Formula E is back for its first event of 2015 this Saturday, January 10 – the Buenos Aires ePrix in Argentina.
|2015 FIA Formula E Buenos Aires ePrix|
|Date||10 January 2015||Lap Length||2.407km|
|Free Practice Session 1||Sat 08:15-09:00||Free Practice Session 2||Sat 10:30-11:00|
|Qualifying Group 1||Sat 12:00-12:10||Qualifying Group 2||Sat 12:15-12:25|
|Qualifying Group 3||Sat 12:30-12:40||Qualifying Group 4||Sat 12:45-12:55|
|FanBoost Winner||Sat 15:50||Race||Sat 16:00-17:00|
* Session times are quoted in Argentina Time (UTC -03:00 hrs)
Located on the streets of Buenos Aires’ Puerto Madero district, the 12 turn, 2.407km circuit interestingly features a separate start and finish lines. The race will start in the ‘traditional’ location of the front straight running into Turn 1, but the finish is located on the straight between Turns 9 and 10 (near to the pit lane, which leaves the circuit at Turn 8 and rejoins at Turn 11).
From the start line, a the lap begins with a 180° left-hand hairpin, straight into the 90° turn two. This complex is likely to be the scene of battles during the ePrix, as a driver passed into turn one looks for a switch-back manoeuvre through two. A high speed left hand sweeper follows, before more potential passing locations at turn four, the turn five hairpin, turn six and turn seven. Turns eight and nine form a tight right-left chicane, before a short straight (across the finish line) to the left hand turn ten. A more open chicane – turns eleven and twelve – brings the cars back on to the front straight to complete the lap.
The circuit is a layout that Bruno Senna feels will be entertaining: “Looking at the track, you have to say it’s got a good combination of corners. There’s a chicane, some high-speed turns with a change of direction and slow-speed as well. It’s impossible to tell from the map about undulation, but I think that it could make for an interesting race and it will be fun to drive.”
There have been two changes to the field since the Uruguayan event, with Ho-Pin Tung returning to the # 88 China Racing car in place of Antonio García, who substituted for him last time out at Punta del Este.
IndyCar racer Marco Andretti will also make his Formula E debut in Andretti Autosport’s # 28 car. Andretti replaces fellow third-generation racer Matthew Brabham, who drove for the team at Putrajaya and Punta del Este. Andretti will partner former Toro Rosso F1 driver Jean-Éric Vergne, who stood in at Uruguay for Franck Montagny in what was ultimately revealed being due to the Frenchman being suspended for a positive drugs test.
Having not participated in the pre-season testing program nor the Punta del Este test day, the American’s first drive of a Formula E car will be in opening practice – a situation Andretti believes he will have no trouble handling: “I’ve been looking forward to the chance to get behind the wheel of a Formula E car. Having never been in the car, it’s a bit of an unfamiliar situation for me but the team’s pace looks solid enough for a great result. I like unknown situations; I’m up for the task.”
As was the case at Punta del Este, Salvador Durán will again drive for Amlin Aguri in place of Katherine Legge, who this weekend is driving the Deltawing Coupe at the ‘Roar before the 24’ test day for the Daytona 24 Hours.
The Form Guide
Championship leader Lucas di Grassi has been consistently competitive throughout the season so far, so is likely to have his Audi Sport Abt car near the front of the field yet again.
Andretti Autosport’s Jean-Éric Vergne, who starred in Uruguay by claiming pole and racing at the front before a failure ended his race will be looking to make his mark on the series once more, whilst Punta del Este winner Sébastien Buemi will be out to confirm that he has certainly recaptured his pre-season form.
Venturi teammates Stéphane Sarrazin and Nick Heidfeld ended the Punta del Este test day in first and fourth respectively, so look for an improved showing from the team in Argentina.
Images via FIA Formula E Championship