Formula E

Premiere at cherry blossom time: Preview of the Formula E debut in Tokyo 2024

Svenja König

Svenja König

For a long time, Tokyo was on Formula E's wish list, but now it's finally time for: Konnichiwa! On the Easter weekend - just in time for the cherry blossom season - Formula E will be travelling to Japan for the first time. In addition to the new track, the focus will also be on the team from local manufacturer Nissan, which will be contesting its first home race. Everything you need to know before the race is summarised in our preview below.

Where exactly does the Formula E race take place?

As the world's fourth-largest economy, Japan has long been on Formula E's wish list. Now the electric series has found a suitable location in the capital city of Tokyo, which also hosted the Olympic Games a few years ago. The history of the giga-metropolis dates back to 1446, when Edo Castle was built in the bay of present-day Tokyo. This is why Tokyo was called Edo for a long time. It was not until 1890 that the city was renamed Tokyo. Today, it is the economic, political, scientific and cultural centre of Japan.

The Formula E race will take place on one of the peninsulas in Tokyo Bay, which are connected to the mainland by bridges. The track itself has been built along the waterfront promenade and around the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition centre. From Grandstand C, you could also catch a glimpse of the Tokyo Gate Bridge, which is expected to provide some aesthetic TV images.

Fast Facts | Tokyo

  • Counting the outlying areas, Tokyo is the largest city in the world - and also the most densely populated with 6,000 people per square kilometre. By comparison, Germany has an average of 230 people per square kilometre and Berlin 4,000.
  • The Shibuya intersection is the most frequently used intersection in Tokyo and in the world. There are five pedestrian paths and several unofficial paths in between. A total of 2,500 people cross the road here during a green phase. That would be the equivalent of more than 30,000 people during a Formula E race.
  • In Tokyo, you can buy almost anything from vending machines - from fruit and hamburgers to clothes. A total of 4,000,000 vending machines are spread across the city. This means that there is one vending machine for every 23 people.
  • One of these vending machines is installed every twelve metres. Accordingly, 216 vending machines would have to be put around the Formula E track to cover one lap.
  • In addition, 50,000 sushi rolls - Japan's most famous dish - would have to be lined up to complete a lap of the Formula E track in Tokyo.

Who is broadcasting the Tokyo Formula E race on TV & livestream?

Coverage of the qualifying and race sessions depend on the region you're in. e-Formula.news offers free Formula E live streams for the free practice sessions though. Here's the schedule for the weekend (CET).

Session Date Day of the Week Start TV/Stream Session End TV/Stream TV channel/website
Free Practice 1 29.03.2024 Friday 08:25 08:30-09:00 09:15 e-Formula.news
Free Practice 2 29./30.03.2024 Friday/Saturday 23:55 00:00-00:30 00:45 e-Formula.news
Qualifying 30.03.2024 Saturday 03:00 02:20-03:43 03:50 depends on region
Race 30.03.2024 Saturday 06:55 07:03-07:53 08:15 depends on region

 
* all times in Central European Time (CET)

What characterises the race track in Tokyo?

The layout in Tokyo is characterised by two different sections: Firstly, a very technical first sector with many consecutive corners awaits. The attack zone is also set up in turn 4. This is followed by a faster section with four straights, of which the long back straight and the straight before the start/finish should offer overtaking opportunities, although the latter was defused by a chicane just a few days before the race.

It can be assumed that the slipstream effect will not be as strong as in the recent race in Sao Paulo. In terms of dynamics, Tokyo is likely to be more similar to the race in Diriyah. The drivers and teams are also assuming that it could be difficult to overtake on the track - especially in the first sector. We have dedicated an article to the new track with numerous statements from drivers & teams.

What has happened since the last race in Tokyo

It's only been a week and a half since Sao Paulo, so the news between the races in Brazil and Japan has been correspondingly quiet. Nevertheless, there were a few news items.

In which order will the drivers start qualifying?

In Formula E, qualifying takes place in two stages: Group stage and knockout stage. For group qualifying, the driver field is initially divided into two halves, with all drivers in the odd-numbered championship positions (positions 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.) competing in Group A and the drivers in the even-numbered positions in Group B. The four drivers with the fastest lap times in their group after twelve minutes will then progress to the quarter-finals, where they will duel for the best grid positions. The qualifying groups for the Tokyo E-Prix are as follows.

What will the weather be like in Tokyo?

Formula E can expect good weather in Tokyo. While clouds and four hours of rain are still forecast for Friday, the skies are expected to clear on Saturday. Rain is currently not forecast for race day. Temperatures will be between 10 and 20 degrees Celsius.

Who are the favourites?

Nissan is back on track just in time for its home race. The Japanese team recently finished on the podium twice in a row with Oliver Rowland. If you count the success of the McLaren customer team in Sao Paulo, they were even right at the top. That's why veterans Rowland and Sam Bird should be on the radar, as well as Sacha Fenestraz, who has not yet arrived 100 per cent in season 10 after good results in 2023.

Looking at the races so far, Mitch Evans and Nick Cassidy in the Jaguar as well as Porsche heavyweights Pascal Wehrlein and Jake Dennis are undoubtedly among the favourites. But the Stellantis drivers also have a chance of winning, if you look at DS's strong qualifying and Max Günther's race pace in Sao Paulo. But that's the beauty of Formula E: before one of the most important races in recent years, it's impossible to predict who will come out on top.

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