Formula E drivers explain: This is what matters on "fantastic" new race track in India
Formula E will start in India for the first time on Friday. For the Hyderabad E-Prix (and other Indian racing series), the metropolis has built a new street circuit that promises plenty of action. Various drivers praise the track layout, but the external conditions could also contribute to an exciting race....
"The circuit looks great and feels great," says Maserati driver Max Guenther, who is looking to secure his first World Championship points of the year in India. Team-mate Edo Mortara agrees: "After some time in the simulator we can say: The track is very interesting to drive. The hard braking zones before turns 1 and 3 should make some overtaking maneuvers possible. Since the circuit is completely new, it will be very important to get as much track time as possible in practice."
The 2.835-kilometer street circuit in Hyderabad winds along the Hussain Sagar Lake and through the "NTR Gardens" city park. A total of 18 curves are spread across the challenging course.
After the start and the first two first curves, a long high-speed straight already follows, which offers the 22 drivers good overtaking opportunities. Here, the tires can also cool down a bit. The straight after turn 14 also provides the drivers with a chance to improve their position.
Van der Linde: "Will definitely be a spectacular race".
"This is a very cool track," thinks ABT Cupra driver Nico Müller. "Especially at the chicane on the long straight, we all do not really know what to expect. The following tight hairpin will then be very exciting once again."
After the preparations in the simulator, the pilots would have a first impression, but there are still many unknowns. "The track is a lot of fun in the simulator. It's about finding a good rhythm. How the asphalt is, and how many bumps there are, we then only see on site," explains Müller.
His teammate Kelvin van der Linde also says: "After my first experience in the simulator, I can say that the track is great, but it will also be a big challenge. I've also looked at onboard footage from other series that have raced there. There are some overtaking opportunities, so it's bound to be a spectacular race."
Video: Real onboard lap from the Indian Racing Leage.
Jaguar technical director Phil Charles reports on his team's preparation in the simulator. The track looks "fantastic," he said. "It has decent asphalt and very few bumps between the start/finish line and turn 1. There is a complex and interesting entry into turn 3. Some corners have difficult entry and exit combinations."
Heat poses challenge to man & machine.
"On top of that, we can expect ambient temperatures around 30 degrees - so it will be a challenge for the drivers," Charles continued. "With a high average power per lap, it will also be tough on the tires and mechanics of the car. So it should be an exciting race."
Hankook engineer Thomas Baltes also believes the Hyderabad E-Prix could be "a hot ride" for Formula E's new tire. That's because the sunshine and warm air are also expected to result in very high asphalt temperatures. "After the challenge of the cool night temperatures in Diriyya for the Hankook iON Race, now comes the other extreme. It will be very hot on the track in India. Another aspect is the very high humidity."
This is something some drivers fear as well. Nissan driver Norman Nato says, "It's going to be hot and humid. So we're very excited to see how that affects the new Gen3 car. Physically, the conditions will also make it difficult, but we know our goals, and it's just up to us to achieve them."
One man, on the other hand, has the "knife between his teeth": after a disappointing start to the season, Mitch Evans is looking to make the new track in India work for him: "I'm always happy when it's a new track. Of course, new surfaces and external conditions are a challenge, but we've had great success on new courses in the past. Last year I won both race premieres in Jakarta and Seoul. If we can continue that streak this weekend in Hyderabad, we'll take some points with us."
The 1st free practice session already starts on Friday at noon German time. After two more sessions in the "European night" from Friday to Saturday, the race start is scheduled for 10:30 on Saturday morning. ProSieben will broadcast live on TV. e-Formel.de will accompany all sessions as usual in the Hankook Formula E Liveticker as well as the training sessions in the livestream.