What to expect from Formula E's newest race track in Sao Paulo

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What to expect from Formula E's newest race track in Sao Paulo

Formula E heads to a third new circuit on the spin and Sao Paulo, Brazil with the city's Sambadrome providing the location for a unique 11-turn, 2.933km circuit with huge straights and big stops. Expect overtaking, plenty of slipstreaming and critical energy management - say two key engineers in the paddock.

Sao Paulo track walk Formula E

“As we head to Sao Paulo, we move to a street venue, which was used in IndyCar from 2010 – 2013, and really is a fantastic track," says Phil Charles, Jaguar TCS Racing Technical Manager. "It’s quite different to Hyderabad and Cape Town in that it features four long straights each with big braking zones.

"The drivers will need to build their confidence on the brakes and system settings will need to be optimised to avoid costly tyre lockups. The weather may also play its part as the area often enjoys heavy rain showers around race time in March [it's still the country's rainy season].”

Julius Baer Sao Paolo E-Prix track map

"The circuit in Sao Paulo features a lot of long straights, big braking zones, and low-speed corners, making it very different to recent races on the calendar, especially in comparison to Cape Town," adds Maserati MSG Racing’s Racing Director, Jeremy Colancon - a fixture in the series since the inaugural season. "Because of this, it will be very important for us to adapt our car setup and specifically, change stability, to allow for better rotation in the corners.

'Effective energy management will be vital'

Energy management is set to be key, adds Colancon - a four-time title winner and twice Engineer of the Year in Formula E. The long straights mean a high on-throttle requirement with the big stops into Turns 1, 4 and 7 key to maximising regen and energy recovery. The use of slipstream feeds into this too - a vital energy saving tool as well as a means of making moves.

READ MORE: The full Sao Paulo preview

"It's an energy intensive circuit, and it will be quite difficult for teams and drivers to meet their lap-by-lap energy targets," says Colancon. "A lot of lifting will be required, and some energy will be recovered in the braking zones, but the long straights will also consume a lot of energy.

Sao Paulo back straight

"Slipstreaming has been a key factor in Formula E’s GEN3 era so far, and it will be of major importance this weekend. Sao Paulo’s high number of straights will enhance the strength of the slipstream – not only in terms of speed but also energy saving – and it will be vital to monitor, utilise and manage this carefully from a strategy perspective."

Plenty of overtaking, quali less key

Speaking of making moves, there should be plenty of opportunities for overtaking. Tight corners after long drags down straights tend to give drivers the chance to line up a dive and there are four big braking zones. Efficiency comes into it again, with energy in-hand the key to giving drivers the tools to make passes stick.

READ MORE: Sao Paulo in numbers

"Because Sao Paulo features a high number of heavy braking zones, we should see a lot of overtaking during the race," adds Colancon. "The best places to pass are Turns One, Four, Seven and 10, but more and more, the battle for first is ongoing until the final lap. It will be important to be efficient throughout the race to be in a position to strike in the closing stages. Qualifying should also be less important this weekend."