PREVIEW: Formula E heads to São Paulo, Brazil for Round 4 of Season 10

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PREVIEW: Formula E heads to São Paulo, Brazil for Round 4 of Season 10

The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is set for a racing return this weekend with Round 4 of Season 10, the São Paulo E-Prix, in Brazil on 16 March.

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One mention of Brazil and names like Senna, Piquet and Fittipaldi immediately race to the forefront of the mind. It's the home of motorsport legends, as well as an unrivalled, passionate and knowledgable motor racing support. Formula E headed to São Paulo for the first time last year, and we're back for Round 4 of Season 10 to find out which way the battle for the World Championship will turn next.

WATCH: How to watch or stream Formula E's Sao Paulo E-Prix where you are

The second season of the GEN3 era fired into life with three rounds across Mexico City and a Diriyah double-header in Saudi Arabia. It's been typically Formula E so far with competition as close as its ever been and Rounds 1, 2 and 3 have each seen a different race winner and eight different teams represented in the Drivers' standings top 10.

Our first trip to Brazil last year produced some of the finest racing we've ever seen over a storming race weekend, in front of a typically passionate support at what was a third new race location for the championship in a row. The circuit at Sao Paulo's Sambadrome saw 114 overtakes and 11 lead changes, with four drivers fighting for the front while the top three crossed the line just 0.5 seconds apart at the chequered flag - one of the tightest finishes in Formula E history.

MEET THE GRID: Which drivers are racing in Formula E in 2023/24?

The Season 9 event proved to be a landmark weekend for Jaguar, with Mitch Evans of the factory Jaguar TCS Racing team leading Envision Racing's Nick Cassidy home, with Evans' teammate Sam Bird rounding out the podium for what was a 1-2-3 for the British company's powertrain - only the second time such a feat had been achieved in Formula E.

Cassidy sits atop the Drivers' World Championship and Jaguar head the way in the Teams' table. Can they capitalise on a strong start to 2023/24 and lay down a repeat of last year's Brazilian benchmark?

The 2024 São Paulo E-Prix gets underway at 14:00 local time on Saturday 16 March. Find out where to watch and sync your calendar for all the latest updates and session times.

What's happened in Formula E Season 10 so far and what does the World Championship battle look like?

TAG Heuer Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein took the win in the season-opener in Mexico, converting pole to a fifth win in Formula E at the site of Porsche's first win in the series, sealed at the German's hands back in Season 8.

READ MORE: How Wehrlein drove to the win in Mexico

Wehrlein counts a strong record in Mexico and left this time around with four poles to his name - three in Mexico City and one in Puebla - as well as two wins for Porsche, including that maiden win and one-two.

Jake Dennis (Andretti) has all the pressure on his shoulders as reigning champion, even after a record-breaking season on the way to his World Championship. Eleven podiums and two wins across 16 races in 2022/23 sealed the deal, but the Brit's not had it all his own way so far this season.

THE ADDED LAP: Jake Dennis on his title defence, those 'struggles' and more

An uncharacteristic mistake in qualifying in Round 1 left Dennis with it all to do in the race. He made up ground to an eventual ninth and points from 14th at the start, though his title defense definitely set off on the wrong foot. 

Round 2 in Diriyah, and the champ immediately righted those wrongs with a dominant drive to the win, some 13 seconds ahead of DS PENSKE's double champion Jean-Eric Vergne.

Round 3 wouldn't be a repeat for Dennis, though, with the Andretti racer claiming the car felt "the worst he's ever driven" after a torrid qualifying session, and that left the door open for the rest to profit. Chief among them was Nick Cassidy (Jaguar TCS Racing).

READ MORE: Reigning champ Dennis reveals his biggest title rivals

There have been three different winners over the first three rounds but only one driver has been on every podium and has one of those victories. Cassidy joined Jaguar for Season 10 alongside teammate Mitch Evans, and has had a dream start to this new chapter. 

Third place in Mexico, third place during Friday in Diriyah and the win on Saturday sees Cassidy lead the World Championship standings by 19 points to TAG Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein. 

