FE: Red Hot Chile – Santiago E-Prix Preview

The start of the year is normally a tough time for the average motorsport fan. Traditionally, it is a quiet time with most series’ preparing for the upcoming season which will begin in March.

But Formula E isn’t traditional.

Which is good. We like this.

The FE circus returns for round 3 of Season 6 in Santiago at the Parque O’Higgins Circuit slap bang in the middle of the city!

Changes have been made to the track following last years event in which the turn eight and nine chicane was essentially ripped open by the fast cars in the blistering heat.

Ambient temperatures reached 37 degrees and the track temperature exceeding 62 degrees which under hard braking into a fast chicane pulled apart the asphalt. This year it is now the sweeping fast left hander of turn 8.

What happened last year?

Last year’s race was an attritional one. Sebastien Buemi, Sam Bird and Pascal Wehrlein fought as the leading pack for the most of the race whilst an exuberant midfield tripped over one another throughout the race.

The defining point came when Nissan e.dams driver Buemi slid on the highly marbled track into the wall, handing the lead and eventually the win to Bird who went onto lead the championship after the race.

In only his second Formula E race Wehrlein impressed everyone with his immediate pace but had to back off from attacking Bird later on in the race to save his battery from overheating.

The man of season 6, Alexander Sims, in case you didn’t know, nearly scored his first podium but was slammed with a penalty for a collision with Venturi racer, Edoardo Mortara.

What’s been happening this season?

The aforementioned Sims is coming into this race on many a high. 3 pole positions on the bounce, very nearly winning race 1 in Riyadh and soundly dominating race 2.

The deft and dapper Englishman is leading the championship from by 5 points from Mercedes driver Stoffel Vandoorne who scored two third places at the first weekend with his new team.

Bird is third in the standings after winning the first race and crashing out in the second race after incidents with Mitch Evans and Pascal Wehrlein.

Already, 11 out of the 12 teams have scored points promising a highly contested season from the get go.

Alexander Sims (GBR) BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.20, leads at the start of the race © FIA Formula E
Alexander Sims (GBR) BMW I Andretti Motorsports, BMW iFE.20, leads at the start of the race © FIA Formula E

What to expect from this weekend?

It will be interesting to see whether Mercedes and Porsche can continue the strong form they displayed out of the traps in Riyadh.

Both teams scoring podiums on debut against very established Formula E players is incredibly impressive.

Mercedes have left Saudia Arabia leading the Teams Championship which is a far cry from the performance of HWA last season.

As ever with Formula E the only established form is that there is none.

Anyone can compete and it will be down to the driver on the day to put in the performance.

The Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix is on Saturday 18th January. All details on how to watch can be found here on the Formula E website.

Drivers Standings

1 Alexander Sims BMW-I Andretti Motorsport 35
2 Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes-Benz EQ 30
3 Sam Bird Envision Virgin Racing 26
4 Oliver Rowland Nissan e.dams 22
5 Lucas Di Grassi Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 18
6 Andre Lotterer Tag Heuer Porsche FE Team 18
7 Edoardo Mortara Rokit Venturi Racing 18
8 Robin Frijns Envision Virgin Racing 10
9 Nyck De Vries Mercedes-Benz EQ 8
10 Daniel Abt Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 8
11 James Calado Panasonic Jaguar Racing 6
12 Jean-Eric Vergne DS Techeetah 4
13 Antonio Felix Da Costa DS Techeetah 3
14 Brendon Hartley GEOX Dragon 2
15 Jerome D’Ambrosio Mahindra Racing 2
16 Mitch Evans Panasonic Jaguar Racing 2
17 Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra Racing 0
18 Max Gunther BMW i-Andretti Motorsport 0
19 Felipe Massa Rokit Venturi Racing 0
20 Sebastian Buemi Nissan e.dams 0
21 Neel Jani Tag Heuer Porsche FE Team 0
22 Oliver Turvey NIO 333 FE Team 0
23 Ma Qing Hua NIO 333 FE Team 0
24 Nico Muller GEOX Dragon 0

Teams Standings

1 Mercedes-Benz EQ 38
2 Envision Virgin Racing 36
3 BMW-i Andretti Motorsport 35
4 Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 26
5 Nissan e.dams 22
6 Tag Heuer Porsche FE Team 18
7 Rokit Venturi Racing 18
8 Panasonic Jaguar Racing 8
9 DS Techeetah 7
10 Mahindra Racing 2
11 GEOX Dragon 2
12 NIO 333 FE Team 0