Formula E Gears Up for Season Two

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Formula E gears up for season two as the first all-electric racing series heads to China once more to start the 2015/16 season.

2015 Beijing ePrix Preview

This Saturday ten teams and twenty drivers will race on the streets of Beijing around the iconic “Bird’s Nest” Olympic Park stadium.

Last year the Championship kept to it’s one-day race format, however, due to the opening up of the series allowing teams to develop their own powertrains, a 30-minute practice session on Friday has been introduced to allow teams to get to grips with their new technology.

The layout of the Beijing ePrix has not changed much. It is 3.439km in length with 17 turns and still carries it’s unique ‘U-shaped’ pitlane. However, this year they have removed turn, three, four and five which was a very tight and slow chicane at the start of the lap leading to a 90-degree corner. This should hopefully make the track flow a lot better this year, increasing speeds and improving chances for overtaking.

What’s New?

Last season every team received the exact same spec car, with the only alterations they could make being torque mapping, suspension and wing angles. This year, manufacturers have been introduced, allowing some teams to build their own powertrain. This should lead to increased competitiveness with many teams selecting different gear ratios and numbers as they fight to find the best solution for being the fastest while using the least amount of energy.

FanBoost remains, however you can now vote multiple times and see who is leading the standings right up until the first few laps of a race have gotten under way which is when voting now closes. FanBoost can now only be used in a driver’s second car.

All but one fixture on the calendar has been arranged. Paris is in while Monaco and Miami have been dropped. It is expected that Mexico will fill the final gap. However they face strong competition from Canada and Switzerland. Hong Kong has already booked their place with a race getting underway there in season three.

The Teams

A consequence of manufacturers entering the sport has led to a few name changes:

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport- Audi have manufactured the powertrain.

DS Virgin Racing- Citroen have entered the sport through their DS brand.

Renault E.Dams- Renault have increased their support for the series.

Mahindra Racing- The Indian car supplier have developed their own powertrain.

NEXTEV TCR- The Team China squad have also developed an in-house power train.

Trulli- Have their own system in place, however testing proved frustrating.

Venturi- Have developed their own train and are also suppliers.

Dragon Racing- Are using Venturi’s powertrain.

Andretti- Had developed their own powertrain, but has reverted back to the spec season one power package due to troubled testing.

Team Aguri- Continue to use their season one powertrain as they develop their own one for season three.

Who’s New?

 Only three drivers will begin their maiden Formula E race this Saturday:

  1. Jacques Villeneve
  • The 1997 F1 World Champion joins the Venturi team in place of Nick Heidfeld.
  1. Nathanael Berthon
  • The French GP2 and SportCar driver makes his debut for Team Aguri after an extensive pre-season test with the team. He beat off the likes of Tom Dillman, Salvador Duran, Stefano Coletti and Nicolas Lapierre.
  1. Robin Frijns
  • After testing with the Amlin Andretti Team, the young Dutchman joins the American squad.

The Grid

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport

  • Lucas di Grassi
  • Daniel Abt

DS Virgin Racing

  • Sam Bird
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (Joins from Andretti, replacing Jamie Alguesuari)

Renault E.Dams

  • Sebastien Buemi
  • Nicolas Prost

Mahindra Racing

  • Bruno Senna
  • Nick Heidfeld (Joins from Venturi, replacing Karun Chandhok)

NEXTEV TCR

  • Nelson Piquet Jr
  • Oliver Turvey (Debuted at final round last season)

Trulli

  • Vintantonio Liuzzi
  • Salvador Duran (Joins from Aguri, replacing Jarno Trulli)

Venturi

  • Stephane Sarrazin
  • Jacques Villeneuve (Rookie)

Dragon Racing

  • Jerome d’Ambrosio
  • Loic Duval

Amlin Andretti

  • Simona de Silvestro (Debuted at final round last season)
  • Robin Frijns (Rookie)

Team Aguri

  • Antonio Felix da Costa
  • Nathanael Berthon (Rookie)

Weekend Predictions

It will be very tough to predict with teams using different power packages and reliability issues are sure to be rife up and down the field. However based on testing:

Pole- Lucas di Grassi

First- Lucas di Grassi

Second- Nicolas Prost

Third- Jerome d’Ambrosio

The race gets under way at 16.00 local time.

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