Formula E Beijing ePrix Race Discussion

Scores out of 10 for the 1st ePrix

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Welcome to the 1st of 10 discussion threads for the 2014/15 e-Prix season.

Normally this introductory post would talk about the history of the circuits, famous battles from previous years and of course what we expect to happen in the upcoming race. As this is a completely new series of Motorsport, mainly set in circuits that have never been seen before we don't have any previous history to go on. This won't stop me introducing you to the event plus a quick run down of the teams and drivers as well as a quick look at the circuit itself.

The basic format will be 2 practise sessions, followed by a 30 minute qualifying session and a 45 minute race. 2 cars are allowed per driver and a pit stop is mandatory to change cars at somepoint during the race.
Full rules and regulations can be found here:

Teams and Drivers are as follows:

Amlin Aguri
Katherine Legge
Antonio Felix Da Costa.

Remember Super Aguri? Amlin Aguri are in a technical partnership with them and are our 1st team on the grid.
Katherine Legge has been in Indy car, champ car and a few years in DTM where she was soundly beaten by Williams Susie Wolff in the battles at the back of the field.
Antonio Felix Da Costa was at one time predicted to be the next big thing to come into F1 as it happens he is the Red Bull test driver and DTM racer.

Andretti Formula E
Franck Montagny

Run by Micheal Andretti the team is a side project of the Indycar team which should mean valuable race experience which will be vital in the early part of the season.
Franck Montagny. One of the many journeymen racers to make up the Formula E grid. His only F1 experience was 7 races with Super Aguri in 2006. He only finished 3 of those races, highest placed 16th
Second driver TBC. They better get a move on!

Audi Sport Abt
Lucas Di Grassi
Daniel Abt

One of the few teams on the grid with a full racing pedigree. Expect big things from the 5 times DTM champions.
Lucas Di Grassi. Raced for Virgin F1 (Now Marussia) in their opening season. Very experienced in Hybrid racing.
Daniel Abt. Yes I know what you're thinking, he's only in because his dad owns the company. Well you're right. He is currently racing in GP2.

China Racing
Nelson Piquet Jr
Ho-Pin Tung

On home turf for the Formula-e opener. This team should be well funded and has a rich motorsport background.
Nelson Piquet Jr. No need to talk about his F1 experience....
Ho-Pin Tung. Little known about him. One time Renault test driver and finished 28th in GP2 in 2010

Dragon Racing
Jerome d'Ambrosio
Oriol Servia

Another US based team run by the son of Roger Penske. This team will be well funded and although they also run an Indycar team they are one of the least experienced race teams on the grid.
Jerome d'Ambrosio. Replaced Di Grassi at Marussia and performed significantly better.
Oriol Servia. Another Indy & Champ car journeyman, little known about him this side of the pond.

e.dams Renault
Nicolas Prost
Sebastien Buemi

No it's not a cheese based French car but a joint venture between the current GP2 constructors leader and Alain Prost. They should know how to set a car up and with the Professor calling the shots they could be an early leader.
Nicolas Prost. Another team keeping it in the family, Experienced LMP1 racer.
Sebastien Buemi. The Moose is back! Popular driver on the F1 grid but sadly never made the cut in the fierce Red Bull program.

Mahindra Racing.
Karun Chandhok
Bruno Senna

Indian based team from India. One of the largest manufactures of electric vehicles mean they could be a team for the future.
Karun Chandhok. Well you can't have an Indian team from India without an Indian driver from India in it. Well known face in the commentary box in recent years but has he still got the racing instinct.
Bruno Senna. Nephew of the late great Aryton Senna but everyone knows that anyway but I'm sure we'll be reminded every time we see him on screen.

Jarno Trulii
Michela Cerruti

All aboard! The Trulli train is back. The team is definitely looking towards the future and seeing how the technology can become main stream. I'm not expecting them to be at the front but will be a key campaigner for the sport.
Jarno Trulli. Yes he is driving his own car! He is also one of the most experienced drivers on the grid and the only one to have actually won a F1 race.
Michela Cerruiti. The 2nd female driver on the grid. Currently 6th in the Auto GP championship.

Nick Heidfeld
Stephane Sarrazin

Holders of the current electric land speed record they know a thing or two about electric motors. Funded by Leonardo Di Caprio should mean the image of Formula e is widely promoted in the key markets.
Nick Heidfeld Holds the record for most podium place finishes in F1 without a win. Will he be able to break that curse here?
Stephane Sarrazin. Another experienced endurance racer. Had one outing in a Minardi in 1999 where surprisingly he didn't finish.

Virgin Racing
Jaime Alguersuari
Sam Bird

Branson is back. This time pushing the eco friendly racing. Little racing experience but a big budget.
Jaime Alguersuari. Another product of the Red Bull academy, expect to see him at the DJ booth at the end of the races.
Sam Bird. One of the many GP2 drivers who could never quite break into F1, maybe this is his chance to get noticed.

There's the teams and drivers. More details can be found on the formula e website.

The interactive circuit map can be found here:
Set in the 2008 Olympic park it is a combination of 90 degree turns and straights which should suit the Indycar drivers in the field. It features a unique 'U' shaped pitlane designed to give fans a close up view of the action.

ITV4 has 'Live' coverage at 8am Saturday 13th September. This will just be highlights of practise/qualifying plus the live race. I'm not sure if live coverage of the earlier sessions are being broadcast yet but will keep an eye out.
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I'm quite excited by this....sadly!!!

