The 2014/2015 FIA Formula E championship continues this weekend as the world’s first fully electric racing series travels to the scenic Uruguayan coast for Round 3: the Punta del Este ePrix.
Just three weeks have passed since Formula E graced the tropical city of Putrajaya, continuing its successful journey across the globe. Malaysia’s ePrix drew praise from the sports CEO Alejandro Agag, who labelled it as a “spectacular and world class” event.
Sam Bird triumphed the streets of Putrajaya, recording a dominant first victory to place himself firmly in contention for the championship crown, whilst Lucas di Grassi maintained his fantastic start to the season with another podium to preserve his lead at the top of the driver’s standings.
Following di Grassi’s victory in Beijing’s inaugural race, proceeded by Bird’s aforementioned win in Round 2, the competitive order remains wide open. e.Dams Renault appear to have an edge in qualifying trim, with Nico Prost taking two out of two pole positions (but for a pre-race grid penalty dropping him back to 10th). The French outfit have also shown solid race pace, with Sebastien Buemi claiming the final place on the podium in Putrajaya and Prost coming home just behind in fourth.
Di Grassi’s second consecutive podium finish and a point for Daniel Abt moved Audi Sport ABT to the top of the team standings with 45 points: one ahead of Virgin Racing who themselves look to be in strong position in the championship fight.
Andretti Autosport slipped to fourth after a disappointing non points finish for Franck Montagny and newcomer Matthew Brabham in Malaysia, both of whom were involved in a number of incidents on track which hampered their running. Andretti will be hoping to bounce back in Uruguay and have been bolstered by the announcement that Jean-Eric Vergne will race in Punta del Este. The 24-year-old Frenchman is looking to carve a career outside Formula One after losing his Toro Rosso seat for next season. Vergne should prove to be an excellent acquisition for the American outfit, as Formula E continues to emphasise it’s success at attracting top drivers from across the World.
Dragon Racing displayed their championship credentials for the first time around the Putrajaya Street Circuit, claiming their first appearance in the top 10 with a double points finish around Malaysia’s administrative capital, following a front row lock out. Drivers Oriol Servia and Jerome d’Ambrosio will be looking to continue their impressive showing around the streets alongside Punta del Este’s harbour. Mahindra, Amlin Aguri and Venturi continue to look for a morale boosting result, with the three teams yet to register a finish in the top four, as they continue to occupy the bottom half of the standings. Bruno Senna had looked in contention for a potential podium in Malaysia, before he lost control and crashed out on the final lap. The Brazilian will be aiming to make amends and score his first points of the series.
Formula E will welcome another newcomer to the grid, with Antonio Garcia coming in at China Racing to replace Ho-Pin Tung, who had made commitments prior to the start of the season. With three class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2008, 2009 and 2011, the Spaniard boasts a wealth of experience at the age of 34, which China Racing will hope to utilise in order to guide them to more points in Uruguay. Trulli remain the only team yet to score a point in the first two races of the season. Jarno Trulli had held third for the majority of the race, revealing a strong pace which had not been previously shown in Round 1. His chances of making a podium appearance were dealt a major blow when he was forced to serve a drive through penalty for a power infringement, before an eventual retirement ended what was set to be a promising result.
Location and track
Nicknamed the Monte Carlo of South America, the 2.8km track will provide unique challenges as well as glorious views to the 20 drivers and 10 teams. With 20 turns and sweeping long Valencia-esque straights, the circuit should offer up plenty of overtaking opportunities, whilst tricky chicanes and close walls will leave no room for error.
Set on a beautiful beach backdrop, along Punta del Este’s picturesque harbour, the tight, twisty layout is sure to play host to some exciting racing, with DJ Erik Morillo performing live music to add to the party atmosphere. Located just south of Maldonado, the circuit is based on the track previously used for the TC2000 touring car events and will be the first of two ePrix’s to be held in South America, alongside Round 4 in Buenos Aires.
Familiarise yourself with the track by taking a lap on-board with this footage:
With sun-soaked summers, Punta del Este enjoys beautiful weather almost all year round with temperatures in December averaging around 25°C, providing plenty of glamour in the St. Tropez of South America.
As always ElectricAutosport.com will be bringing you closer to the action with extensive live coverage online and through social media to ensure that every aspect is catered for to complete your race day experience.
Timetable Saturday 13 December 2014:
07:30 – 08:00 Inspection laps
08:15 – 09:00 Non-qualifying practice 1
10:30 – 11:00 Non-qualifying practice 2
11:15 – 11:45 Pit walk
12:00 – 12:10 Qualifying session group 1
12:15 – 12:25 Qualifying session group 2
12:30 – 14:40 Qualifying session group 3
12:45 – 12:55 Qualifying session group 4
13:30 – 14:30 Pit walk
13:50 – 14:30 Driver autograph session
14:30 – 14:50 Driver parade
16:00 Race (31 laps)
17:00 Podium Ceremony