ONES TO WATCH: Can the Brazilian's score big at home?

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ONES TO WATCH: Can the Brazilian's score big at home?

With two Brazilian drivers on the grid in the shape of Lucas di Grassi and Sergio Sette Camara, will the pair experience Samba success in Sao Paulo? Here's some drivers to consider in your Predictor line-ups as we get set for Formula E's debut in Brazil.

sette camara nio 333 helmet

Brazil has produced some legendary racing drivers over the years, and the nation is one of the most successful in Formula E with the famous Brazilian flag flying on the podium a total of 47 times - the most of any nation and the South American country sits third on the all-time nations win list.

For the inaugural race in Sao Paulo, there are two Brazilians lining up on the grid: Lucas di Grassi for Mahindra Racing and NIO 333's Sergio Sette Camara - both drivers ready for this historic moment and ready for the encouraging cheers of a home crowd.

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For the win

From what we've seen so far this season the chance of a home win might be out of reach for di Grassi and Sette Camara, but there's another Portuguese speaker on the grid who may find some success around the Sambadrome.

TAG Heuer Porsche's Antonio Felix da Costa sees this race as a home race, the Portuguese driver often visits Brazil in the off-season for some stock car racing and is popular with the local fans. 

After a slow start since joining Porsche for the start of the GEN3 era, the Season 6 champion dashed to victory in Cape Town, and showing a similar form to that title winning year with DS - the DAC is back.

And there's a pattern to this similarity, after joining DS it took da Costa five races until he took a debut win for the black and gold squad. A feat he has copied since joining Porsche in Season 9, what followed in his championship winning year was a dominant drive with a further two race victories of the bounce.


The odds of this happening again are likely to be slim, but the Portuguese driver is adaptable as demonstrated by his performances on new tracks this season - fourth on the road/promoted to third in Hyderabad and then the victory in Cape Town, with another new track on the horizon he could be looking good for another victory. 

Speed meets efficiency and an ability to charge through the field has been Porsche's strength in Season 9. Da Costa came through from 11th to win last time out and his teammate and current championship leader Pascal Wehrlein also achieved similar runs to double victory in Diriyah.

The German had a race to forget in Cape Town, crashing out of the race but by virtue of his points tally he left South Africa still with a decent hand on the standings lead. Wehrlein will be eager to put Cape Town behind him and score big in Brazil, there's only so many times he'll be able to DNF and get away with it as his challengers close the gap.

Podium potentials

The previous two races have seen the same three drivers grace the podium, the first time this has happened back-to-back in Formula E history, with da Costa joined by DS PENSKE's Jean-Eric Vergne and Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) in both Hyderabad and Cape Town.

JEV was part of the titanic tussle with da Costa in the final stages. The Frenchman admitted to being caught by surprise from the audacious move his former teammate made in the fast section in Cape Town, but ultimately considered championship ramifications as he went wheel-to-wheel with da Costa - it's this kind of consistency that took Vergne to title success in the past and something that we saw from reigning champion and his DS PENSKE teammate Stoffel Vandoorne last season.

The two-time champion has been on a resurgence this season after, much like da Costa, initially struggling in new surroundings. With the new DS PENSKE guise, the outfit are looking stronger and stronger at each outing as JEV now finds himself third in the standings and within arms' reach of second.

vergne victory hyderabad

Di Grassi opened up his season with a fine first podium and a pole position with Mahindra Racing in Mexico City. In the four races since, Formula E's first centurion hasn't picked up any points and became the last driver to have a 100% appearance record - after all the Mahindra-powered cars were withdrawn in Cape Town.

The former champion is a hometown hero, hailing from Sao Paulo and born within minutes of the circuit. South America has been good for di Grassi in terms of previous form, the Brazilian has five podiums across the continent but has yet to stand on the top step - will we see di Grassi on the top step draped in the famous flag?

A debut pole and the second youngest pole-sitter in history in his rookie campaign, Sacha Fenestraz was fearless around the high speed street circuit in Cape Town and Sao Paulo is expected to be another fast affair. Born France but raised in Argentina, the Nissan driver is treating Sao Paulo like a home race.

The French-Argentine has been taken out of contention from two decent finishes in the last two races. Fenestraz was running in a solid fourth place and building pace in Hyderabad when he was an innocent party caught up in the collision between the two Jaguar TCS Racing drivers. Then in Cape Town, the rookie had a coming together with Cassidy in a tense fight for the final podium position on the last lap. Fenestraz will be looking to turn around his fortunes in front of his friends and family on Saturday.

One-lap pace

NIO 333 are having one of their best seasons in recent years, coming off the back of two points scoring finishes in a row, something that hasn't happened since the first season in their former guise as China Racing. But, it has been over one-lap where the NIO's have been at their strongest, demonstrated by Dan Ticktum having made two Duels appearances in Season 9.

His teammate Sette Camara is now one of three drivers to have appeared at every race this year without reaching the Duel stages. With the age old motorsport adage of racing in front of a home crowd being worth a few extra tenths a second per lap, could we see the Brazilian break his Duels duck in Season 9? 

buemi in action diriyah
Buemi looks refreshed since joining Envision Racing in Season 9, but a podium still eludes the former champ

One driver who has flown in qualifying is Sebastien Buemi, he's still going strong in green since moving to Envision Racing, and is the only driver on the grid to have reached the Duel stages at every race so far in 2023 and has the highest average starting position (4.4). Cape Town was particularly notable as the Swiss former champion, bounced back from a fast shunt on Friday to make it through to the Duels and qualify his rebuilt GEN3 machine in seventh, and maintain his Duels streak.

NEOM McLaren have had the most Duel appearances of any team in the opening quarter of the season, the drivers in papaya have made seven trips to the knockout stages, three for Jake Hughes and four for Rene Rast, and the German's come in the last four rounds consecutively, a streak only bettered by Buemi's five in a row.

However, the pole hasn't yet been converted to a race victory in Season 9 and this streak can be charted back eight races to London last year - the longest pole-to-win drought in Formula E's history. The best finish from pole came in the hands of di Grassi, when he finished in third place in the opening round in Mexico City.

We've been gone for a month now and the teams will have spent this time going over reams and reams of data, it's crunch time so don't miss out and download the Formula E app to get logging those predictions now for the chance to win.