Formula E

"Seems challenging" - What drivers & teams expect from the new Formula E race track in Tokyo

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

For the first time in its history, Formula E will be making a guest appearance in Tokyo this weekend. Consequently, also the track is new for everyone involved. A few days before the race, the electric series still made some minor adjustments to the layout. Drivers and team bosses talk about the special features of the new street circuit near the Big Sight congress centre.

In the past few days, Formula E has once again made minor changes to the track design. This affected the twisty section shortly after the start and the area of the last chicane before the start and finish straight. The number of corners was reduced from 20 to 18, while the lap length increased slightly to 2.585 kilometres. Drivers can activate attack mode on the outside of turn 4.

The track in front of the Tokyo Gate Bridge is driven anti-clockwise and a typical Formula E street circuit with 90-degree bends and several long straights. "It's a completely different type of track," says McLaren team principal Ian James in comparison to the last race in Sao Paulo. His Porsche colleague Florian Modlinger agrees and adds: "At much lower temperatures."

Lower temperatures affect battery & tyres differently

In contrast to the heat race in Sao Paulo, the batteries should not cause any problems in Tokyo. It will also be a different E-Prix for the tyres. "For the first time this season, we have no reference values to fall back on, as Formula E has not yet held a race in Japan," explains Manfred Sandbichler, Head of Motorsport Europe at tyre supplier Hankook.

"But that was the case at every race in our inaugural 2023 season, and the Hankook iON Race has nevertheless demonstrated its high reliability and great performance everywhere," says Sandbichler confidently and full of anticipation: "The track in Japan is fast, technically demanding and promises to be an absolute highlight in the world championship calendar."

The drivers also have to get used to the new circuit - the same conditions apply to everyone. This suits Maserati driver Jehan Daruvala: "As the only rookie on the grid, I've constantly had to catch up with the others this season. There is a more balanced field in Tokyo and I am in a competitive starting position."

Andretti driver and Formula E world champion Jake Dennis believes he has an even better chance: "In general, the team seems to perform pretty well on new circuits, so I have every confidence in the team and myself to deliver a good result."

"Hardly any breathing space"

"From what we've seen on the simulator, it looks like an exciting track," says team-mate Norman Nato. His Andretti boss, Roger Griffiths, goes into more detail: "The circuit itself looks to be challenging - 18 corners over just over 2.5 kilometres hardly give the drivers any breathing space."

"The first sector from turn 1 to turn 8 looks to be very busy, with all the turns in close succession. But the second half of the circuit then becomes more open with some high-speed sections that lead into tight corners," says the US American.

Max Günther describes the circuit in a similar way: "The Tokyo circuit is a real street circuit with a lot of technical corners, both at low and high speeds. It has a nice flow and is fun in the simulator."

"Particularly bumpy in some sections"

The weather could also play a bigger role in Japan - albeit in a different way to Brazil recently: "As always, the weather in Tokyo can be unpredictable at this time of year. Rain is never far away, which could pose an additional challenge for the team and the drivers," says Griffiths.

Sao Paulo winner Sam Bird adds that the surface conditions of the new circuit could also have an impact: "There are lots of different types of corners and I've heard that it's particularly bumpy in some sections, which will present an additional challenge," said the Briton.

The first official session starts on Friday morning at 8.30 am (CET). From midnight, the action will continue with the second free practice session and qualifying on Friday night. The race in Tokyo starts on Saturday morning at 7 am (CET).

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