Formula E: What to watch for in Long Beach

2 Comments

The second round of the FIA Formula E Championship in the United States, and sixth overall this season, comes on the venerable, iconic streets of Long Beach this weekend. Whereas Miami has a past street racing history, it’s been interrupted on-and-off over the decades, while Long Beach has a continuous history dating to 1975.

It’s still a new bit for Long Beach this weekend as the electric open-wheel championship heads to the circuit for the first time. Here’s some of the storylines:

SAME FIELD, WITH NO TRACK ADVANTAGES

With Oriol Servia and Katherine Legge not in the field of 20 – two drivers who have past track experience on the full Grand Prix circuit – the Long Beach circuit is a new one to the entire field this weekend. Although with Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing having competed in IndyCar there, you wonder if there is any potential crossover in terms of knowing how to set the car up for the bumps of Long Beach that they may have as an early edge. This race also marks the first time in Formula E’s six races that the same field of 20 drivers will be competing in consecutive races.

CAN DIFFERENT WINNER STREAK CONTINUE?

Thus far Lucas di Grassi, Sam Bird, Sebastien Buemi, Antonio Felix da Costa and Nicolas Prost have made it five winners in as many races. Formula E hasn’t had a repeat race winner yet, and there’s still plenty of candidates without a win yet who could keep that streak live this weekend.

WILL JEV GET A RESULT?

It’s been hard to show too much pace difference given the nature of the identical Spark-Renault SRT_01E chassis, but Jean-Eric Vergne has been a speed demon in his three races thus far with Andretti Autosport. Unfortunately, despite two poles in three starts, Vergne only has one sixth-place finish on his scorecard. He’s due for at least a podium, if not an outright win this weekend.

CAN SPEED DELIVER A HOME WIN?

American Scott Speed did everything asked of him and then some in his FIA Formula E debut, and open-wheel return, at Miami several weeks ago. He nearly won on debut and maximized his energy saving to have a car capable of contending for the win; where he struggled was with overheating in the later stages. The native Californian would be a popular winner this weekend.

WILL DI GRASSI, BUEMI RETURN TO FORM?

A suspension failure cost Lucas di Grassi in Argentina and he struggled to ninth in Miami. Meanwhile Sebastien Buemi had a nightmare day at Miami in the second e.dams Renault car; while Nicolas Prost won, Buemi spun in qualifying and started and finished 13th. Di Grassi sits second, Buemi fifth in the championship chase and look to get back on form this weekend.

The race airs live at 6:30 p.m. ET on Saturday – check local listings.

Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
Leave a comment

The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”