Formula E Mexico City preview

March 1, 2018

Formula E Mexico City preview

March 1, 2018

In the ABB FIA Formula E Championship’s history, few venues have featured as much drama as the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. The series gets a chance to add to that this weekend with Round 5 of the 2017-’18 campaign.

Each of the first two runnings saw season three champion Lucas di Grassi in the spotlight, for better or worse. The Brazilian was disqualified from his win here in 2016 as his car was 1.8 kg underweight. Last year, di Grassi completed a shock comeback after a poor qualifying effort and early race contact to save energy and win.

Di Grassi’s title defense season has gotten off to an unforeseen disastrous start. The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver has failed to score through the first four races, with multiple failures to finish.

Those who have started strongly are the top three drivers in the championship, in Jean-Eric Vergne, Felix Rosenqvist and Sam Bird.

Vergne led a Techeetah 1-2 last race in Santiago over teammate Andre Lotterer, a team’s first 1-2 result in Formula E history. But the win was marred slightly post-race. Both cars received a 15,000 Euro apiece fine for modifying the driver safety harnesses. The result stood unaffected.

Vergne now leads Mahindra’s Rosenqvist by five points, 71-66. Rosenqvist battled back to fourth in Santiago after a tough qualifying session. The Swede won back-to-back races in Hong Kong and Marrakesh.

Bird, of DS Virgin, is the year’s third winner and enters Mexico City 10 points back of Vergne. Like Vergne, Bird is the only driver with four top-five finishes in as many starts this season.

Season two champion Sebastien Buemi of Renault e.dams enters Mexico City fourth in points, and is four points ahead of fifth-placed Nelson Piquet Jr. of Panasonic Jaguar Racing.

The top three drivers in the standings are 34 points clear of Buemi. Meanwhile from Buemi back to 18th-placed Tom Blomqvist of MS&AD Andretti, there’s just 33 points that cover those 15 drivers, so there could be plenty of movement further down the standings.

Besides di Grassi, Jerome d’Ambrosio is the other active Mexico City winner in the field. He inherited the win after di Grassi’s DQ in 2016. The Dragon Racing driver scored his first points this season in Santiago, with four for eighth place.

TV coverage for the weekend is solely on FOX Sports 2. Qualifying airs Saturday, March 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET, leading straight into live race coverage at 4:30 p.m. ET. Lights are out just after 5 p.m. ET, 4 p.m. CT and local time.

Here’s a video preview from the series of Round 5, dubbed the “Mexican standoff.”

Meanwhile, here’s a highlight package from the first four rounds of the season, below.

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