Formula E returns to Rome on April 10/11 for Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, and there’ll be a new circuit layout for the drivers to contend with over the double-header race weekend.
Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) heads to Italy on top in the Drivers’ standings, having completed a Formula E first in the Diriyah opener with a sweep of Free Practice, Group Qualifying, Super Pole, his maiden race win and the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap for good measure.
Mercedes started Season 7 where it’d left off last year, after de Vries’ teammate Stoffel Vandoorne took the team’s first win in the series in Berlin and currently, the German manufacturer sits second in the Teams’ table.
Jaguar Racing led the way there after new boy Sam Bird sealed a dream victory in Round 2 at Diriyah. That result saw the Brit extend his unique streak of a win in every Formula E season to-date. It also drew him level with Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) in second on the all-time winners’ table with 10 victories. Bird’s a winner in the Italian capital, having taken the 2018 Rome E-Prix, and he’ll be among the favourites this time around.
DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT made its strongest start to a Formula E campaign yet after racing to top-five finishes in race two and will have a new powertrain beneath them in Rome - as will reigning champions DS TECHEETAH.
The Sino-French squad had a bumpy Round 1 but recovered in the second race to run third and fourth. The team looked strong, even with a post-race penalty for Jean-Eric Vergne that saw the Frenchman stripped of third for failing to use his second ATTACK MODE activation in the curtailed encounter. A new powertrain can surely only mean Antonio Felix da Costa and Vergne will improve from here on in.
Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing) and Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) impressed in Diriyah and sit third and fourth in the standings after both making the podium, while NIO 333 broke its Season 6 points duck right away in Season 7 with Oliver Turvey bringing the car home 10th and 6th in Saudi Arabia – encouraging signs for the Chinese outfit.
The 19-turn 3.385km Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR has undergone a number of amendments in close collaboration with local authorities for Season 7, and sees the track become the second longest in Formula E history behind Beijing.
The work ensures the round’s character is retained, while strengthening Formula E’s legacy in the area by making more space for spectators at future events, bringing local businesses into the fold and carrying out important restoration work.
The Palazzo dei Congressi, Piazzale Marconi remain landmarks and, starting from this year, the circuit will wind its way around the iconic Palazzo della Civilta Italiana, also known as the "Square Coliseum". Ninfeo Park will also form a part of the circuit’s perimeter.
It's a perfect mix of high-speed runs and tight, complex sections and undulations with plenty of opportunities for overtaking at the hairpin and some 90-degree bends - peak Formula E and a big favourite of the drivers.
“The new layout is fantastic: it has longer and faster straights and offers more opportunities for overtaking,” said 2017 Formula E Champion, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas di Grassi. “I'm sure the fans will love it; I can't wait to race there."
Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) and Andre Lotterer (TAG Heuer Porsche) fought tooth-and-nail for the full 45 minutes. In the end, it was the Kiwi who held his nerve, forcing Lotterer to settle for second. Making up for a disastrous race the previous year, Evans defeated his demons to claim both his and Jaguar Racing's first win.
Since Formula E first visited the city, e-mobility options for Rome’s residents have improved significantly. There are 60 electric minibuses operating across the city and Italy’s ‘Good Mobility’ policy encourages the use of electric bikes and has legalised electric scooters. Rome’s mayor, Virginia Raggi, announced that the city would phase out diesel vehicles by 2024, while planting some 90,000 trees around the city in a bid to improve its air quality – impacted most of all by combustion-engined vehicles.
Protecting people’s health is the city’s priority, but safeguarding its almost 4,000 priceless historic stone monuments and bronze statues that are eaten away by pollutants from petrol and diesel-powered cars and trucks is also a key concern.
Rome’s impressive mobility response to COVID-19 has been recognised at European level, following its support of walking and cycling, enabling safe public transport, and its plan for 150km of transitory cycling routes. In total, €3.2 million has been set aside for Rome’s plan, with 20km of these lanes currently in place.
Italy itself is strongly pro-renewables, as one of eight EU members committed to phasing out coal in their national energy mix between 2021 and 2030. Its strategy also aims to increase renewables as a share of its mix, with solar already providing more than a quarter of all renewable energy in the country – and that supply is predicted to double to 50 gigawatts by 2030 with wind providing a further 18.4GW, up from 11GW today.
Formula E blurs the lines between the real and virtual worlds of motorsport and there are even more opportunities to engage with the championship in Season 7, even if you can’t be at an E-Prix in person.
Formula E is the only motorsport in the world that lets fans play an active role in influencing the outcome. FANBOOST for Round 3 opens on April 7 until 15 minutes into the encounter, while voting for Round 4 opens shortly after Round 3. To give your favourite driver an extra boost of power, visit FANBOOST and the Formula E app.
Can you predict the unpredictable? The Formula E Predictor puts you in the hot seat to predict each round of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
It's free to play, and points are awarded for each correct prediction. Make your picks for five race outcomes - selecting from the 24 Formula E drivers that you think will win the E-Prix, clinch Julius Baer Pole Position, set the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap, be the first to use ATTACK MODE and be the driver to make up the most places in the race.
Prizes this season include an unmissable VIP Experience for the winner to attend an E-Prix in Season 8 so don't forget to get family, friends and colleagues involved in a league.
Join the full Formula E race day experience direct from the comfort of your own home as the Allianz E-Village goes virtual. Starting from Monday of race week and until the event comes to a close, the Virtual Allianz E-Village has fans covered.
There will be exclusive content straight from the paddock, a chance to win a spot in a live Q&A with Formula E drivers, an online autograph session and much more.
Follow every lap from Rome as it happens in the Live Hub. A new-for-Season 7 Live Timing experience – including a real-time interactive track map and the ability to follow your favourite driver – plus detailed session reports, exclusive interviews, all the standings and results as well as reaction from the ground means fans won’t miss a moment.
The Formula E app allows fans to go behind the scenes and listen to Driver Radio for live reactions from the cockpit and the pit wall as the race plays out. To listen in, download now on iOS and Android.
There are more ways to watch Formula E this season than ever before, meaning there are no excuses for missing out on seeing the action unfold!
Published on 9th April 2021