After 2 rounds of the FIA ABB Formula E championship we are now starting to build a picture of how the season may end up, what is working, who is performing and who has plenty of work to do. We take a look at all of this and make some wild predictions for the season to come.
Attack Mode to decide victory:
Formula E’s latest innovation in racing “Attack Mode” gives drivers 25kw extra power for a total of 8 minutes during a race. This extra power gives the driver using it and advantage over the field in pace at the cost of efficiency, drivers must run off-line on the designated activation zone to activate it. Running off line costs time initially but the time you gain with the extra power makes this worth while.
We have seen some get this wrong however, Jose Maria Lopez failed to cross both lines of the activation zone twice and lost position to Jerome D’Ambrosio in Ad Diriyah. Marrakesh was a stronger showcase for it’s potential with the extra boost changing the dynamics of the race, it was a big aid for Lucas Di Grassi who made his move on both Envision Virgin Racing cars but later lost those positions when they used their Attack Mode. Both races had late safety cars which reduced the variability of Attack Mode. We will surely see a scenario where the race leader has used all available Attack Modes with their challenger having it active. We have yet to see a race decided by Attack Mode but I’m sure we will soon.
DS Techeetah and BMW i Andretti to duel it out:
The two stand out teams so far this season have been DS Techeetah and BMW i Andretti, Antonio Felix da Costa took victory in Ad Diriyah following a very strong pre-season testing while both Techeetah cars were penalised for power overuse but still managed 2nd and 5th.
Marrakesh looked all set to be a 1-2 for BMW but both of their drivers pushed too hard causing da Costa to crash out of the race and Alexander Sims to drop down to 4th. Both BMW cars were quick and once in the lead built a steady buffer over the rest of the field but were unchallenged by Techeetah who fell victim of driver errors. Jean-Eric Vergne tangled with Sam Bird into the first turn spinning his car to the back of the pack while Andre Lotterer made an error on his hot lap in qualifying putting him out of position. Despite this both cars finished in the top 6 and are leading the teams championship.
Expect a season long championship between these two teams and with da Costa and Vergne equal on points it’s all to play for the rest of the season.
Audi to make a late charge:
Despite the disastrous start to the season Audi had in Ad Diriyah; Marrakesh was a more convincing round. Sam Bird in the Audi powered Envision Virgin qualified on pole position and led for the first part of the race, teammate Frijns was also at the front while Lucas Di Grassi was clawing his way through the pack despite damage after making contact with Pascal Wehrlein.
This time last season Audi were in a pickle, they had only scored a couple of points and their power train was unreliable but a late season surge took them to the top and won the teams title. Audi have a good foundation but with the power train homologated for the rest of the season they will need to extract the most out of what they have and fix their qualifying performances with the factory team.
A variety of winners:
We have had two winners from as many races and with the field as competitive as it is expect many more to take the top step. Jerome D’Ambrosio is one of the sports most underrated drivers and it was no surprise to see him take the top spot but good fortune still had to come his way. Neither Techeetah driver has won yet and it wouldn’t be outrageous to say these two should definitely have at least one by the end of the season. Alexander Sims looked competitive in Marrakesh and with the BMW competitive he should have plenty of opportunity to take his first win along with Formula E veterans Buemi, Di Grassi and Bird who all have competitive cars underneath them.
Vergne to become the first double champion:
The first two rounds haven’t gone smoothly for the reigning champion but Vergne currently sits 3rd in the standings. He has arguably the most competive car on the grid right now so if he gets a clean weekend away he should easily finish on the podium. Consistency is what won Vergne the title last year and with Vergne getting stronger and stronger each season I predict we will see him make Formula E history and take a second Formula E crown.
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