Round 8 of the 2017/18 ABB FIA Formula E Championship will be held in France for the Paris ePrix.
First held in 2016, the 14-turn circuit goes in a clockwise direction, features two parallel straights separated by a series of corners on either side and goes past recognisable buildings such as the Les Invalides Hotel and the Musée de L’Armée.
The race in the French capital couldn’t be held at a more appropriate location, given that the country has 12,000 charging points for electric vehicles – a third more than anywhere else in the world – as well as being the base for two of the sport’s teams: Renault e.Dams and DS Virgin.
Audi Sport’s Lucas Di Grassi won the inaugural event in 2016, whilst his nemesis Sébastien Buemi converted his pole position in victory last year for Renault e.Dams.
— ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) April 17, 2018
In team news, HWA are believed to be finalising their entry for Season 5, with the official announcement set to be made around the Berlin ePrix in Tempelhof.
As we reported last July, the Mercedes-affiliated company has been working hard with the Venturi outfit to understand how the electrical powertrains work, with the entry being made a year ahead of the planned factory effort in Season 6.
Several HWA engineers have been spotted in the paddock this season, and are expected to use a rebadged customer powertrain under the name of their partners ZF, to build up as much as experience as they can.
Although no one knows whether HWA will have any involvement in the sport once Mercedes join the grid, but it has been confirmed that their CEO Ulrich Fritz will be in the paddock this weekend to finalise the team’s entry next month.
Focusing on the current grid, and NIO’s reserve driver Ma Qing Hua will be given the chance to prove himself alongside Oliver Turvey in this weekend’s Paris ePrix.
The Chinese driver competed in Formula E for Team Aguri and Techeetah, recording a best finish of 11th in the 2016 London ePrix in Battersea Park.
“First of all, I am really happy and honoured to be back in the cockpit racing for NIO Formula E Team,” said the 30-year-old.
He added: “Thank you to NIO for this opportunity; I am really looking forward to racing again, against some of top drivers in the world. I will do my best to achieve the best result I can and I will see you in Paris.”
— NIO (@NIOGlobal) April 17, 2018
Since his last appearance in the all-electric series, Qing Hua’s racing has come in the form of a handful of wildcard appearances in touring cars.
He’ll be replacing Luca Filippi, who has only scored one point this season, and has struggled compared to Turvey’s 32.
At this stage, it is unknown whether this change will be applied for the reminder of the season.
In the Drivers’ Championship, Jean-Éric Vergne continues to the lead the way for Techeetah on 119 points and will be hoping for a strong result in his home race.
However, Sam Bird (DS Virgin) has reduced the deficit to 18 points thanks to his second win of the season last time out in Rome.
— sam bird (@sambirdracing) April 15, 2018
Another DNF for Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra) sees the Swede drop to third in the standings on 80 points.
Techeetah are still at the top of the Constructors’ table on 152 points, with DS Virgin (118) and Mahindra (103) slowly starting to fade away.
Audi Sport Abt’s 89 points just about keep them in fourth, ahead of the Panasonic Jaguar Racing on 88, whilst defending champions Renault e.Dams are in a lonely sixth on 67.
As always, the free practice sessions will be broadcast live on the official ABB FIA Formula E Channel, with Practice 1 and 2 starting at 6:55am and 9:25am respectively.
The Qualifying coverage starts at 10:45am on 5Spike, with the race coverage kicking off at 2:30pm ahead of the scheduled race start at 3pm.
If you are unable to watch the action unfold live, Channel 5 will be showing the highlights on Sunday morning at 11:40am.*
*Times are GMT and are subject to change