I am sure there are many, many, MANY ways that this series is flawed (changing cars just shows how crap the batteries are!) but I think new eco friendly racing formula'e are a way to attract more viewers and more viewers may then move to F1... Goodness knows Bernie is doing sweet FA to get young people to watch F1 (despite the massive PR potential of KERS and ERS and the battery power in F1 now). If the F1 viewers go so do the sponsors and so do the teams and so does the racing.....
something different and not over shadowed by the little grey one. It's a shame ITV have decided to stick it on ITV4 and not on the main channel after all who wouldn't want to watch a re-run of Murder She Wrote. I'm looking forward to it.
I wasn't that sure about it but I watched the preview show (available here for the UK) and I was impressed by the driver line up. Nice mix of former F1 racers and Indycar drivers. Interesting to see a few former Red Bull drivers getting another chance at racing and we'll be able to see them all compete on equal terms.

My early predictions will be Buemi, Heidfeld & Di Grassi on the 1st podium.
Fans can give their favourite driver an extra speed boost by voting for them prior to the race. The three drivers with the most votes will each receive a 5-second ‘power boost’ per car per driver, temporarily increasing their car’s power from 150kw to 180kw. Just click here to cast your vote. You can change your mind as many times as you want until voting closes a short time before the start of the race.

What a terrible idea!!! Are you sure Bernie isn't involved?

I'm voting for Trulli though.
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In reality a 5 second boost isn't really going to change the race but it does more by getting the audience involved and perhaps more importantly giving the organisers an accurate picture of viewers throughout the season and a whole raft of email addresses to send spam to. Luckily I have my main email account and a junk one for things like this.

What is really interesting is what Trulli is planning to do in future seasons with wireless charging.
The whole idea of the 'fan boost' is a ploy to force the teams to push there social media to get votes and then it promotes the sport. Yes its naf but its a clever ploy.

As for the battery life thing I honestly don't think they'll be changing cars for long as already the teams have managed to push the technology so only one car change is needed instead of the two they thought they would. I bet before the end of the season someone turns the power down to make a whole race distance.

What impressed me most at the Donnington test I went too was how closely the cars can follow each other without the aero. Should mean that we get some close battles.

My money is on Buemi and E-Dams on this one but I have a sneaky feeling Sam Bird will be in the mix.
I think they think its funny.

Joking aside DAMS are a massivly experienced team and should really hit the ground running.

They are in stylish Prost/Liger blue too with a trim of DAMS yellow.

I have to say the cars look beautiful once you get used to the wheel bits.
Oh and on Andretti's second driver it looks likely to be a toss up between Charles Pic and 20 year old Matt Brabham (grandson of Jack).

I'm hoping for the latter but Pic looks favourite to get the nod.
Brabham has been racing in Indy Lights and he's been good, but he definitely hasn't been great. Gabby Chaves, Jack Harvey and Zach Veach were all very good this year in Indy Lights, Chaves probably the best. Brabham was fourth, ahead of poor Luiz Razia.

Here's my team by team breakdown:

Amlin Aguri: Expecting this team to be about average. Not much else to say, except that I expect Felix da Costa to destroy Katherine Legge in the teammate battle, no disrespect to Legge. Also Leimer is replacing Felix da Costa in China. Not sure why.

Andretti Autosport: Expecting them to be pretty good. No pedigree in electric racing but that's not really needed now as everything is provided for them. I expect their pair of Frenchman to be capable behind the wheel, but I'm not expecting any great driver performances.

Audi Sport Abt: Team should be good being Audi Sport and all, but not sure about the drivers. In a one-make formula that could be key. Neither Abt nor di Grassi are highly rated.

China Racing: Ho-Pin Tung has been decent racing sportscars in the US. Not sure what to expect from this team though besides some antics from Piquet Jr.

Dragon Racing: Jay Penske's team actually left IndyCar after the 2013 season to focus on Formula E. They have experience but were never great in IndyCar partly due to a lack of resources. However they are in the battle with Virgin and Venturi for best drivers here. d'Ambrosio is obviously no slouch, but Oriol Servia might be better. While you Europeans may not know much about him he was one of the best in the business in the last years of Champ Car and overperformed in mediocre IndyCars for a while, finishing 4th in the Championship for a relatively small team. He also holds a mechanical engineering degree, which could come in handy.

e.Dams- I think they will definitely be quick, DAMS is a well-run racing team and Prost is a smart guy. Not sure how well Nicolas will do but Buemi has a lot of promise here.

Mahindra Racing- they are Indian and seem to already be relying on pay drivers. Not expecting much.

Trulli- Trulli will extremely outperform Cerruti. Like by a lot. I expect him to be midfield, her to be way in the back.

Venturi- They have the money, and they have good drivers, but no real race team experience. Expect growing pains.

Virgin- Bird and Alguersuari are also quality drivers, and they also have funding. Could be good, but could also struggle early.

Projections: Buemi wins the drivers title, Virgin the constructors title.
That's interesting about Servia, wasn't sure what to make of him based on his racing career as I've not really followed Indycar.

I have to disagree with you about Mahrindra. Obviously Chandhok was a shoe-in being an Indian team from India but we never saw him and Senna compete at the top level in equal machinery.

Formula e could be a chance for those former HRT guys to shake off the bad reputation. I could also be wrong and they could be floundering around at the back!
I'm not sure I've ever seen such a menagerie of pilots. This alone gives the potential for some interesting racing. Senna v Prost anyone?!?!?!

I will certainly be checking this out. Wondering who will be in the second Andretti seat?
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