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.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
0 Comments

SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.