13 Sep 20

On this day: Formula E's debut E-Prix, Beijing 2014

On this day six years ago, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship sparked into life at Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium in China, ushering in a new era for motorsport. Since then, we've seen 69 races, crowned five champions and been showered in Moet & Chandon champagne by 17 race winners. It's been some ride...

The idea for an all-electric street racing series started out as nothing more than scribbles on a napkin.

On the evening of March 3, 2011, FIA President Jean Todt and Spanish businessman, Formula E Chairman Alejandro Agag, met in a Paris restaurant and gathered their thoughts in just a few words on what would become the world's first all-electric international single-seater championship.

The two developed the series as a means to demonstrate the potential of sustainable mobility and drive electric vehicles to the fore in the race for cleaner air. 

READ MORE: The evolution of Formula E: Gen1, Gen2 and the future

In just three years, Formula E made it from concept to reality - through prototypes, innovative EV technology for the race track and on to Gen1, with the first race taking place six years ago on the series' global debut in the grounds of the Olympic Park in Beijing.

Battle at the Bird's Nest

The very first Formula E race! Beijing E-Prix, 2014

Lucas di Grassi made history as the first man to take to the top step in Formula E with Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler.

The Brazilian had been heavily involved with the championship from its formative moments and has been here ever since, as one of only three drivers to have completed every race to-date alongside Sam Bird, Jerome D'Ambrosio and Daniel Abt.

The race will forever be remembered for the dramatic final corner crash involving Nick Heidfeld and Nicolas Prost - with Brazilian di Grassi best placed to profit.

World Championship status

Since that opening encounter, the championship has developed into the fastest-growing motorsport championship on the planet.

In December last year, it was announced that the series would gain World Championship status from the FIA - motorsport's governing body - for the 2020/21 season, with 12 teams and 24 drivers comprising the grid.

"Since we started this journey, Formula E has undoubtedly gone from strength to strength," said Todt at the time. "In a short timeframe, the series has proven itself relevant for the automotive industry with two more major car manufacturers having joined the championship for Season 6, bringing the total number to 10.

"Since its first race in Beijing in 2014 and with every E-Prix thereafter, Formula E has proven that the concept of cutting-edge electric racing works."

Missed anything between our debut and the end of Season 6? Catch up with all the action from race one to race 69, in full, in our Full Race Archive