The eighth round of the 2018-19 FIA Formula E season unfolds in Paris this Saturday, with the championship still yet to see any driver or team win twice.

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 Race 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-hander 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 that sees 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.

The Form Guide

With seven different drivers also having taken pole position at the seven events so far, it is the closest Formula E season to date – only 13 championship points separate first to ninth position in the Drivers’ Championship standings, and the scene is set for any driver to stand up and take command of the title during the second half of the championship. Exactly the same can be said for the Teams’ Championship, where DS Techeetah leads Envision Virgin Racing by seven points, with both Mahindra Racing and Audi SPort ABT Schaeffler just a further five points behind.

The Circuit des Invalides hosts the Paris ePrix for the fourth time, and history suggests claiming pole position is a good omen as the past two events here have been won from pole – Sébastien Buemi in 2017 and Jean-Éric Vergne last year. The podiums and pole positions across the three previous Paris events are also filled with names who are currently in the championship mix – in addition to Buemi and Vergne, Lucas di Grassi won the inaugural event, while Sam Bird has scored a pole position and podium finish. Now driving for Dragon Racing, José María López finished second for DS Virgin Racing in the 2017 event, while current points leader Jérôme d’Ambrosio and his Mahindra teammate Pascal Wehrlein will take some confidence from their team’s former driver (and current advisor) Nick Heidfeld who set the fastest lap in 2016 and backed it up with a podium finish the following year.

The Circuit des Invalides’ outright qualifying lap record currently stands at just 1:00.881 set by Lucas di Grassi last year, but with the introduction of the second-generation Formula E car this season this mark is expected to drop well below sixty seconds. There is one possible barrier to a new lap record – the Paris weather. Saturday’s forecast for the French capital predicts a mostly cloudy and breezy day with showers, and a top temperature of just 13 degrees Celsius. Depending on the timing of the showers to the Formula E track sessions, the potential rain may have an effect on the racing and lap times.

The 2019 Paris ePrix will commence this Saturday with opening practice from 07:30 local time (GMT +02:00), followed by Practice 2 at 10:00. The qualifying group stages will begin at 11:45 and lead directly into Super Pole, with the 45 minutes plus one lap race set for a start at 16:00.

2018-19 FIA Formula E Championship – Paris ePrix
Date 27 April 2019 Free Practice Session 1 Sat 07:30-08:15
Free Practice Session 2 Sat 10:00-10:30 Preliminary Qualifying Sat 11:45-12:20
‘Super Pole’ Sat 12:30-12:50 Race (45 min + 1 lap) Sat 16:00-17:00

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

Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship

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Mitch Timms

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