READ MORE: Cassidy: 'What's crazy about Formula E right now is how competitive it is'

“I think it's just a bit of a coincidence that we've had a good three races,” Cassidy began. "With the Nissans and the DS cars, I feel there's essentially eight cars - and together with Jaguar and Porsche - that's 16 cars fighting, where it's going to be difficult to finish in the top 10 some weekends! It's crazy!"

Who are the favourites for the São Paulo E-Prix?

In the race last year, the factory Jaguar TCS Racing team - and customers Envision Racing - finally capitalised on race-winning pace and energy management for a 1-2-3 result as Mitch Evans and teammate Sam Bird took to the podium.

Many feel the characteristics of the Sambadrome circuit, with its long straights and critical energy management suit the Jaguar-powered cars, so they may well be the front-runners.

That said, we've not seen the same driver climb to the top step more than once yet this season, and Cassidy himself feels the competition in the Nissan and DS-powered factory teams, alongside NEOM McLaren and Maserati MSG Racing - sporting customer powertrains of the above, respectively - are being underrated by pundits as opposed to the Porsche and Jaguar-powered cars.

Brazil, and São Paulo: the home of motor racing legends

The legendary Ayrton Senna: triple Formula 1 World Drivers' Champion and twice a winner at Interlagos, on home soil in São Paulo, Emerson Fittipaldi - another F1 title winner hailing from the city and a two-time champion no less and Rio de Janeiro-born Nelson Piquet Sr. another triple champ set the tone for motorsport's storied heritage.

The country has a passion unmatched for the sport, with generations growing up watching their heroes and idols representing their country on the world stage.

"When I was a kid, I was watching Formula 1," said ERT's Sergio Sette Camara. "The culture is very big in Brazil and the reason for that is it goes from grandparents to parents and into the children.


"I remember watching races with my grandpa, my father and my uncle and they were all influenced a lot by Emerson Fittipaldi; Nelson Piquet (Sr.) too. Of course, they pass that on to us kids and we really learned to appreciate our idols.

"The driver that were really at the top when I was a kid was Felipe Massa because he was at Ferrari, winning races. You saw that and thought "wow, he's driving the famous red car and winning races; that's what I can be - that's doable". I really think he was the one that inspired me - alongside Rubens (Barrichello) because they were winning races and at the top level of motorsport when I was a kid.

READ MORE: Brazil's motorsport legends

"I was there at Interlagos at the last corner in 2008 where he lost out on the F1 title to Lewis (Hamilton) at the end. It took 10 minutes for the whole crowd to realise what had happened."

In Formula E, we have a host of Brazilian heroes that have pioneered electric motor racing at the top level - bringing the country's motorsport heritage to a new, ever-passionate audience. Season 3 Lucas di Grassi is a proud São Paulo native. Nelson Piquet Jr. followed in his father's footsteps to win a title at the pinnacle of the sport as he sealed the inaugural Formula E championship in 2014/15.

Massa has been part of the series, too, in his time with Venturi - as has the great Ayrton Senna's nephew Bruno and Felipe Nasr. Sette Camara and di Grassi fly the flag this weekend, with an expectant home support to cheer them along.

Where does Formula E race in São Paulo? What is the track like?

With three long straights connected by tricky chicanes, sweeping corners and tight turns, the circuit in São Paulo is a challenging lap for the pack.

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Starting on the main straight that's usually reserved for carnival floats and revelry, there will be a different type of dancing as the drivers put their toe tapping to use on the brake pedals into the series of sharp turns, that feed to a looping hairpin that fires the field down the straight.

This straight is broken up with another challenging right-left-right series of corners to another long straight. The final sector sees more passing opportunities in the run to the finish line.

It's a unique 11-turn, 2.933km circuit with huge straights and big stops. Expect overtaking, plenty of slipstreaming and critical energy management.

SCHEDULE: Where, when and how to watch or stream the 2024 São Paulo E-Prix Round 4

The São Paulo E-Prix gets underway on Friday 15 March with Free Practice 1 at 16:25 local time.

Then it's on to race day on Saturday 16 March as Free Practice 2 kicks off the day at 07:25 local, qualifying follows at 09:40 local with lights out on Round 4 at 14:00 local/17:00 UTC.

View the full schedule in your time zone and check the broadcaster listings or tap the Ways to Watch button above to find out where to watch all the racing action where you live.

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