Formula E’s European leg of the 2017/18 season continues this Saturday, with the third running of the Paris ePrix.


The Circuit

Paris street circuit

Circuit des Invalides
Location Paris, France Circuit Length 1.930 km / 1.199 mi
Opened 2016 First Formula E Event 2016
Direction Clockwise Lap Record 1:02.323 – Nick Heidfeld (2016)

Once again set around Les Invalides in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, the 1.93-kilometre Circuit des Invalides is one of the shortest on the calendar.

Like several Formula E circuits, the track features separate start and finish lines for the race. Interestingly, however, in Paris the finish line is right at the exit of Turn 14, just past the pit exit road.

Turn 1 is a left hand corner immediately after the finish line, and opens to a short run down to the right-handed Turn 2, the exit of which is vital to setting up an overtaking move down the following start straight. Turn 3 is a ninety-degree right-hand turn and a strong passing opportunity, however a driver will need to take care that they don’t lose any gained position from a driver attempting to switchback through the following right gander at Turn 4.

Turn 5 follows immediately, and is a wider radius corner, sweeping round to the tight right-hand corner at Turn 6. On paper, this may seem like an additional passing opportunity, but the need to brake for the corner while still turning through the previous sweeper makes for a more difficult proposition. The tight, almost hairpin-like Turn 7 leads to a short straight and kink to the left for Turn 8, before Turn 9 – a right-hand corner that is almost a mirror image of Turn 7. The exit from this corner is also important for the run down the back straight to Turn 10, a right-hand corner likely to see late braking battles for position.

Another short straight follows, with the Turn 11 kink feeding into the ninety-degree right-hand Turn 12. The penultimate Turn 13 is a left-hander that opens into the right-hand Turn 14 sweeper which completes the lap.

Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Andretti - 2017 Paris ePrix

One of the Circuit des Invalides’ many unique features is that its only true hairpin turn is in the pit lane.


The Form Guide

The two Paris races to date have been won by drivers who have historically been strong throughout the series – Lucas di Grassi in 2016 and Sébastien Buemi last year. While both are likely to feature in Paris again this year – di Grassi is now solely hunting race wins and Buemi is fourth in the standings – the changing of the guard seen so far this season has increased the likelihood of a different winner in 2018.

Championship leader Jean-Éric Vergne is the hometown hero in Paris. After finishing second in the first year, Vergne crashed out of last year’s race. Given the Frenchman’s form this season, third time could very well be his best chance to win at home.

Eighteen points behind Vergne is Sam Bird, winner last time out in Rome. The Brit will be looking to keep his rich run of results flowing, and has some past form in Paris: pole position in the inaugural event and fastest lap last year. Much like Vergne, Bird’s further step up in form this season gives the DS Virgin driver his best chance yet to win in Paris.

Third in the standings is Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist. Having started from pole in Rome, Rosenqvist retired from the lead following suspension damage caused by a heavy kerb strike. Combined with retirement in Mexico City two rounds earlier, Rosenqvist has lost the momentum that had seen him leading the championship standings earlier in the season. The Swede will certainly be looking to secure another solid result to get his campaign back on track, and importantly remain in touch with Vergne and Bird.

After several rounds of consistency in the field, there is one change to the driver roster for Paris. Ma Qing Hua – NEO Formula E’s reserve driver – will step up to drive car #68 for the team in place of Luca Filippi.

The Paris ePrix will begin with Practice 1 from 08:00 local time (UTC +02:00), followed by Practice 2 at 10:30. Qualifying is scheduled for 12:00 with Super Pole at 12:45, while the race start is set for 16:03.

2017-18 FIA Formula E Championship – Qatar Airways Paris ePrix
Date 28 April 2018 Free Practice Session 1 Sat 08:00-08:45
Qualifying Draw Sat 10:00-10:20 Free Practice Session 2 Sat 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 (49 laps) Sat 16:00-17:00

Session times quoted in Central European Summer Time (GMT +02:00)


Images via ABB 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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