The European leg of Formula E’s fourth season begins this Saturday with the Rome ePrix being staged for the first time.

The Circuit

Rome ePrix circuit layout

Circuito cittadino dell’EUR
Location Rome, Italy Circuit Length 2.860 km / 1.77 mi
Opened 2018 First Formula E Event 2018
Direction Anticlockwise Race Lap Record To be established

The seventh race of the season will take place at the Circuito Cittadino Dell’EUR – a 21 turn, 2.84-kilometre circuit through the Esposizione Universale Roma district. The circuit, which will be the second longest on the calendar, has separate start and finish lines – the race will start on the straight between Turns 12 and 13, so the opening corner of the race will be a tight, 180-degree hairpin.

Starting a lap from the finish line (which is also the main control line), Turn 1 is an almost 90-degree right-hand turn, with Turn 2 being a similar corner in the opposite direction. Two fast sweepers follow, Turn 3 to the left and Turn 4 to the right, before the fast run ends with another 90-degree left-hand corner at Turn 5. This corner is likely to provide a passing opportunity for any driver who gets a better exit from Turn 2 than their opponents.

A short straight follows before the Turn 6 left-hander, which is another 90-degree corner, leading in to another two sweeps through Turns 7 and 8, which are the direct opposite of Turns 3 and 4. Another straight follows before Turn 9, which is also a likely place to complete a pass. The following straight leads to another passing opportunity at Turn 10, followed by the Turn 11/12 chicane complex.

The grid start straight follows, leading to the hairpin at Turn 13. This corner begins a very technical final portion of the lap. Turns 14 (right-hand) and 15 (left-hand) are yet more ninety-degree corners, both are likely to see passing duels set up by the exit of the hairpin. A short straight leads to the Turns 16/17/18/19 complex, which is a left/right/right/left series of ninety degree corners that effectively form a chicane. The left-hand Turn 20 and right hand Turn 21 then lead cars back on to the finish straight.

The Form Guide

While the circuit is new, the form of the season so far is highly likely to continue to Rome. Jean-Éric Vergne, who currently holds a 30-point championship lead is likely to feature for Techeetah, along with his closest rivals Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra) and Sam Bird (DS Virgin). Sébastien Buemi (Renault e.Dams) has a history of performing well at new circuits in the series, and the Swiss driver will no doubt be aiming to do the same in the first visit to Rome.

Reigning champion Lucas di Grassi, while out of the championship battle, finally scored a decent result with a close second place during the last race in Punta de Este. For the Brazilian the rest of the season is all about race wins, and becoming the inaugural winner in Rome will be the target. Jaguar Racing’s pairing of Nelson Piquet Jr and Mitch Evans – currently fifth and sixth in the standings – continue to push for the marque’s first win, and a brand new circuit provides the ideal level playing field to do so.

There is currently one Italian driver in Formula E – NIO’s Luca Filippi – and the rookie is looking forward to his inaugural home event.

“Generally, the home race has always been a good one for me in the past – it’s always brought good luck,” he said ahead of this weekend’s event.

“I’m also very proud because the circuit is fantastic, especially as the fans have given us such a fantastic response. Motorsport in Italy has always been huge but not necessarily in Rome, as there haven’t been many big races. But, as the capital city, Rome is the home of motorsport. This weekend has come at the right time – everyone has been waiting for it.”

On-track action in Rome begins with Practice 1 at 08:00 local time (UTC +2:00), and Practice 2 at 10:30. Qualifying is scheduled for 12:00 with Super Pole at 12:45. The inaugural Rome ePrix will then take the start for 33 laps from 16:04.

2017-18 ABB FIA Formula E Championship – Rome ePrix
Date 14 April 2018 Free Practice Session 1 Sat 08:00-08:45
Free Practice Session 2 Sat 10:30-11:00 Qualifying Sat 12:00-12:36
‘Super Pole’ Sat 12:45-13:00 Race (33 laps) Sat 16:00-17:00

Session times quoted in Central European Summer Time (GMT +2:00)

Images via FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

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