A new circuit in a new city awaits for the opening round of the third FIA Formula E Championship this Sunday as the series races on the streets of Hong Kong for the first time.


The Circuit

Hong Kong Formula E Circuit

 

2016-17 FIA Formula E Championship – Hong Kong ePrix
Date 09 October 2017 Lap Length 1.860km
Free Practice Session 1 Sun 08:00-08:45 Free Practice Session 2 Sun 10:30-11:00
Qualifying Group 1 Sat 12:00-12:06 Qualifying Group 2 Sat 12:10-12:16
Qualifying Group 3 Sat 12:20-12:26 Qualifying Group 4 Sat 12:30-12:36
Super Pole Sat 12:45-13:00 Race (45 laps) Sat 16:00-16:50

Session times quoted in Hong Kong Time (GMT +08:00)

The Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit is short at only 1.860 kilometres long, yet still manages to contain 10 corners. Turn 1 is a 180-degree hairpin and will likely provide a passing opportunity straight away, leading on to the longest straight in the circuit. Turn 2 – a 90 degree right hander – will give any drivers who lost track position at Turn 1 an opportunity to regain their position, especially if FanBoost is used down the preceding straight.

The Turn 3-4 chicane complex follows and starts the most technical portion of the circuit as a kick to the left followed immediately by a turn back to the right, leading into a short straight before Turn 5. This corner follows a roundabout to the right, exiting at ninety degrees to the entry, and a run to the second right-hand hairpin on circuit. The field will then return to the previously unused section to the Turn 5 roundabout to create a ninety degree double-apex left-hander feeding into another left-hand turn that is also likely to provide a passing opportunity. This is followed by a second, tighter roundabout complex marking Turn 9 – in this case, the pit entry it also at this corner. The final corner is the most open on the track, a sweeping ninety-degree left-hander leading back on to the start/finish straight.

Twenty Formula E cars around such a short circuit will most likely see drivers in traffic throughout the ePrix, a fact that could play into the strategy plans for the race.

The first 45-minute practice session of the Hong Kong ePrix begins at 8:00am local time (UTC+8:00) on Sunday, ahead of Practice 2 at 10:30am. The first of four qualifying groups head on to circuit at 12:00pm, before the return of SuperPole at 12:45pm. The 45-lap Hong Kong ePrix race will go green at 4:00pm to launch the third FIA Formula E season.


The Form Guide

Two new teams have joined the field from how season two concluded earlier this year: Jaguar have filled the two grid spots vacated by Trulli Formula E, with the cars for the manufacturer’s return to motorsport being driven by debutants Mitch Evans and Adam Carroll.

Similarly the sale of Team Aguri heralds the arrival of Techeetah, who will run Jean-Éric Vergne and Ma Qing Hua using customer Renault powertrains.

Formula E may have only completed two seasons, but already two notable inter-team and inter-driver rivalries have formed. ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport’s lead driver Lucas di Grassi and reigning series champion Sébastien Buemi of Renault e.Dams have battled to the wire for the past two championships, even colliding in the final race of season two. Both of these teams have remained unchanged for season three – Daniel Abt remains alongside di Grassi and Nicolas Prost again partners Buemi – so it it likely this rivalry will continue into Hong Kong and beyond.

Pre-season testing at Donington Park suggests that the cars running Renault powertrains – the factory Renault e.Dams team and Techeetah’s customer cars currently have the performance edge over the field, so expect to see Buemi, Prost, Vergne and Ma (who was fastest in Saturday’s shakedown test) at the front in Hong Kong. Likely to be leading the chasing pack are the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team and the DS Virgin Racing cars of Sam Bird and three-time World Touring Car Championship winner José María López.


2017 Formula E Hong Kong ePrix – Entry List
# Driver Team / Entry Manufacturer / Powertrain
2. Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team Citroën Virgin DSV-02
3. Nelson Piquet Jr NextEV NIO NEXTEV TCR Formula 002
4. Stéphane Sarrazin Venturi Formula E Team Venturi VM200-FE-02
5. Maro Engel Venturi Formula E Team Venturi VM200-FE-02
6. Loïc Duval Faraday Future Dragon Racing Penske 701-EV
7. Jérôme d’Ambrosio Faraday Future Dragon Racing Penske 701-EV
8. Nicolas Prost Renault e.DAMS Renault ZE 1.6
9. Sébastien Buemi Renault e.DAMS Renault ZE 1.6
11. Lucas di Grassi ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler FE02
19. Feliz Rosenqvist Mahindra Racing Formula E Team Mahindra M3ELECTRO
20. Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing Jaguar I-Type 1
23. Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing Formula E Team Mahindra M3ELECTRO
25. Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah Renault ZE 1.6
27. Robin Frijns MS Amlin Andretti ATEC-02
28. Antonio Felix da Costa MS Amlin Andretti ATEC-02
33. Ma Qing Hua Techeetah Renault ZE 1.6
37. José María López DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team Citroën Virgin DSV-02
47. Adam Carroll Panasonic Jaguar Racing Jaguar I-Type 1
66. Daniel Abt ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler FE02
88. Oliver Turvey NextEV NIO NEXTEV TCR Formula 002

Images via FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Professional motorsport engineer and all-round tech head.
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