Qualifying is key: Tech forecast for Paris E-Prix
Posted on: 26 April, 2018
A dream Rome E-Prix turned sour after rear wheel damage saw Felix Rosenqvist retire from the race. Dropping to third place in the team standings wasn’t ideal but with five races left this season, we still have enough time to make a move back to the top. Ahead of the Paris E-Prix, our Chief Engineer Vinit Patel talks about the challenges and race conditions in The City of Light.
We’ve been to Paris twice, and it’s a great event as we race in the centre of the city with historical and beautiful landmarks around. The track layout itself remains the same, and while we’re not expecting too many changes we’re still going to be careful on our track-walk in order to check all features of the kerbs and corners. We’ve had two good races here in the past, and it’s important to keep that ball rolling.
The field has pretty much been as I predicted at the beginning of the season. Jean-Eric Vergne has been the most consistent, and even when he’s not up there at the start like in Rome, he still manages to bring home some good points. In terms of sheer performance, there are still seven or eight teams who could do with a race outright. Mitch Evans got close in Rome, but perhaps the driver’s and team’s inexperience cost them that one. They’ve got a strong car and will no doubt be eager to get back into the fight. As expected, Audis will be strong, and we cannot discount Sebastien Buemi and Renault especially on home turf. Virgin, along with ourselves, will also be looking to put forward the best of performances.
The opposite of Rome, Punta Del Este and Santiago, the Paris track is a very short lap, and not too quick in terms of end of straight speeds even by Formula E standards. The thermal game is also not so much in play and hence we’ll see teams possibly qualifying out of position and trying more outlandish strategies and stint lengths in order to gain that little bit of advantage. Qualifying is always important, but a little more so here because there are fewer opportunities to overtake.
Qualifying is always important, but a little more so here because there are fewer opportunities to overtake.
The circuit itself is tight and narrow, with medium to slow corners that yield some interesting overtaking or defending opportunities, obviously dependant on the position you’re in. The nature of the track has seen a 100% record of a safety car and full course yellows at past events, and this adds to the mix and is always a bit of a curve ball when you think of all the opposing strategies that could actually be advantageous here.
Paris for Formula E is in a sense similar to Monaco for F1, except that Paris has some unique track features like the road camber, variation of the surface and the bumpy nature of a lot of braking zones. With slower speed straights and corners, bumpy surfaces and some potentially interesting strategies in play, we’re looking at returning to Paris in strong form, and bringing both our cars across the finish line, hopefully with some good points.
Don’t forget to catch us in action in the Paris E-Prix on 28 April 2018 at 14:00 UTC.