So, 22 times I’ve arrived in a city – 15 of which I’d never even been to before – to discover a brand new race circuit that no one has ever raced on before.
That adventure is something that I’m really grateful to have had throughout the last nine years, and it feels just the same again this weekend. I’m writing this having returned from a day out with our digital presenter Saunders CB, eating Biriyani – for which the Hyderabad is famous – and visiting old forts. It’s a really cool and vibrant place with some fascinating history, even if it is a fairly young city by India’s standards.
But you didn’t click this story to hear me doing my best Richard Ayoade impression, as much as I would love to be a Travel Man, I am predominantly a Racing Man, and I’m really excited to get to the track tomorrow. It’s awesome that Formula E comes to places that have never held a major motor race, it’s awesome that it brings it to a new audience, but it’s mostly awesome to be looking ahead to yet another race!
This weekend could be the big litmus test for TAG Heuer Porsche. I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll probably say it a million times in commentary on Saturday; it’s all very well winning at circuits where there is an abundance of data like Mexico City and Diriyah, but it’s a very different proposition to come to a brand new circuit with a brand new car. Last season, seventh in Seoul was the best result Porsche managed at a new circuit.
Florian Modlinger’s crew are on top of their game at the moment, at least on Pascal Wehrlein’s side of the garage, and are executing their weekends pretty flawlessly. There’s a slight argument that they lack a little bit of one lap pace, but Wehrlein has made it through to the duels in two of the three races so far, so it’s certainly not that bad!
A Formula E season has never started like this, with two drivers occupying the top two steps on the podium at the first three races. Since Season 3 only Sebastien Buemi, Jerome d’Ambrosio and Stoffel Vandoorne have finished on the podium in the first two races of the season, and none of them made it three in a row. The record, incidentally, is Lucas di Grassi in Season 2, where he stood on the podium for the first eight races of the season! (Admittedly, he was disqualified from the win in Mexico City).
The point being, although Wehrlein and Jake Dennis have dominated the season so far, this is Formula E, and I would be flabbergasted if they are first and second again in Hyderabad on Saturday afternoon. They will be first and second in the standings whatever happens after the race, but I think we are about ready for some unexpected results this weekend.