Scorching Santiago beckons – Formula E R3 Preview

Formula E returns this weekend to kick start the new decade as the championship starts its 60th race in Chile’s capital this Saturday.

Of those 60 races, Lucas Di Grassi, Sam Bird, Jerome D’Ambrosio and Daniel Abt will become the only drivers to compete in all 60 events this weekend. Sam Bird has had the best start to the season of them all, winning the opening race of the season in Diriyah in November, despite crashing out of the second race the following day. Bird won the Santiago E-Prix last year and will aim high for this year’s race.

All four have points to their name but the only other driver who has scored a podium is 2016-17 champion Di Grassi, who was promoted from third to second in the second race of the season.

However the championship leader is BMWi Andretti’s Alexander Sims, who is on fantastic form after securing the last three pole positions, two in Diriyah and one in the final race of last season in New York. The Brit secured his first win in the series in Diriyah’s second race and with a seventh place finish in the race a day before, sits five points clear of Mercedes’ Stoffel Vandoorne.

Both Mercedes and Porsche made promising debuts in Diriyah with both German marques standing on the podium in the opening race of the season. Mercedes currently lead the Teams championship, two points more than Envision Virgin Racing.

The champions are struggling, with Jean-Eric Vergne promoted to eighth in the second round following a handful of post race penalties, and the Frenchman had to retire from the opening day of racing due to a steering problem. Techeetah currently sitting 9th in the teams championship.

If last year’s Santiago E-Prix is anything to go by, wwe should be in for a cracking race tomorrow. Last year saw the most amount of retirements in the history of Formula E, as temperatures reached mid to late 30s. Temperatures shouldn’t be as hot, but it will still be hot race.

The track layout has changed as well, the chicane mid-way through the long flatout curve is gone, and the Final few corners have switched meaning that after the left hander a the end of the straight, there will then we a right hand hairpin followed be a left hand hairpin, instead of vice versa 12 months ago. The first corner is now a 90 degree right before a hairpin takes it onto the orginal circuit from last year.

The 2020 Santiago E-Prix begins at 1900GMT on Saturday 18th January 2020.

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