Formula E races on the new Puebla circuit this weekend after an excellent Monaco ePrix
After a few weeks of hiatus, Formula E is back with a double program in Mexico. This time we went from Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez de Mexico to Puebla and Autodromo Miguel E. Abed nearby.
The race comes after an excellent Monaco ePrix, the first time Formula E has raced the entire historic Monaco circuit and one of the best races ever produced by the track.
We also have some Formula E news to recap, including Mercedes working on its Gen 3 car, Monaco possibly becoming an annual race, and Formula E’s plans to introduce a junior championship.
But first, we’ll start with a recap of the excellent Monaco ePrix 2021.
Review of the Monaco ePrix 2021 race
Monaco produced a race for the ages this time around. While the entire Monegasque track is historic and glamorous, it is generally not known for producing the most exciting races.
In fact, in the Formula 1 race just a few weeks ago (after the Formula E race) there was hardly any passing on the track for the entire 98 minute race. The track is narrow and the speed relatively low, and there just aren’t many spots that offer good overtaking opportunities.
However, due to the smaller Formula E cars, less dependence on aerodynamic grip, and the narrower performance disparity, Formula E did not, which had a lot of action. throughout the peloton throughout the race. Unfortunately, Formula E no longer posts full shows of the races on YouTube, but here are the highlights:
We started the weekend with qualifying, where Antonio Felix da Costa took pole with a time about 20 seconds slower than Formula 1 on the same track. About a second of this difference could be attributed to a change in the chicane coming out of the tunnel, which was slower than the F1 version of the chicane, and a few more seconds can be attributed to the Formula E tires, which are all-weather tires. tread rather than F1 racing slicks.
When the race came, we had immediate action. The hairpin crashed on lap one, with the cars going three wide in one of the race’s tightest corners. Unfortunately, this sent Alex Sims out of the race, but the action didn’t stop for long thanks to Monaco’s excellent race marshals who quickly cleared the wreckage.
Barely five minutes after the start of the race we had a header pass, with Robin Frijns in front of da Costa. It’s rare to see a pass to the head in Monaco, and it was only the first in a long series to come to the Monaco ePrix.
Passes even occurred in parts of the track where no one would expect. In F1, getting out of the tunnel is about the only real opportunity to overtake. But Formula E saw it pass out of the tunnel, and down the straight ahead, and through the pool baffles, even going all the way up to the casino. Almost every corner and straight line has seen some sort of action.
With 15 minutes remaining, René Rast hit the wall, forcing a safety car and bringing the peloton together. It gave us the perfect conditions for an exciting finish, with cars battling for victory. There was an incredible fight at the front of the field between da Costa, Frijns and Mitch Evans, with Evans hard defending the lead in the final laps. But in the end, da Costa managed to pass with only a U-turn to go, winning the race. Evans fell to third place behind Frijns, who passed him on the home stretch.
In the end, the podium was da Costa, Frijns and Evans, in the same order they qualified. Looking at the race results, most of the drivers finished close to where they qualified. It might feel like another boring Monegasque procession, but the race was anything but.
In the end there was some chaos in the race – the first hairpin crash, the safety car – but less than we expected from Formula E. It was mostly an excellent, close race from the start to finish. We can’t wait to come back to Monaco and see another race like this. And we might not have to wait that long next time …
Formula E News
Until now, the Monaco ePrix has been a biennial event, taking place two weeks before the Monaco F1 Grand Prix and alternating with the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, an event passionate about classic racing cars. But due to COVID, none of these happened last year, and all three happened this year. Now that Monaco has managed to host all three in the same year, The race hypothesized that the Monaco ePrix could become an annual event. This is far from the case, but there is a compelling case here – and the Prince of Monaco is a big fan of electric cars anyway.
We might also see more support races at future Formula E events as Formula E would work on developing its own electric single-seater junior championship ladder.
There have been other support races in the past for Formula E, most recently the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, which ran for a season and a half before falling back during COVID.
The new ladder would be fully electric from the bottom up, starting with a youth karting championship. This is more of a long-term vision, but it seems like a great way to get people interested in electric racing early on and continue to change the perception of (somewhat undeserved) Formula E as that’s where Formula 1 drivers go after leaving the top series.
Finally, while Mercedes has yet to commit to abiding by the upcoming ‘Gen 3’ Formula E rules, which will begin for the 2022-2023 season, the company recently announced that it has started exploring the development of Formula E. ‘a Gen 3 powertrain. While that’s not a commitment, it shows that Mercedes is at least interested. Audi and BMW have both said they will retire from the championship at the end of this season, but most of the other teams have already reiterated their long-term commitment to the series.
Puebla ePrix 2021 race preview
This weekend we are going back to Mexico, but with a change of scenery. Formula E used to run in Mexico City itself, but now we are heading to a new track in Puebla.
The championship, as usual, is pretty tight. By the end of this weekend, we think there’s a good chance that one of the top 7 drivers will end up at the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings, and Jaguar, DS Techeetah and Mercedes are all in. a margin for the head of the team championship.
The Puebla track is interesting because it is a combined oval / infield circuit with large, slightly inclined outer corners. Formula E will use a hybrid layout which consists mainly of the indoor track but visits the oval for the start / finish straight and one of the two inclined corners.
It will be the first time that Formula E will visit an oval track and one of the few true Formula E racing circuits to have raced. Most Formula E races take place on city circuits in the city center, which is one of the founding ideas of the championship. But this year we saw a real racing circuit in Valencia, the full historic Monaco circuit, and now even a partial oval circuit, alongside our standard procession of street tracks. Lots of variety in Formula E these days.
The long straight and inclined turn will present some interesting energy challenges for the teams, as high speed tracks result in much higher energy consumption. We saw it in Valence where, between a new track, the rain, and an unfortunately timed safety car forcing to recalculate the available energy, several teams finished the race with zero usable energy and were therefore disqualified.
We expect the teams to be more careful this time around, and the first half of the race will be rather careful as they will all determine how much energy they have left for the finish. There may be a reluctance to lead the race, as is usually seen on oval tracks, as the head consumes much more power than the next while the lead car hits through the air, and the cars following may benefit from a draw in their wake.
The Puebla track also has a different type of attack mode activation zone. Attack mode is a temporary increase in power that cars can use a limited number of times per race, but to activate it they must pass through an activation zone that is outside the race line on a turn. specific. Sometimes this leads to difficulties where a car will miss the sensors built into the track and will not be able to activate their boost, thus wasting time for no reason.
In Puebla, the activation zone is a completely different turn – as can be seen in the graphic above under “T8”. Many have likened this to the concept of a “wild ride” in rallycross races, where each driver can take a shortcut on a particular part of the track once per race. Here it’s a shortcut rather than a shortcut, but the same general idea applies: Each driver will have to circle the wild card twice during the race, which should mix things up well and keep the race exciting. It will also help solve the problem of sensors sometimes not working as there is no doubt that someone has missed the turn or not.
We therefore look forward to the Puebla ePrix. Not that Formula E needs any help to be exciting, but this track seems to have a lot of variety between long, high-speed sections and flowing twisty tracks.
So if you haven’t started signing in yet, now is a good time. You already missed the best race in Monaco, so don’t make that mistake again.
There will be two races this weekend, each starting at the same time on Saturday and Sunday. Races start at 2:00 p.m. PDT / 5:00 p.m. EDT, 9:00 p.m. UTC and 4:00 p.m. Puebla local time. The races will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network in the United States, or if you are elsewhere, head over to the Formula E website for how to watch the race in your country. Unfortunately, Formula E will no longer upload the races to their YouTube channel, although you should be able to find the highlights there sometime after the race.
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