Having hosted its first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2014, Russia takes another step on its developing motorsport journey this Saturday, as the Moscow ePrix unfolds. As the penultimate stop in the inaugural Formula E season, the outcome of this event will likely have a major impact on tight battle for the Drivers’ Championship.
|2015 FIA Formula E Moscow ePrix|
|Date||06 June 2015||Lap Length||2.290km|
|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||Sat 16:00-17:00|
* Session times are quoted in Moscow Standard Time (UTC +03:00 hrs)
Located in the shadow of some of Moscow’s most famous landmarks, including Red Square, Saint Basil’s Cathedral and The Kremlin, the front straight of the anti-clockwise 2.29-kilometre circuit runs alongside the Moskva River, before the 90-degree left hand Turn 1 – a likely passing opportunity – takes drivers on to the longest straight on the course. Turn 2 brings the drivers to the right, before three 90-degree left handers in quick succession through Staraya Square. The right-hand Turn 6 opens up in radius through the corner, as the circuit flows to the right-left-right sequence of the turns 7/8/9 chicane.
Turn 10 is a sweeping left hand corner, before one of the circuit’s most unique features: back-to-back 180-degree hairpins at Turns 11 and 12. A good exit from the chicane at Turn 9 will give drivers the chance to get a run on their opponents through Turn 10, setting up for a pass into the left-hand first hairpin. Drivers will need to take care to ensure they have completed the pass on the exit of Turn 11, as the right-hand Turn 12 hairpin is a prime location for a switch-back pass to regain position. A short straight follows before Turn 13, a 90-degree left hand corner that is likely to form another passing opportunity back on to the front straight. The pit lane is slightly offset in Moscow, as the pit entry is located on the exit of Turn 12, with pit exit just after Turn 13, well before the start/finish line.
Trulli’s Vitantonio Liuzzi thinks the Moscow course will provide a suitable challenge for the Formula E series: “I have to say it looks quite interesting and challenging, even though there are quite a few long straights and a slower more infield section provides a good mix of corners. But also there are three or four parts of the track where overtaking will be possible. Turn 1 and 3 seem like the most obvious spots but also the tight hairpin at Turn 11. It looks like a circuit which will provide a good show for the fans.”
The Form Guide
For the first time in several rounds, Moscow will see changes to the field of drivers. NEXTEV TCR’s reserve driver Antonio García will drive car #88, replacing Charles Pic. Garcia had previously raced for the team in the Uruguayan event at Punta del Este back in November, finishing eleventh when the team was then known as China Racing.
The series welcomes another debutant with Formula 1 experience in Justin Wilson, who will drive the #28 Andretti Autosport car. The Briton is substituting for Scott Speed, who will be in the United States racing in Andretti’s Global Rallycross program. For Wilson, who raced for Andretti in the Indianapolis 500 two weeks ago, the chance to step into Formula E is an exciting opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to making my Formula E debut with Andretti. I’ve been following the championship from the start, and it is a very interesting formula. I appreciate Michael [Andretti] giving me this opportunity. I know there is a lot to learn, but I am excited about this new challenge and looking forward to the Moscow ePrix weekend already!” he said.
The championship race is tighter than it has been all season, as Lucas di Grassi’s exclusion after dominating the last round in Berlin saw the Audi Sport ABT driver drop from first to third in the championship standings, ten points behind new leader Nelson Piquet Jr.
eDAMS.Renault’s Sébastien Buemi sits second, just two points behind Piquet, and is looking to recover after struggling for pace in Germany: “I need to win in Russia. We were far from the pace here [in Berlin] after being under control in Monaco, but I think when we get to Moscow there will be a return to normality.”
The battle between the top three drivers will be intense in Moscow, and expect them all to be at or near the front of the field, as they have been all season. Also looking for another strong is Dragon Racing’s Jérôme d’Ambrosio, who has jumped to fifth in the championship after being awarded his first race win in Germany; the Belgian sits one point behind Buemi’s teammate Nicolas Prost.
Practice 1 for the Moscow ePrix will begin at 08:15 local time (UTC +03:00), with Practice 2 at 10:30. The first of four qualifying groups are on track from 12:00, before the FanBoost recipients are announced at 15:50 and the race start at 16:00.
Images via FIA Formula E Championship and Current-E