The fifth season of the FIA Formula E Championship reaches its zenith this weekend, as the double-header New York City ePrix rounds out the series. Who will claim the championship title?
|Brooklyn Street Circuit|
|Location||Brooklyn, New York||Circuit Length||2.374 km / 1.475 mi|
|Opened||2017||First Formula E Event||2017|
|Direction||Clockwise||Lap Record||1:14.663 – Felix Rosenqvist (2018)|
New York City’s waterfront Red Hook neighbourhood hosts Formula E for the third year in a row, and the second time as the series finale. The circuit was extended to 14 turns and 2.374 kilometres in length for last season, and with five straights separating several tight corners – including three hairpins – both New York races to date have shown there is plenty of passing opportunities available to the drivers.
The Form Guide
Following an unpredictable season, including a run of eight different drivers winning the first eight races, it comes as little surprise that eight drivers remain mathematically in contention for the championship title.
While Daniel Abt, Sébastien Buemi, Robin Frijns, António Félix da Costa, André Lotterer and Mitch Evans will all require an amount of luck and the results of others to fall their way to claim the championship, the like battle for the title will be between the only two drivers to have won multiple races: ladder leader and reigning champion Jean-Éric Vergne and second-placed former champion Lucas di Grassi.
Vergne holds a comfortable, but by no means uncatchable, 32-point lead over di Grassi heading to the final event. With 29 points available on each of the two days in New York, Vergne could very well have the championship locked away by Saturday evening. Conversely, a bad day for the Frenchman paired with strong day for di Grassi will see the championship well and truly alive heading into the final day of the season.
It’s not an unfamiliar situation for either of the main championship contenders. Two years ago in Montréal – the Season 3 finale – di Grassi entered the event with a similar deficit to his then-rival Buemi, yet came away from the event as champion.
The Brazilian has said he will be bringing the same mentality of aiming for race wins to New York this year: “For me, I’m going to try and win the race. I have to win both races – that’s my target. It’s still the case – we’re super pumped up and in Formula E, anything can happen. In Montréal, I took 34 points out of Buemi in the last two rounds. So, if I do exactly the same I’ll win the Championship.”
As the leader and favourite for the title, Vergne feels the mindsets of both himself and di Grassi will dictate who will feel the pressure this weekend: “It depends how you see it. If he [di Grassi] thinks he has a very, very good chance of winning, then he has the pressure. But if he thinks he doesn’t have a chance of winning and he just goes for maximum attack, then he doesn’t have pressure. I try to chill as much as I can but at times things catch up with me at night when I try to go to sleep but I guess it’s normal. I take things easy. The team has all done a fantastic job, regardless of the result. We’re here to do the same job as usual and I don’t see any reason why things would change this weekend.”
It’s not just Vergne and di Grassi fighting each other for the Drivers’ Championship, as their respective teams also head to New York battling each other for the Teams’ Championship – just as was the case last year.
In Season 4, Vergne’s Techeetah team led on arrival at the final event, only to be pipped to the title by di Grassi’s Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team by just two points. DS Techeetah once again lead as the championship arrives at the final round, holding a 43-point lead over the Audi squad. The fight for the Teams’ title means that Vergne and di Grassi’s respective team mates – Lotterer and Abt – also have an important role to place across the two New York races.
|2018-19 FIA Formula E Championship – New York City ePrix|
|Date||13-14 July 2019||Free Practice Session 1||Sat 07:30-08:15|
|Free Practice Session 2||Sat 10:00-10:30||Race 1 Qualifying||Sat 11:45-12:21|
|Race 1 ‘Super Pole’||Sat 12:30-12:50||Race 1 (45 minutes + 1 lap)||Sat 16:03-17:00|
|Free Practice Session 3||Sun 09:00-09:45||Race 2 Qualifying||Sun 11:45-12:21|
|Race 2 ‘Super Pole’||Sun 12:30-12:50||Race 2 (45 minutes + 1 lap)||Sun 16:03-17:00|
Session times quoted in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -04:00)
Images via ABB FIA Formula E Championship