Formula E

Samba in Sao Paulo: Questions & answers about the Formula E premiere in Brazil

Tobias Bluhm

Tobias Bluhm

For nearly a decade, Formula E has been trying to organize a race in Brazil. Now the plans are finally being turned into reality: This weekend (March 25), the electric series will race in South America's largest country for the first time at the Sao Paulo E-Prix. How the chances are for the title aspirants, what challenges the track holds, and why the weather could play a decisive role, you can read in our race preview.

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In particular for the two drivers from Brazil involved in Formula E - Lucas di Grassi and Sergio Sette Camara - the next race weekend should be a very special one. Di Grassi has been promoting an E-Prix in his hometown for years - even at 'e-Formel.de'. At a press meeting, both already visited the course in Sao Paulo two weeks ago. The hype is undoubtedly there - now all that's missing is the race next Saturday!

Where exactly will the first Formula E race in Brazil take place?

Sao Paulo is the largest city in the southern hemisphere of the earth: more than 12.4 million people live here. Centuries ago, indigenous peoples lived in what is now the city, before Portuguese colonialists took the land and founded Sao Paulo in 1554. Today, the city is the economic center of Brazil and is known for its size, its skyscrapers and the "hustle and bustle" on its streets.

Formula E uses the facilities of the Anhembi Sambadrome in Sao Paulo, the very streets where thousands of people party together during annual carnival celebrations. Incidentally, it is not the first motorsport series to hold a race here: Between 2010 and 2013, an IndyCar race was held annually on an adapted version of the Formula E track.

Fast Facts | Sao Paulo

  • The city's residents:are called "Paulistanos" - not to be confused with "Paulistas," the residents:of the state surrounding Sao Paulo.
  • Every second restaurant in Sao Paulo is a pizzeria. This is also due to the large percentage of Italian emigrants:inside who have settled in the city. An estimated 720 pizzas are baked here per minute.
  • There are said to be an incredible seven million cars in Sao Paulo, which regularly paralyze the city's traffic network. On average, motorists:inside the city spend 102 hours a year in traffic jams. Those who have a little more money therefore like to help themselves to the world's largest fleet of helicopters in one city (210 heliports).
  • In the middle of Sao Paulo there is one of the largest coffee plantations in the world: In the Biology Institute of the University of Sao Paulos grow more than 1,500 coffee plants.
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  • In 1958, Rhino Cacareco received more than 100,000 votes in Sao Paulo's mayoral election - more than any other party. Election officials, however, did not recognize her victory. The popular carnival song "Cacareco e o maior" is about the rhinoceros.

Who will broadcast the Formula E race in Sao Paulo on TV & Livestream?

The time difference to Sao Paulo is currently four hours. The sessions end for European Zuschauer:innen accordingly all in the second half of the day. As is now customary, the race weekend begins on Friday with the 1st free practice session. All other sessions will be held on Saturday.

Session Datum Wochentag Start TV/Stream Session Ende TV/Stream TV-Sender/Website
1. Freies Training 24.03.2023 Freitag 20:25 20:30-21:00 21:15 e-Formel.de
2. Freies Training 25.03.2023 Samstag 11:25 11:30-12:00 12:15 e-Formel.de
Qualifying 25.03.2023 Samstag 13:30 13:40-14:55 15:05 ran.de
Rennen 25.03.2023 Samstag 17:30 18:03-19:00 19:20 ProSieben / ran.de

* alle Angaben in Mitteleuropäischer Zeit (MEZ)

In Germany, ProSieben will broadcast the Formula E race from Sao Paulo as usual. Qualifying will be streamed at ran.de. All free practice sessions can be followed as usual on the livestream page of e-Formel.de. Eurosport 2 will also be showing the Sao Paulo E-Prix in full, incidentally also in Switzerland and Austria. There, however, fans can also follow the race on ORF Sport+ or in the ORF TVthek. In Switzerland, the race will also run in the program of the pay channel MySports Edge.

What distinguishes the race track in Sao Paulo?

Similar to the last Formula E race in Cape Town, teams in Brazil can expect a high-speed track. The street circuit in Sao Paulo is characterized by an alternation of asphalt and concrete and a large number of longer straights. The drivers have to negotiate a total of eleven corners over 2.933 kilometers.

The best overtaking spots are likely to be at the ends of long straights, for example in turns 1, 4, 7 or 10. With a total length of around 745 meters, the start/finish straight is the longest full-flow passage on the current Formula E calendar - speeds of over 250 km/h should be possible at its end. The attack zone is on the outside lane of turn 3.

What has happened since the last race in Cape Town?

The FIA adopted a new set of rules for Formula E, but in which only smaller passages were adjusted. For example, the World Automobile Association raised the maximum race duration - from 60 minutes previously to a maximum of 75 minutes now. Far more relevant to the Sao Paulo E-Prix is likely to be a change to the rearview mirrors that the FIA has developed with its technical partners in recent weeks. The new mirror design is to be will be installed starting this race weekend and will improve rearward visibility for drivers.

Mahindra Racing was at the same time feverishly on a solution to the suspension problem, which most recently in South Africa made it impossible for their own cars and the cars from customer team ABT Cupra to start. For the Brazil race the wishbones were strengthened, so that - so the hope of the manufacturer - nothing more should stand in the way of a start. In all likelihood, Robin Frijns will also be back in action at ABT.

In what order will the drivers go into qualifying?

In Formula E, qualifying takes place in two sections: Group Stage and Knockout Stage. For group qualifying, the driver field is first divided into two halves, with all drivers in the odd championship places (places 1, 3, 5, 7, etc.) competing in group A, and those in the even places in group B.

The four drivers in each group who set the fastest lap times in their group after twelve minutes will then move on to the quarter-finals, where they will duel it out for the best grid positions from then on. For the Sao Paulo E-Prix, this results in the following composition for the qualifying groups.

What will be the weather in Sao Paulo?

Sao Paulo is located in the tropical climate zone - the late summer day in Brazil could be correspondingly humid. Not entirely by chance, the place bears the nickname "city of drizzle". Meteorologists are currently forecasting temperatures of up to 24 degrees Celsius, with rain showers not unlikely. Several days before the race, however, it is still unclear whether the current forecast will come true.

Who are the favorites?

After the excellent start to the season by Jake Dennis (Andretti) and Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche), the world championship leading duo have let some feathers recently. Both need another good result in Sao Paulo to consolidate their positions. However, Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske) and Antonio Felix da Costa (Porsche) are likely to object to this: The ex-champions are currently in the chasing positions in the drivers' standings and have won the last two races in India and South Africa.

Also in good form is Nick Cassidy (Envision), who has been on the podium at the last two rounds. In addition, it will certainly be interesting to look at the local heroes: Lucas di Grassi has already managed to make it into the knockout duels twice in four qualifying appearances in 2023, and Sette Camara also performed very well at times. Buoyed by the support of the home crowd, it would not be surprising if they were able to race at the front in Sao Paulo.

It should be exciting either way: Because slipstreaming can play a big role in 2023, we don't expect the leadership battle to be decided until late in the race.

By the way: Also in the 2023 Formula E season, our readers:inside have organized a free community typing game round. Who wants to participate, still has time until the weekend to submit the first tips or sign up new!

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