Formula E Zurich Preview

June 7, 2018

Formula E Zurich Preview

June 7, 2018

The ABB FIA Formula E Championship races in Zurich, Switzerland Sunday in what may be a monumental weekend for both series and country.

Motorsport has been banned in Switzerland for more than 60 years. Formula E’s 10th round of its fourth season will bring circuit racing back to the country.

Rain is possible, and if it does occur, would mark the first wet race in Formula E history. Michelin’s tires in Formula E are designed for all weather conditions, on either dry or wet tracks.

Zurich’s street circuit is an 11-turn, 2.46 km (1.52 mile) track. It runs along the lake promenade, through the banking quarter and Zurich’s city center.

Those in attendance may get to see a new champion crowned, if the cards fall Jean-Eric Vergne’s way. The Techeetah driver enters the weekend with a 40-point gap to Sam Bird of DS Virgin Racing.

A maximum score is 29 points, if a driver wins (25 points), scores pole (three) and sets the fastest race lap (one).

With three races remaining, there are a maximum 87 points remaining. If Vergne leaves Zurich with a 59-point lead or more, he’ll wrap the championship before the doubleheader weekend in New York in July.

Vergne has three wins to Bird’s two this season. He’d be able to clinch the title if he outscores Bird by 19 points or more on Sunday. Vergne can do this if he finishes in the top two positions, and if Bird finishes either fifth or worse (if Vergne wins) or outside the points altogether.

Bird has finished in the top five in seven of nine races. Vergne has been in the top-five in all nine races this year and is the only driver to do so.

So it’s not a likely scenario, but it’s still possible. However if Vergne stumbles, Bird will be in with a proper chance to close the gap. Of note, Bird’s DS Virgin team announced Alex Tai is stepping down as team principal and CEO.

Unless Vergne has a disastrous weekend, all others will be mathematically eliminated in Zurich.

Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist is third in points but 76 back of Vergne. Two-time winner Daniel Abt of Audi Sport is fourth, ahead of the series’ last two champions, Sebastien Buemi (season two) and Lucas di Grassi (season three). Only 10 points separate these four drivers.

Although neither Buemi nor di Grassi has won this season, they’ve still had good form of late. Renault e.dams’ Buemi has finished between second and sixth in six of the last seven races. Audi’s di Grassi is riding a run of four straight runner-up finishes. Surely the top step can’t be that far away.

Buemi will have the opportunity to race on home soil. Two other Swiss drivers, Edoardo Mortara (Venturi) and Neel Jani (Dragon) have raced in Formula E this season. Tom Dillmann filled in for Mortara the last race in Berlin, while Jani raced only the season opening weekend in Hong Kong before parting ways with his team.

Coverage this weekend is as follows: Qualifying airs Sunday 10:30-11:30am et on FS2, leading straight into live racing from 11:30-1pm on FS1.

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