans of Jaguar TCS Racing had grabbed pole position for the race after winning the qualifying. The Jaguar team zone had erupted in applause and cheers and I was hooked to the action from the get go. I soon headed for a guided pitlane and garage tour where Chris Shortt, operations manager at Jaguar TCS, gave us a glimpse of how the crew was getting the cars ready for the race. Shortt was quick to ward off journalists from photographing the profile or the rear of the cars to prevent any leaks of their aero ‘secret sauce.’ After the quick tour, it was time to head back to the lounge for live racing action.



The premium suite has a massive terrace that offers uninterrupted views of turn 16 through 18, overlooking the scenic straight adjacent to the lake. This is ideal since not only do you get to witness quick corner carving action, but also get a chance to experience the explosive acceleration as the cars exit turn 18 on to the straight. Since the terrace is right above the garage, you can also check out the cars entering and exiting the pits. You can enjoy the live race with a drink on the terrace and if it gets too hot, you can always step back inside, and treat yourself to various buffet and bottomless drink options.


I’ll be honest — the food was nothing to write home about. Then again, when you’re planning to attend a race, that’s not really going to be a deal breaker. Still, there was a massive spread spanning across the length of the entire hall with something for everyone. Thanks to the variety of cuisines and multiple options across courses, I had little to complain about. However, my quest for the perfect Hyderabadi biryani remained unfulfilled as I gorged on a plate of one of the many derivatives of Lucknowi biryani that is passed on as its South Indian counterpart.



E For Electrifying


During lap 13 of the race, Jaguar TCS Racing suffered a catastrophe. Sam Bird attempted to pass Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz for fourth place, but couldn’t stop his car and crashed into his teammate, Evans, who was running in third place. This caused both cars to retire, and Fenestraz was also affected, ruining Jaguar’s chances of a podium double which looked highly likely at the beginning. From that point on, Jean-Eric Vergne led the race but faced pressure from Cassidy’s Envision Racing car. Although Cassidy had more usable energy, Vergne managed to hold him off and win the race with just 1% charge left. This victory will likely be remembered as one of Vergne’s best, especially since it occurred during Formula E’s first visit to India.


While the race was successful, the overall organisational efficiency drew a few raised eyebrows. The drivers’ frequent complaints about the need for better toilets hit too close to home. The irony was compounded by commuters invading the track. This is a street circuit and uses sectioned-off regular roads, though during the preparation for the practice session, the sudden entry of both two-wheelers and four-wheelers on the track took everyone by surprise. Fortunately, a potentially dangerous incident was averted.



In summary, if you want to enjoy a day out, sip some exotic champagne, watch Formula-E race cars zipping by at 300kmph, and interact with the who’s who of not just motorsport but across industries like entertainment, sports and tech, the BOSS | EMOTION CLUB is where you need to be at. That said, I wouldn’t give the experience a five on five. For starters, if I were paying Rs 2-2.5 lakh for such exclusive access, I’d expect a bit more privacy. My friends in the PR industry would argue that being the inaugural Formula E in India, they had to get more eyeballs and hence, dished out a lot of invites. And while that is more acceptable than vehicular traffic coming on to the track, it sets high expectations for the next Hyderabad E-Prix. The tickets for this exclusive lounge sell out months in advance, so make sure to make the right calls at the right time as you navigate the labyrinth of information on BOSS’ exclusive lounge.

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