ONES TO WATCH: Will Nissan blossom at home in Tokyo?

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ONES TO WATCH: Will Nissan blossom at home in Tokyo?

It's a new destination for Round 5 as Formula E lands in Japan for the hotly anticipated Tokyo E-Prix - can Nissan triumph at home? The team have been on a steady growth over the last two rounds and head to their home turf with a lot of promise and confidence in their step.

rowland nissan blossom livery

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PREVIEW: What to look out for ahead of the inaugural Tokyo E-Prix

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A new city and a new challenge

Tokyo lands on the Formula E calendar and it would be safe to say that everyone is buzzing with excitement, it's been the talk of the paddock since the city was announced and the drivers are hyped for this race.

After the all-out battle that was the peloton style race that we saw in São Paulo just a few weeks back, the circuit around the Big Sight exhibition centre overlooking the Tokyo bay is unknown territory. The grid have only sampled the circuit on the simulators, and the closest comparisons have been to the Rome circuit.

So what does that mean for the race? Rather than the energy conservation that led to dash to the flag in the closing stages, we could see some energy strategy wizardry come to the fore. It's a tight technical circuit, and with it being the first race we can expect a variety of strategies at play.

For the win

The assumed Roman-esque characteristics of this track could play to the strengths of Jaguar TCS Racing, the British team has heaps of success in the Italian capital in the hands of Mitch Evans.

The New Zealander has four wins there and adding to this feat Evans and his teammate Nick Cassidy have both successfully got up to speed with new cities – in four of the last six new locations that Formula E races, the winner’s trophy went to either Evans or Cassidy.

FACTS AND STATS: The key numbers heading into the inaugural Tokyo E-Prix

The Jaguar pair looking like a strong choice for Tokyo, and what a way race to achieve this in as the Jaguar outfit and Evans head towards their 100th race in Formula E.

evans podium celebrates sao paulo 2024

If it does come down to a game of energy strategy, then this could also play to the strengths of the Porsche powertrain. With both wins by Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) and Jake Dennis (Andretti), they were able to run away with victories in Mexico City and Diriyah respectively.

Then we come to the hometown heroes, with Oliver Rowland and Sacha Fenestraz representing Nissan. It’s a big race for the Japanese manufacturer, their headquarters aren’t far from the Tokyo circuit, and they’ve already sent a message to their rivals in the form of specially designed kimonos and the statement for them to “get comfortable, but not too comfortable”.

This round comes at a perfect time for Nissan’s Rowland. The Brit is brimming with speed and confidence, coming off the back-to-back podiums – the last being that two for the price of one overtake at the final corner in São Paulo. He’s been victorious twice with Nissan in his previous drive with the team, can he deliver them a home win this weekend?

Nissan also powers the bright papaya machines of NEOM McLaren, and it’s still fresh in everyone’s minds the brilliant drive by Sam Bird to break his 37-race winless streak in style.

Tokyo marks the 27th Asian city to host a Formula E race, and the driver to have the most success in Asia? Sam Bird with four wins from Putrajaya, Hong Kong and two in Diriyah. Bird is back, and his win account has reopened, they say when you wait for one more come at once...

One lap pace

A fresh slate and a new track to clock a lap record. Unlike São Paulo where pole position was not as important, it will be advantageous to qualify as high up as possible in Tokyo to avoid those mid-pack scraps with those not-so-welcoming walls lining this tight and technical circuit.

Whatever work Wehrlein and Porsche did to iron out the qualifying gremlins in Season 9, it’s done a trick for this season.

The German currently has the most wins in the Duels and has started from pole position on two occasions, the season opener in Mexico City and last time out in São Paulo – where despite pole not being as vital, he kept within the lead group and was metres away from a podium finish.

By virtue of his romping run to pole in Diriyah, Rowland currently sits on a 100% win race in the Duels, and the Brit will be targeting a nice front row start for Nissan in their home race.

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SCHEDULE: Where, when and how to watch or stream the 2024 Tokyo E-Prix Round 5

The Tokyo E-Prix gets underway on Friday 29 March with Free Practice 1 at 16:30 local time.

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

Then it's on to race day on Saturday 30 March as Free Practice 2 kicks off the day at 08:00 local, qualifying follows at 10:20 local with lights out on Round 4 at 15:00 local/06:00 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.