Last Saturday, Sam Bird won the inaugural Rome ePrix after a very eventful and competitive race. Lucas Di Grassi of Audi and Andre Lotterer of Techeetah joined him on the podium after a fantastic battle towards the end of the race. Today, we have a look at five things that we learnt from Saturday’s Rome ePrix.
Formula E are fantastic at creating racetracks
Formula E races at temporary street circuits at some of the biggest cities in the world and so far, they have done a brilliant job at creating such racetracks. They justified their reputation last week by creating a stunning racetrack at the heart of Rome’s financial district. The 21 turn Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR featured plenty of overtaking opportunities as well as elevation changes and these things contributed to make the race one to remember. Apart from that, the location was brilliant, with the elegant buildings and the lush green parks surrounding the track adding up to create a truly aesthetic racetrack.
Cheers Formula E, we love it! Keep it going.
Sam Bird is still in the championship fight
In the first few seasons of Formula E, Sam Bird showed signs of being a top racing driver but his great performances were somewhat sporadic; although he used to win races, he never really was well and truly in the fight for the World Championship till the very end. This year, the Englishman seems to have worked on his achilles heel, his consistency and now, with five rounds left in the World Championship, Sam Bird finds himself in a strong position to win the championship. Bird sits in second place, 18 points behind championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne, but as we have seen over the years, it isn’t over till its over in Formula E!
techeetah and their remarkable consistency
Techeetah debuted in Season 3 and they made swift and steady progress, winning their first race towards the end of the season. This year, they have come back even stronger and consistent, winning races and grabbing as many points as they can. In order to be a championship winning team, you must grab as many points as you possibly can and the Chinese outfit is doing exactly that, with their drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer being very consistent.
In Rome, a track that didn’t seem to suit the Techeetahs that much, Lotterer and Vergne finished third and fifth respectively, bringing in a total of 25 points. That may not be a big number but even when the team isn’t at their most comfortable racetrack, getting these many points is a commendable job. It will be interesting to see how Techeetah fare in the next few races, where not many of the tracks have long straights that they prefer.
what Holds Jaguar back?
Jaguar have significantly improved on their performance from last season, grabbing as many points they did last season in two races this year. They have been at the sharp end for most of the races, battling it out with the Championship contenders. Mitch Evans and Nelson Piquet have been a dangerous combination for their opponents and the Jaguars have become a regular sight in the podium battle. There is still a lot of work to be done though as small errors are costing the team big points.
The latest instance was in Rome when Nelson Piquet Jr had to retire from a strong position because there was an issue with his pitstop and Mitch Evans was fighting hard for a second place finish when he ran out of power and had to cruise home to a disappointing 9th place finish. All we can learn from this is that Jaguar have made leaps in terms of performance but there are still a lot of things that they need to work on. Jaguar are so close to success, yet so far away from it. Looking at the way things are going, I feel that it won’t be long until they will be regularly fighting for race wins.
Rome more bitter than sweet for mahindra
Throughout the Rome ePrix race weekend, Mahindra Racing celebrated their partnership with Pininfarina and after qualifying, in which Felix Rosenqvist took pole, everything seemed to be going well for Mahindra, a team stronger at European races.
Then the race arrived and at the halfway mark, when the field pitted to swap cars, Rosenqvist had a comfortable 3 second lead over Sam Bird and that was when it all went wrong, Rosenqvist brushed the wall at the exit of the bus stop chicane and broke his suspension, forcing him to retire from the race. At the bottom end of the field, Nick Heidfeld was involved in a bizarre accident down at the hairpin with multiple cars involved and that meant that even Heidfeld wouldn’t get any points for Mahindra.
The only thing hampering Mahindra are tiny errors, sometimes from the drivers’ side and sometimes technical. Rosenqvist has consistently shown that he is capable of big things but such tiny errors prevent him from getting to the top. Felix is an amazing driver when he fights up the order but he has a scope for improvement when it comes to leading races. As for Heidfeld, an extremely skilled and experienced driver, things seem to be going downward spiral but with a team of such a high caliber, I’m sure that Mahindra Racing will bounce back from a rather disappointing Rome ePrix.
What are your predictions for the paris eprix? Let me know in the comments!
Media Credits: ABB FIA Formula E