Formula E Santiago E-Prix


No passing through my dirty air please
So just three weeks on from Formula E’s ride on the Marrakesh express it takes a tour for the first time around the streets of Santiago. Like most places in Chile the city sits significantly above sea level and I have no idea how this will affect the running of electric cars. The population of city is just under 8 million and, with Chile having no history of hosting motorsport events, it will be interesting to see what kind of crowd turn out the race will get. This will be the 4th round in this years Formula E season and with only 12 races it is a third of the way through . That is good news for Felix Rosenqvist who comes to this race after back to back wins and leading the championship. Rosenqvists performance in Hong Kong wasn’t as impressive as it should be but last time out in Marrakesh he passed both his main championship rivals, Buemi and Bird, for the win. If Felix gets another win here as well its pretty much a finger on the championship trophy.

Second in the championship is Sam Bird who was extremely upset at only being third in Morocco but to be honest I saw this as a step in the right direction for him. DS Virgin had not been expected to perform well so grabbing a podium was a good result. Birds flaw has always been his consistency. On a good day he has always been exceptional but there have been too many times where on bad days he’s not even made the top ten. A 3rd place at a track where the car was not expected to go well is a good result. Bird really has the best chance he has ever had at getting this title.

Sebastian Buemi is a man who will be relieved after last race despite losing the win. His performance showed that Hong Kong was just a blip and that the Renault Car is still a front runner. It in no way has the advantage it did last year but in Buemi’s hands (has anyone seen Nico Prost lately?) its certainly a race winner. He is behind in the title race so a good result in Santiago is a must to pull himself back in contention. I have no doubts he will be there or there about by the end of the season. It some ways it could be an advantage for Buemi to be behind as it eases the pressure he has sometimes succumb to over the years.

What on earth is there to be said about Audi? They come in all guns blazing as a full works team and there title hopefully Lucas Di Grassi sits on zero points after 3 rounds. Pre-season the car was tipped as being completely dominant with Di Grassi set to run away with it. Hopes of even the team title seem to be fading that’ll own the drivers. To be fair its not that the car hasn’t shown pace, it does look fast, its just that they keep getting themselves into tactical tangles. Its hard to judge Di Grassi’s performance as a driver so far but his number 2 Danny Abt has seemed a lot closer to him. Maybe Di Grassi has lost motivation after getting the title last year. It goes without saying that anything but a Di Grassi win this weekend makes a title defence virtually impossible.

Thought I would take a moment to mention the Jags as they have been further forward than I expected and have impressed me. Piquet had a late charge to 4th in Marrakesh and was only seconds away from a podium. Mitch Evans would have been right there with him as well if not for the full course yellow after his pitstop. Jaguar seem to be steadily gathering pace, It kind of reminds me of NexTV in year 1. They weren’t the top car to start with but Piquet kept getting good consistent results to keep him in touch with the championship. Then as the car got better he came to the front and took the title. I’m not going to predict that for Jag and Piquet this year but it something worth thinking about.

As for the rest? Well, as just the first 3 races have shown, away from your stand out 5 anyone having a good day can suddenly be in the running for a win or a podium. Lopez jumped into a Dragon car which had looked next to useless at short notice and put it in Super Pole and kept pace with the front runners. Motara lead most of the race in a Venturi in Hong Kong. Basically its hard to predict who is going to turn up and smash it this weekend but you can expect someone to spring a surprise. I wouldn’t expect that surprise to be Andre Lotterer though as the multi times Le Mans winner seems to be massively out of his element in Formula E for no reason I can fathom!

UK TV coverage wise the Qualifying and Race are live on Spike this weekend. 14:45 start for Quali and 18:30 start for the race. A ‘as live’ version will run on Channel 5 but no word on the time schedule. Race and qualifying will also be shown on Eurosport and as per normal the race will be streamed live across the world on the Formula E website.
For me race of the season so far as the brilliant final 7 laps. Its good job they got 1-2 Because Lotterer & vergne were going to be very popular with the techeetah management after when he interlocked & nearly forced both in to barriers bet there was 5 simultaneous heart attacks.
Bit of a slow burner but what a great race it ended up, thoroughly enjoyed it. I have to say though, if this was an attemptt by the city fathers of Santiago to encourage more visitors running the race up the side of river, or open sewer, that runs through the city wasn't the best idea.
Awesome race. Shows what I know. I said Lotterer Wouldn't be anywhere near the front and I didn't even mention Vergne who now leads the championship!

Audi's nightmare continues.
Oh yeah di grassi, in a front running team has there ever been a worst title defence. & im going mental, imagining things. But i was certain lotterer raced in formula e last season. But j can't find anything
No Lotterer made his debut in Hong Kong and had only driven the car once when he did. He is a top class driver and at beginning of the season I said he and Vergne were best pairing on the grid but then he had been so shockingly bad I thought he'd be out the series by the time we got to Europe.

Good turn round although he did crash out of super pole and mount his team mates car and basically dry hump him down the straight!

I still can't figure out how Rosenqvist got so high up!

Formula E really does give you the exciting close racing you're after and anyone on the grid can suddenly pop up and be a podium contender depending on the weekend. Just a shame no one watches it.
.... Just a shame no one watches it.

I presume that includes the commentary team? They couldn't understand how Sam Bird had lost so many places between the first part and the second. Could it have been because he went a lap too far and finished up doing a lot of coasting? They even mentioned it at the time.
He also hit the wall on his in lap as well. Yes the commentary boys get a tad confused sometime. My personal highlight this weekend was Jay Penskie cutting off Dario because it was about to go green and JEV's engineers talking over the top of them on the victory lap because JEV was too busy talking to them rather than paying attention to his warm down lap.
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