Formula E holds its first European race this Saturday, May 9, as the world’s most famed street course – Circuit de Monaco – hosts round seven of the championship, the Monaco ePrix.
|2015 FIA Formula E Monaco ePrix|
|Date||09 May 2015||Lap Length||1.760km|
|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||Sat 15:50||Race (57 laps)||Sat 16:00-17:00|
* Session times are quoted in Central European Summer Time (UTC +02:00 hrs)
The series will utilise a shortened version of the Grand Prix circuit, eliminating features such as Casino Square, the Hairpin, and the tunnel. Formula E will use the same pit lane and start/finish line as Formula One will in two weeks’ time, with Sainte Devote remaining as Turn 1.
Instead of exiting the corner and climbing up the hill towards the casino however; the Formula E circuit doubles back on itself slightly more and stays down at the harbour level, turning left and running in the reverse direction along the road that effectively forms the run-off at the Nouvelle Chicane (the chicane following the exit from the tunnel) during the F1 event.
Turn 3 is a right-hand hairpin at the first part Nouvelle Chicane, allowing the Formula E cars to re-join the traditional circuit, with the second part of the chicane forming Turn 4. The remainder of the lap follows the final section of the Grand Prix circuit, with the Tabac left-hand corner as Turn 5, and the dual chicanes of the Swimming Pool complex becoming Turns 6 through 9. The final corners at La Rascasse and Anthony Noghes brings the circuit back to the start-finish line.
For the Formula E drivers, overtaking is likely to occur at many the same corners to where passing is seen for Formula One; specifically Sainte Devote (T1), Tabac (T5), and La Rascasse (T11). The hairpin at Turn 3 is also likely to become a passing opportunity, however for both this corner and Turn 1, the right-hand turn is closely followed by a left hander – and as such drivers will need to be certain to complete their pass swiftly to avoid being re-passed at the next corner.
The Form Guide
For the second race in a row, the field of drivers remains unchanged, and with so much of the circuit following the Grand Prix course, there is a wealth of Monaco Grand Prix experience on the grid – 13 of the 20 drivers have competed in the Formula One race. Of these 13 drivers, Jarno Trulli has the distinction of having won the Monaco Grand Prix (for Renault in 2004), and will be looking to add a matching Formula E victory.
The championship has seen different winners in each of the first six events, so must surely be close to seeing the first two-time winner. All six victors so far – Lucas di Grassi, Sam Bird, Sébastien Buemi, António Félix da Costa, Nicolas Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr have all consistently shown pace throughout the season, and any of this group could readily challenge for the win again in Monaco.
Of the drivers yet to claim a victory, Andretti Autosport’s Jean-Éric Vergne and Audi Sport ABT’s Daniel Abt have both shown the speed required to run at the front, and both will be aiming to become the seventh driver in as many ePrix to stand at the top of the podium.
Victory in Monaco would has an additional special touch for Mahindra’s Bruno Senna, who won a GP2 race in the principality in 2008. The legendary performances of his uncle Ayrton are synonymous with Monaco’s history.
“There is some special features to this track – the podium is pretty unique and I’ve got lots of memories of Ayrton on this podium,” he reflected. “The first time I went to the podium I was remembering him on there and I think all the drivers, not just me, want to win this race. It’s going to be fun. I think everyone is going to make the biggest effort possible this weekend, so it should be an interesting weekend.”
Monaco is also the home race for the Venturi team of Nick Heidfeld and Stéphane Sarrazin, and will be looking to make an impact at this event. After coming within one corner of winning the inaugural ePrix in Beijing (Heidfeld was spectacularly crashed out of the race by Prost whilst making a pass for the lead at the final turn), an otherwise lack-lustre first half of the season has left the team at the foot of the team’s championship in tenth place – having only a combined nine points to show for their efforts.
First practice for the Monaco ePrix starts at 08:15 local time (UTC +02:00), with practice two at 10:30. The four ten-minute qualifying groups will be on track from 12:00, before FanBoost is implemented at 15:50 and the Monaco ePrix race starts at 16:00.