1.Techeetah in full force
The 2018/2019 Formula E season has been synonymous with DS Techeetah coming to the forefront in races following a minor ‘disaster’ that may have befallen them. Drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer have navigated numerous trials and tribulations to salvage significant points despite arguably having the package to beat. A raft of driver errors curtailed their charge in Marrakesh, while a bout of systematic errors all but ruled them out in the season opener.
With round 3 on the horizon, it could be time for Techeetah to hit back, with the Series champion leading their charge. After all, this is the place the defending champions claimed the first 1-2 in the series’ history last season, ultimately this could prove to be a good omen for the Chinese outfit.
This year’s Marrakesh E-Prix will forever be remembered for the lamentable collision between the two BMW Andretti drivers while they ran in a comfortable 1-2 position. The aftermath of this is sure to have a ripple affect, despite both Alexander Sims and Antonio Felix Da Costa putting on a brave face for the cameras. The reaction from team boss Roger Griffiths could surely prove pivotal in the title battle for BMW. Ultimately, potential laws of engagement could be revisited should the incident at the head of the order in Marrakesh become a regular occurrence.
BMW weren’t the only team to suffer an inter-team calamity. With new boys HWA, also suffering a similar fate on the opening lap, with driver Stoffel Vandoorne and Gray Paffett coming unstuck. The grid’s newest entities must settle the potential flames of angst between teammates, or risk losing even more valuable track time as they begin to truly understand their Gen 2 packages.
3. Wehrlein’s real first impression
The saying “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” hasn’t rung true in the case of FE debutant Pascal Wehrlein. The German made his debut in Marrakesh, impressing heavily by out-qualifying more experienced teammate Jerome D’ambrosio. However, after his excellence in qualifying, he was given a reality check after succumbing to damage in a first corner shunt with Lucas Di Grassi. An incident which the Mahindra incumbent was clearly dissatisfied with, to say the least. TThis feeling was surely amplified by his teammate deservedly receiving plaudits from far and wide following his dazzling drive to win and take the championship lead.
Wehrlein must look to bounce back. Scoring points in Santiago would certainly begin to appease the pain of Marrakesh. The equally talented and ambitious young German may have his sights set on a bigger prize than mere points, possibly aiming to match his teammates own early-season achievements would certainly be a step in the right direction.
4. The all-Audi showdown
Envision Virgin Racing and Audi has been two teams who have enjoyed success throughout Formula E’s formative years. For Season 5, both teams are powered by the Audi e-Tron FE05 and the comparison between two of the sport’s major players with the same powertrain matched with four equally brilliant drivers has set FE fans into daydreaming of all the possible battles.
As we head into Santiago, the form-book has been as expected murky, with the factory Audi squad leading the way in Ad-Diriyah, before a double podium for their customer team turned the tables. It was in Marrakesh where the Audi/Virgin battle first materialized, with Bird, Frijns and Di Grassi battling in close quarters throughout. The question is which one of the two teams with the legendary four ceiling rings on their nose will Impress the most and what will the Audi top brass do if the works team is out-performed by their customers?
5. Can the bottom four get off the mark?
Season 5 of the Formula E championship has been unpredictable, to say the least, but it hasn’t benefited the four teams at the bottom of the championship.
Dragon Racing, NIO, Venturi and newcomers HWA have all yet to score points, with only the aforementioned Dragon looking likely prior to Jose Maria Lopez’s incident in the season opener. Their fortunes in Santiago will be scrutinized with neither of the four wanting to take out FE’s unofficial ‘wooden spoon’.
Dragon arguably looks most likely to break their dust, with ‘Pechito’ running in the points for vast amounts of both of the opening pair of races. However, struggles seem to be more permanent at the other three outfits. NIO seems out of pace, with the only moment being Tom Dillman’s latterly penalised brilliant run in Ad-Diryah qualifying. Meanwhile, both Venturi supplied squads are in the doldrums.
HWA, in particular, need track time truly get to grips with the steep learning curve required in FE. Meanwhile, their Monegasque counterparts haven’t fared much better with high profile signing, Felipe Massa struggling in midfield obscurity.
At the very least, this quartet will produce scintillating racing, with a high profile cast, even FE’s relative minnows will want to shine in Santiago The battle to avoid the bottom will be fought as fiercely as it is at the Paris end of the grid.
Images ABB Formula E
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