Mexico hosts the fourth round of the 2018-19 FIA Formula E Championship series this Saturday, and the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is again the site of the Mexico City ePrix.
|Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez|
|Location||Mexico City, Mexico||Circuit Length||2.093 km / 1.301 mi|
|Opened||1959||First Formula E Event||2016|
|Direction||Clockwise||Lap Record||1:02.202 – Lucas di Grassi (2018)|
Having featured on the Formula E calendar since its second season, this will be the fourth time the series has visited the 2.093-kilometre, 17-turn circuit. Built around the facility’s oval course, the track features Formula E’s own version of the stadium section used for the Mexican Grand Prix – in this case entering and exiting the stadium in the same place – along with the full length of the infamous Peraltada corner, albeit interrupted by a chicane part-way around.
The key passing locations are the Turns 4, 5 and 6 complex at the exit of the Turn 3 sweeper, along with the stadium section – the entrance of which at Turn 7 has often been the start of passing battles that continue through to when the cars exit the stadium again at Turn 13. A strong run through the mid-Peraltada chicane (Turns 15-17) is also critical for setting up a run on a rival through the final sweeper and down the front straight, with the aim of out-braking the competitor into the Turn 1-2 chicane.
The Mexico City circuit is has historically had one of the fastest average lap speeds of the championship, and is also the event with the highest altitude of the championship at nearly 2,500 meters above sea level. While the thin air has far less of an effect on the power unit performance of the Formula E cars as it does on an internal combustion-engined car, there is still noted changes in the cooling and aerodynamic performance of each car to what is experienced at lower altitudes. The elevation also adds extra demands on driver fitness and performance, with less oxygen available in the air.
The Form Guide
No driver has won multiple Mexico City races, although the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team has been victorious in the past two events – Lucas di Grassi winning during his 2016-17 championship season and Daniel Abt took his first Formula E victory last year. Abt currently sits seventh in the Drivers’ Championship standings following his first podium of the season last time out in Santiago, while di Grassi’s race results so far have been quiet and leave the Brazilian languishing in 13th on the table – something he will no doubt be looking to change this weekend.
The inaugural Mexico City race was won by Jérôme d’Ambrosio, then driving for Dragon Racing. While d’Ambrosio has switched teams to Mahindra for this season, the Belgian has several reasons to be confident heading to this weekend’s race.
Not only does he currently sit second in the standings – including victory at round two in Marrakesh – Mahindra also showed pace at last season’s Mexico event with then-driver Felix Rosenqvist claiming pole position. Across the other side of the Mahindra garage, Pascal Wehrlein scored his first Formula E podium in just his second start last round despite managing car temperature issues. Buoyed by his strong start in the championship, the German intends on going “flat out, maximum attack” in Mexico City.
Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird moved to the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings with victory in Santiago, continuing to build momentum throughout the opening phase of the season. The Englishman sits two points ahead of d’Ambrosio, and while he claims to not be thinking of the championship at this stage, he has suggested that maintaining momentum and consistently scoring points is key to still being in the hunt for the title when the series arrives in New York for its end-of-season double-header.
Having won the opening round in Saudi Arabia, BMW i Andretti’s António Félix da Costa has experienced two failures to finish since – in both cases though, the Portuguese driver has been fast. Still placed third in the Drivers’ Championship heading to Mexico, da Costa – and teammate Alexander Sims – will both likely be fast again, and will be looking to get their championship challenges back on track.
Action in the 2019 Mexico City ePrix begins with Practice 1 for 45 minutes from 07:30 local time (UTC -06:00), with the 30 minutes of Practice 2 following at 10:00. The first of four qualifying groups hit the circuit at 11:45, ahead of Super Pole for the top six qualifiers at 12:30. The fourth Mexico City ePrix race, to be held over 45 minutes plus one lap, will take the green flag at 16:03.
|2018-19 FIA Formula E Championship – CBMM Niobium Mexico City ePrix|
|Date||16 February 2019||Free Practice Session 1||Sat 07:30-08:15|
|Free Practice Session 2||Sat 10:00-10:30||Preliminary Qualifying||Sat 11:45-12:21|
|‘Super Pole’||Sat 12:30-12:50||Race (45 min + 1 lap)||Sat 16:00-17:00|
Session times quoted in Central Standard Time (GMT -6:00)
Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship