Six-three years, 9 months and two days after the chequered flag fell on the last Swiss Grand Prix to be held in Switzerland, international open-wheel motorsport returns to the country as Formula E holds the inaugural Zürich ePrix.
With approval for an electric racing event on the streets of the Zürich passed in 2015, this ePrix represents a true end to the ban on circuit racing in Switzerland put in place following the 1955 Le Mans disaster.
|Zürich Street Circuit|
|Location||Zürich, Switzerland||Circuit Length||2.46 km / 1.529 mi|
|Opened||2018||First Formula E Event||2018|
|Direction||Anticlockwise||Lap Record||To be established|
The 2.46-kilometre, eleven-turn anticlockwise street circuit is set alongside Zürich’s Enge Harbour, with the pit lane backing on to the marina. Turn 1 is a right-hand corner which will funnel the field down towards the almost- ninety degree, left-hand Turn 2, the first real passing opportunity on the lap.
A short straight follows, leading to a sequence of ninety-degree turns through the city centre: left hand corners at Turns 3, 4 and 6, while Turn 5 five is a right-hander. This sequence of corners is ideal for passing duels and switchback manoeuvres, so is likely to be a hotbed of action during the race.
The back straight is interrupted by the Turns 7/8/9 chicane at around a quarter of the way along its length, before the straight continues down to the hairpin at Turn 10. With Turn 11 simply a sweep into the start/finish straight, the hairpin will not only provide a final passing opportunity, but is also critical for a fast run down to the finish line.
The Form Guide
Championship leader Jean-Éric Vergne holds a 40-point lead over Sam Bird heading into the event, and mathematically has the ability to mirror a special piece of history. The Techeetah driver can potentially wrap the Formula E Drivers’ Championship title up this weekend with two races remaining – just as Juan Manuel Fangio claimed the Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship with two races to go at that final Swiss-hosted Grand Prix on August 22, 1954.
Much focus, no doubt, will be on Switzerland’s Sébastien Buemi at this event. While season four of Formula E hasn’t been as strong for the Renault e.Dams driver as his past three years, the season two champion will no doubt be wanting to follow in the footsteps of Vergne, Bird and Daniel Abt to win their home ePrix. Buemi currently sits in fifth place in the Driver’s standings with 82 points, but is only four points behind third-placed Felix Rosenqvist – the Swede having lost touch with the leading pair after a strong start to the season.
Rosenqvist and Buemi are split in the standings by Daniel Abt, the German flying high off the back of his home victory in Berlin three weeks ago. Also building on the late-season surge in form for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team is Abt’s teammate Lucas di Grassi. With second place in Berlin, the reigning champion has now risen to sixth in the standings, six points behind long-term sparring partner Buemi.
The other driver for whom Zürich is a home event is Edoardo Mortara. The Venturi driver returns to the series after missing Berlin due to his Mercedes commitments, where Tom Dillmann acted as a substitute.
On track action in Zürich is set to begin with Practice 1 at 09:00 local time (UTC +2:00), with Practice 2 following at 11:30. The group stages of Qualifying will commence at 14:00 ahead of Super Pole from 14:45, while the inaugural Zurich ePrix will go green at 18:03.
|2017-18 FIA Formula E Championship – Julius Baer Zürich ePrix|
|Date||10 June 2018||Free Practice Session 1||Sun 09:00-09:45|
|Qualifying Draw||Sun 11:00-11:20||Free Practice Session 2||Sun 11:30-12:00|
|Qualifying Group 1||Sun 14:00-14:06||Qualifying Group 2||Sun 14:10-14:16|
|Qualifying Group 3||Sun 14:20-14:26||Qualifying Group 4||Sun 14:30-14:36|
|Super Pole||Sun 14:45-15:00||Race||Sat 18:03-18:50|
Session times quoted in Central European Summer Time (GMT +02:00)
Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship