Round 7 of the 2017/18 ABB FIA Formula E Championship will be taking place in the streets of Rome for the first ever Rome ePrix.
The 33-lap race in the Italian capital will consist of a 21-turn, anti-clockwise track, made of chicanes and short straights, with scenic elements in between.
Ahead of Saturday’s inaugural event in the Eternal City, the drivers met Pope Francis at the Vatican to promote the sport.
— Audi Formula E (@audiformulae) April 11, 2018
NIO’s Luca Filippi has struggled this season with just the solitary point from Race 1 in Hong Kong, but will be the sole Italian representative on the grid.
Speaking to Motorsport.com, Filippi talked about how unique the circuit is and how challenging it’ll be to master:
“It’s very interesting because there is a big elevation change from the top part, which is where the start and hairpin is going to be.”
“Then the bottom part, where the park is, it definitely goes downhill and goes under a tunnel and then it goes up the hill [again].”
Audi Sport’s defending champion Lucas Di Grassi also discussed the track layout, but doesn’t believe the circuit’s nature will have a major effect on his driving style:
“The elevation changes have very little energy effect – it’s almost zero to none in a Formula E race.”
“But in a specific braking, for example if the braking is very downhill, you can lift a bit earlier and use the downhill to keep the speed of the car a little bit. But it is very small.”
👀 Your first look at the Circuto Cittadino Dell’EUR, ahead of next weekends 2018 CBMM Niobium #RomeEPrix presented by Mercedes EQ!
— ABB Formula E (@FIAFormulaE) April 8, 2018
Meanwhile, Andretti driver Tom Blomqvist has been testing BMW’s Gen 2 car during a shakedown session in Maisach, near Munich, Germany.
The BMW iFE.18 is the first fully electric car in the manufacturer’s history, and their co-director of motorsport Jens Marquardt discussed their excitement behind the project:
“The BMW iFE.18 is a milestone for our company. After months of excellent collaboration between the engineers from production and racing development, we can all now see the result in action.”
“This Formula E project has seen the most remarkable technology transfer between production and motorsport in the history of BMW. Everyone involved has breathed life into the ‘Techlab for BMW i’ motto from the word go.”
I can hardly wait to see the car racing for the first time in the BMW i motorsport colours when Season 5 gets going.”
The BMW iFE.18 will be featuring at the official Formula E test next week, which will be taking place In Calafat, Spain from Tuesday 17th – Thursday 19th April.
— BMW Motorsport (@BMWMotorsport) April 10, 2018
In other news, Formula E have confirmed the entry list for the 2019/20 season, with Mercedes-Benz and Porsche set to join the grid.
They’ll be joining the established group of manufacturers with a total of 11 teams ready to line up.
Here is the official confirmation of the full entry list:
- Audi Sport
- BMW AG
- DS Automobiles
- Jaguar Land Rover
- Mahindra Racing
- Mercedes Benz AG
- NextEV NIO
- Penske Autosport
- Porsche AG
- Venturi Automobiles
Moving back onto the current campaign, and former Formula One champion Nico Rosberg will be demonstrating the Gen 2 Formula E car at the Berlin ePrix in Tempelhof later this season.
The German was spotted at the season opener at Hong Kong back in December and was linked with a return to racing in the all-electric series, although these claims were later dismissed.
However, Rosberg has continued to show an interest in the sport, and is looking forward to the experience:
“I’m really excited to get behind the wheel of the Gen 2 car. It will be great to experience this high-performance e-mobility car and let’s see if I still have it in me!”
“It makes it even more special that I’m able to do this at the Berlin ePrix, as I’ve always loved racing in my home country, Germany.”
— Nico Rosberg (@nico_rosberg) April 10, 2018
At the halfway stage of the championship season, Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne will lead the way in Rome on 109 points, having won two of the last three rounds in Santiago and Punta del Este respectively.
The only other double winner so far is Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra) in second place on 79 points. Rosenqvist has lost ground to the Frenchman having suffered electrical issues in Mexico City after starting the race from pole.
In third position is Sam Bird (DS Virgin), who won the first race in Hong Kong and has been fairly consistent, having finished every race in the top five bar Mexico, in which he struggled to keep up and was the last of the classified finishers in 17th.
You can watch Saturday’s action live on 5Spike, with Qualifying coverage kicking off at 10:45am and the race coverage available from 2:30pm, ahead of the race start at 3pm.*
*Times stated at GMT; Schedule is subject to change