24 Sep 20
12 Feb 20
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship rolls back into Mexico’s capital city for the fifth time in the series’ history. After one of the greatest finishes in motorsport went down just meters from the chequered flag in the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez last season, expect more madness in Mexico City this time around. Ahead of the race, here’s 10 things you probably didn’t know about Formula E in Mexico City.
Founded in the 14th Century, the high-altitude city – once referred to as the City of Palaces – is the oldest capital city in the Americas and is now home to the largest population of Spanish Speakers (about two and a half times that of Spain). Sitting at over 2km above sea level, the city is one of the highest on the Formula E calendar.
The only race on the calendar to use a permanent circuit, the new layout is now roughly 500meters longer than the one used on the four previous occasions. With new corners, a longer distance to run and no chicane, the 2020 race will bring a whole host of new challenges for all 12 teams and 24 drivers. Learn more about the new circuit here.
Built in 1959 and named after racing driver brothers Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is a permanent racetrack located in the public park of Magdalena Mixhuca Sports City
Located 2.2 km above sea level, it is one of the highest tracks in the world and the altitude adds another dimension to the challenges posed by the 2.6 km (1.62 miles) track. When it comes to Formula E, the Mexico City E-Prix is regarded as one of the best attended. Only Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport circuit has previously staged five Formula E races (the 2016 Berlin E-Prix took place elsewhere in the German capital).
Two Mexican drivers have raced in Formula E. Salvador Duran took part with Aguri in the series’ first two seasons, during which he secured points’ finishes on three occasions, with sixth his best position in Moscow back in June 2015. Meantime, Esteban Gutierrez raced for Techeetah in three E-Prix in Season three, scoring points in two of them.
Coming off the back of the sweltering heat in Santiago, more warm weather should be expected in Mexico City, where the temperature is expected to reach around 80°F (like last year here, when the track temperature went over the 100°F mark).
The Mexico City E-Prix has produced three different winners from its four races so far. However, Lucas di Grassi crossed the line first in three of those races, but the inaugural Mexico City E-Prix ultimately went down as a victory for Jerome d'Ambrosio after di Grassi was disqualified for having an underweight car. The Brazilian enjoyed better luck the following year, in April 2017, when he produced one of the series’ best drives by winning the race here after starting 15th on the grid. Two years ago, it was di Grassi’s team-mate, Daniel Abt, who was successful in Mexico City, where he recorded his maiden win in Formula E (with a gap of +6.398 seconds). Then 12 months ago, we saw that extraordinary finish as di Grassi got past Pascal Wehrlein just before the finish line to claim another stunning victory.
Technically, Audi has crossed the finish line first in all four Mexico City E-Prix. Di Grassi will be aiming to make it a hat-trick of Mexican wins for him on 15 February. In the meantime, 10 drivers have made the podium here (only di Grassi & Buemi more than once). When it comes to qualifying, there have been four different drivers on pole in Mexico City - Jerome d'Ambrosio, Oliver Turvey, Felix Rosenqvist and Pascal Wehrlein. Mahindra has been on pole for the last two Formula E races in Mexico.
At the in-season test event the day after last year’s race in the Mexican capital, Vergne set a new Formula E lap record at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez with a time of 58.775, beating the 58.963 set the previous day by Antonio Felix da Costa in the second practice session preceding the race.
“That was probably the best race of my Formula E career,” said di Grassi after last year’s dramatic win in Mexico City. That reaction will surprise no-one, after such an impressive last lap capped by that stunning overtaking manoeuvre in the final few feet. The Brazilian crossed the finish line only 0.21 seconds clear of Pascal Wehrlein in Mexico City (before the German’s time penalty dropped him down to sixth).
We hadn’t seen a driver win without leading for a complete lap since di Grassi himself won the inaugural race in Beijing where he took advantage of that late crash at the final corner between Nico Prost and Nick Heidfeld to take the victory. Still, in terms of distance to the finish line, it doesn’t compare to the thrilling climax witnessed in Mexico.
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