"Hope it's safe!"- Jean-Eric Vergne fears strong gusts of wind at Formula E premiere in Cape Town
Formula E will race on one of the fastest tracks in its history at its South African debut in Cape Town. With the weather forecast calling for gusts of wind on Saturday, some drivers are expressing safety concerns about the high-speed sections of the circuit. For other drivers like Nick Cassidy, however, the wind is of no concern.
After it was still relatively windless in recent days at the Cape of Good Hope, this is expected to change over the weekend: According to current weather forecasts, wind gusts of 30 km/h and more must be expected in Cape Town on Saturday. That could well have an impact on the Formula E cars, as some drivers have confirmed.
"I can't remember a race with so much wind," Jean-Eric Vergne described in the Friday lunchtime press conference. "So I don't know what to expect. I just hope it's still safe for us. Because if a gust of wind catches you in the middle of a high-speed corner, you hit the wall, and that's pretty dangerous. So it's up to the FIA to decide whether we can still race. I haven't seen the exact forecasts, but I hope we can race in safe conditions."
"If we're talking about 60 or 70 km/h strong winds, then you can imagine it's going to be interesting on the way to turn 8," ABT driver Kelvin van der Linde also sees a risk. Speaking to the microphone of 'e-Formel.de', the local hero continues: "This is a topic that is currently very much on our minds. So far this week there has been no wind. That will certainly be a big challenge. We have a big front wing, and especially in the direction of turn 8, that can have its effects."
Mortara: "A few corners here are already dangerous even without wind"
"I think we have quite a few fast corners where the wind plays a big role," says Maserati MSG driver Edoardo Mortara when asked by 'e-Formel.de'. "It makes life harder for us. And a few corners here are already dangerous even without wind. But in the end it's the same for everyone, and we have to see how we deal with it."
In the same vein, his teammate Max Günther says: "We can only do our job and set up the car as well as possible to get good stability and great confidence in the car," the German told us. "Sure, the high-speed passages and the braking points can be influenced by the wind. It can also play a role in the race in terms of slipstream. But we take it as it comes and adjust to it."
Di Grassi: "Safety issue? At most in a hurricane!"
"It's already getting windier," Lucas di Grassi described to our microphone. "In this car, the wind doesn't change that much. But a strong wind could affect the lift-off profile, the point where you take your foot off the pedal before a corner. Whether you have a tailwind or a headwind changes a lot. It could also have an impact in the high-speed passages. We'll wait and see what the wind will be like tomorrow and adjust accordingly."
"It's not a safety issue, though, at most in a hurricane," di Grassi jokes. "If there is no wind at 100 km/h, the car might move a bit more. But not in such a way that it becomes a safety issue."
"These cars aren't affected that much by the wind," Nick Cassidy, on the other hand, tells our microphone. "So that's not going to be a problem. I think it's okay." Whether the wind will have an influence, we will see from 4 p.m. (CET). Then the 1st free practice begins in Cape Town - to follow in the livestream and liveticker on e-Formel.de..