Formula E

New track in Sao Paulo promises overtaking spectacle: "A true classic Formula E circuit"

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

For the third race in a row, a brand-new track awaits the Formula E drivers at this weekend's Sao Paulo E-Prix. The very fast circuit at the Sambadrome takes the 22 drivers clockwise over 2.933 kilometers through eleven turns and over unusually long straights. These could not only provide a new top speed record but also numerous overtaking maneuvers. Pilots and team officials reveal what will matter in Brazil.

"In Sao Paulo, we're racing on a street circuit that was used in the IndyCar Series from 2010 to 2013 and is really a fantastic track," finds Phil Charles, technical director of Jaguar TCS Racing. "It differs from Hyderabad and Cape Town in that it has four long straights with large braking zones. Drivers need to build confidence in the brakes." To avoid costly wheel lockup, he said, teams need to optimize system settings.

Along with these setup changes, Jeremy Colancon, race director at Maserati MSG Racing, also explained, "The Sao Paulo circuit is characterized by many long straights, strong braking zones and slow corners. It is therefore very different from the last races on the calendar, especially compared to Cape Town. For this reason, it will be very important for us to modify the stability in particular to enable better turning ability in the corners."

Theenergy management will play a big role, Colancon is sure: "Sao Paulo is an energy-intensive track, and it will be quite difficult for teams and drivers to meet their energy targets lap after lap." A lot of recuperation will be needed to get through the laps, he says, because "the long straights will also consume a lot of energy." A good balance here, he said, is the key to success.

Wind shadow "of great importance"

Another way to conserve energy will also come into play in Brazil: "The wind shadow has been a key factor in the Gen3 era of Formula E so far, and it will be of great importance this weekend as well," Colancon is certain. "The many straights in Sao Paulo will increase the effect of slipstreaming - not only in terms of speed, but also in terms of energy saving. It will be crucial to carefully monitor, use and manage it from a strategic perspective."

Windshadow and track layout alike will make for "lots of overtaking," all involved agree. "The track seems to favor overtaking attempts," believes Nissan driver Sacha Fenestraz. His teammate Norman Nato concurs: "There are a lot of slow chicanes, and on paper overtaking seems easier than on other tracks."

Nevertheless, attacks in the race could well become a balancing act on the Sao Paulo track, as "it looks incredibly bumpy, which will be an added challenge," Nato says. Fenestraz also speaks of an "extremely uneven" surface.

"Qualifying should be less important"

"The best places to overtake are turns 1, 4, 7 and 10," Colancon explains, "but the battle for first place will increasingly last until the last lap," he predicts. "It will be important to be efficient throughout the race in order to be able to strike in the closing stages. Also, qualifying should be less important this weekend."

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Maserati driver Edo Mortara is already looking forward to the tasks the fast street circuit in Brazil will present him with, "The track itself is very technical and will test many different aspects of performance - as a driver, that's a challenge I welcome."

ABT driver Nico Müller agrees, summing up, "The track itself is again a true classic Formula E circuit: very technical, some 90-degree corners, exciting combinations and long straights with overtaking opportunities at the end." Already on Friday evening at 8:30 p.m. (CET), the 1st free practice session will start in Sao Paulo - to be followed in the livestream and liveticker on e-Formel.de.

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