Round four of the Formula E season brings us to Santiago, Chile on February 3, 2018. The Formula E Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix brings motorsport back to Chile for the first time since 1950. After Formula E digitally unveiled their season five car, its nice to bring focus back to the season underway.
Formula E – Santiago E-Prix Preview
Located in the city center of Santiago, the city circuit is 2.46km (1.53 miles) in length. The circuit has twelve turns crossing the River Mapocho, alongside the backdrop of Santa Lucia Hill and Cerro San Cristobol. The circuit itself looks to have plenty of overtaking opportunities which will make for some great battles. Drivers will lineup on the grid along Avenue Santa Maria and navigate around Parque Forestal. The race will be over 37 laps, bringing the total distance covered to 91.1km (56.61 miles).
Early Championship Leaders
In addition to the excitement of the first Santiago E-Prix, the drivers and teams will try to improve their standing in the championship. Felix Rosenqvist and Nick Heidfeld of Mahindra Racing will be looking for a strong showing. Rosenqvist leads in the drivers’ championship, in addition to Mahindra Racing leading in the constructors’ championship. If both Mahindra drivers qualify in decent positions and finish well, they can maintain that lead. Rosenqvist will be looking to get his third win a row, while Heidfeld will be looking to improve his luck.
Sam Bird of DS Virgin Racing is second in the drivers’ championship and has looked strong throughout the year. Bird looked fantastic when he won the opening round in Hong Kong, followed up with two top five finishes. Bird fought back from a ten-place grid penalty in round two at Hong Kong to finish P5. The Briton has scored the bulk of the 50 championship points for DS Virgin Racing. He is leading his teammate Alex Lynn by 8 points.
Jean-Eric Vergne of Techeetah is third overall. Vergne has looked competitive all year. Qualifying hasn’t been an issue for Vergne, he just needs to put it all together in the race for a chance to win. With Techeetah sitting third in the constructors’ championship, Vergne will need a win to close the gap to DS Virgin Racing and Mahindra. His teammate Andre’ Lotterer is struggling to come to grips with the car thus far, consequently scoring 0 points.
Other Championship Contenders
Nelson Piquet Jr. of Panasonic Jaguar Racing (Jaguar), sits fourth in the drivers’ championship and has pace in that car. Piquet is the first champion of Formula E (2014-2015) and he knows how to drive these cars. The Brazilian’s teammate, Mitch Evans has put in some decent performances as well. The Australian has 15 points so far in the drivers’ championship and is only 10 points behind Piquet Jr. Overall Jaguar will be looking to move up the grid in Chile. They had the fastest times during testing, so they just have to put a setup together and get to the top.
Edoardo Mortara of Venturi Racing maybe a rookie, but his experience with racing street circuits makes him a serious contender. Mortara lead the majority of round two in Hong Kong, and scored no points in Marrakesh to stand fifth in the drivers’ championship. Mortara will be on a mission to get results.
Sebastien Buemi, the season two champion with Renault e.dams, will be looking to improve upon his Marrakesh performance. Buemi gained 21 points after only getting 1 point through the first two rounds in Hong Kong. That result must have relieved some pressure for Renault, but the Formula E season is only just beginning and they need to improve.
Lucas di Grassi, the defending Season 3 champion is having an even worse season thus far. Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler must be worried that their defending champion has not scored any points so far. The Brazilian’s car has some reliability issues with their powertain, so Audi will be looking to solve them. He will need a win in Chile to even have a chance to defend his title. Daniel Abt, Audi’s second driver, has a total of 12 points. Abt crossed the line first in round two at Hong Kong, but was later disqualified.
In addition to the race, there is still a full days worth of events. Here is a list of events and times in local time:
8:00 Practice 1
10:30 Practice 2
12:45 Super-Pole Shootout 5:05 Podium Ceremony
1:45 E-Race (Fans vs Formula E Drivers in iRacing Simulators)
3:00 Driver Parade Lap
4:00 2018 ABB FIA Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix
5:05 Podium Ceremony
Broadcast times and channels to view the Santiago E-Prix can be found here: http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/championship/tv-schedule/
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