DANCING TO A DIFFERENT BEAT : SÃO PAULO SET TO STAGE ELECTRIFYING INAUGURAL E-PRIX
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is Brazil-bound this weekend, as the Gen3 grid prepares to thrill fans in the South American metropolis.
Photo credit: ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, 2023 Cape Town ePrix, Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske) & Pascal Werhlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team), (DPPI/Alexandre Guillaumot)
A month after the famous São Paulo Carnival, the city’s Anhembi Sambadrome will dance to a different beat this weekend (March 25), as the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship races into Brazil for round six of the 2022/23 campaign.
The electrifying series’ eagerly-awaited debut in the country – where motorsport heritage and passion run deep – is shaping up to be a spectacular affair. Winding through the Sambadrome and characterised by long straights, sweeping corners and tight turns, the 2.933km, 11-turn São Paulo Street Circuit is expected to produce a high-speed contest between the 22 single-seater protagonists.
In evidence of Formula E’s unpredictability, the Season 9 spoils so far have been split four ways, with a different pole-sitter at every E-Prix and no fewer than eight drivers ascending the podium.
Despite not taking the chequered flag last time out in Cape Town after running into the back of Envision Racing rival Sébastien Buemi on the opening lap, TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein still holds an 18-point advantage at the summit of the standings – although he is aware that another failure to score could see that margin erased in an instant.
The German dominated the early part of the campaign with two victories and a second-place finish, but the subsequent two races have yielded slimmer pickings. He is seeking to get his title charge back on track in Brazil.
Similarly, following a stellar start to the season – winning the Mexico City curtain-raiser and chasing Wehrlein home on both days in Diriyah – Jake Dennis’ challenge has somewhat stalled. Consecutive non-scores in India and South Africa have dropped the Avalanche Andretti ace into the clutches of the winners of those two events – Jean-Éric Vergne (DS Penske) and Wehrlein’s team-mate, António Félix da Costa.
The pair shared the rostrum in Hyderabad before rolling back the years with a vintage scrap for supremacy in Cape Town – resolved in the Porsche star’s favour on the penultimate lap. Both former champions will be bidding to build upon their burgeoning momentum on the streets of Brazil.
The other driver in a rich vein of form heading to São Paulo is Envision’s Nick Cassidy, who joined Vergne and da Costa on the podium in India and South Africa and looks well-placed to add a second career triumph to his tally sooner rather than later. Stablemate Buemi has been a regular front-runner in the new Gen3 era, too, clearly revitalised by his off-season switch to the British-based outfit.
Championship returnee René Rast and rookie Jake Hughes have both impressed on occasion for NEOM McLaren Formula E Team, the Briton in particular belying his comparative lack of experience to confidently take the fight to the series’ established contenders. While Hughes has yet to convert his palpable raw speed into a podium celebration, it is surely a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ he collects his first Formula E trophy.
Countryman Sam Bird looked to be back in the groove following a troubled 2021/22 campaign, but a torrid run in the last two events has rather taken the wind out of his sails. Evans, for his part, has been consistently unlucky, but like Bird, the New Zealander is unquestionably capable of vying for victory.
Defending champion Stoffel Vandoorne (DS Penske) and Maserati MSG Racing duo Edoardo Mortara and Maximilian Günther are all still chasing their first big points haul of the season. The German led for a time in Cape Town only to subsequently hit the wall, so he will be firmly focussed on making amends this weekend. At ABT CUPRA Formula E Team, meanwhile, Robin Frijns is set to rejoin the fray after recovering from the hand injury he sustained in the first round.
The lion’s share of fans’ support, however, will assuredly be reserved for the two local heroes in the field – 2016/17 title-winner Lucas Di Grassi and Sérgio Sette Câmara. The latter achieved his best result in almost two years and NIO 333 Racing’s best in more than 60 races with a superb fifth place in Hyderabad, but Mahindra Racing’s Di Grassi has not troubled the scorers since reaching the rostrum in Mexico. A podium performance in his hometown would undoubtedly send the partisan crowd into raptures.
The inaugural São Paulo E-Prix will get underway at 14:03 local time (18:03 CET) on Saturday, March 25.
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2023
– Introduction of the smaller, lighter and faster Gen3 cars
– Races will run to a set number of laps rather than time, in a bid to make them simpler to follow while allowing teams more control over their own strategies.
– The Safety Car or Full Course Yellow neutralisations will be compensated by added laps rather than added time.
Please find here the 2022 – 2023 Sporting Regulations.
THE 2023 TRACK
Opening Hours of the Media Center
– Friday March 24: 08:00 – 18:30
– Saturday March 25: 06:00 – 19:30
2023 SÃO PAULO E-PRIX TIMETABLE
|Friday March 24|
|16:30||17:00||00:30||FREE PRACTICE 1|
|Saturday March 25|
|07:30||08:00||00:30||FREE PRACTICE 2|
|09:40||09:52||00:12||QUALIFYING Group A|
|09:57||10:09||00:12||QUALIFYING Group B|
|Friday March 24|
|12:30 – 12:45||Team Representatives FIA Press Conference|
|Florian Modlinger – TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team|
|Tommaso Volpe – Nissan Formula E Team|
|Sylvain Filippi – Envision Racing|
|12:45 – 13:00||Drivers FIA Press Conference|
|Stoffel Vandoorne – DS PENSKE|
|Lucas Di Grassi – MAHINDRA RACING|
|Sergio Sette Camara – NIO 333 Racing Formula E Team|
|13:00 – 13:20||Media Pen (All drivers)|
|Saturday March 25|
|15:35 – 15:50||FIA Press Conference (Top 3 drivers)|
|15:50 – 16:10||Media Pen|
2023 SÃO PAULO E-PRIX ENTRIES
2023 ABB FIA FORMULA E WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATIONS
The classification of the 2023 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is available on the following link.
Source : Fia