marrakech at night

Formula E 18/19 race preview: Race 2, Marrakesh

Jan 10, 2019 - 4min read

After a scintillating start to the season in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, just before Christmas, Formula E returns to action on the streets of Marrakesh this weekend (12th January). If you missed the season opener in December, check out our review of the Ad Diriyah E-Prix here.

Marrakesh E Prix race track

2019 Marrakesh E-Prix 

Track length = 2.99km

Number of turns = 12

History = 3rd time this track has featured in Formula E

Track Preview

This weekend, Formula E returns to Marrakesh for the 3rd time; this is the only time it will visit the continent of Africa in the series.

With the long straights set in the scenic backdrop of the Medina walls, last year saw Sweden’s Felix Rosenqvist of Mahindra Racing cross the chequered flag in 1st place after 33 laps. The race was, yet again, filled with overtakes, including Rosenqvist’s pass on Buemi just 4 laps from the end to take the lead, who was closely followed by Britain’s Sam Bird in 3rd.

The Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan is an unusual track as it is regarded as (relatively!) easy by the drivers and as such there are some obvious overtaking opportunities, in particular at turn 1 which may now boast Attack Mode. Hopefully, this will give drivers the freedom to commit to some exciting racing!

Green Scout Report

The beaming sunlight and vast deserts of North Africa mean Morocco is ideally placed to utilise wind and, in particular, solar energy. With the aim of sourcing 42% of its electricity by 2020, Morocco recently launched a $9 billion project to build the largest solar thermal power station in the world near Ouarzazate in the Sahara – that will cover the same land area as their capital city, Rabat!

Morocco Solar Farm

However, as you may notice in the image above, Morocco’s approach to solar is slightly different. Instead of the photovoltaic (PV) panels that we commonly see on roofs and in fields in the UK, the project will primarily consist of a mixture of concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies. This is where large mirrors are used to reflect and concentrate light into a specific point – creating heat. This heat can then either be stored or used to power a steam turbine or heat engine to generate electricity. The reasons for this approach are that CSP can be cheaper for large commercial sites and can also provide simple, efficient, and cheap onsite storage by storing the heat so the site can provide electricity 24/7.

Three things to look out for:

1. DS Techeetah are as fast as they sound

The first race saw both DS Techeetah cars, driven by Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer, look super speedy throughout. The Chinese-owned team were set for a 1-2 finish after working through the pack, until a penalty in the final few laps saw BMW Andretti’s Da Costa leapfrog them in to the lead. We expect both the BMW i Andretti Motorsport and DS Techeetah teams to be setting the pace again.

2. New kid on the block Pascal Wehrlein makes his debut

The once-F1-wonderkid will make his debut for Mahindra Racing team this weekend and will continue to race for the remainder of the season – adding to the already extensive list of ex-F1 drivers who have made the jump to Formula E. Whilst a test driver at Mercedes, he was once seen as the heir to Lewis Hamilton’s throne and had spells with both the Manor and Sauber F1 seasons in 2016 and 2017 seasons respectively. Since then, he’s been keeping busy with DTM touring car racing, but with all this experience, we don’t expect it’ll take long for him to settle in to Formula E!

3. Alexander Sims on the rise

Our very own Alexander Sims had a strong opening performance in Ad Diriyah and was unlucky to fall victim to two technical penalties towards the end of the race that brought him down from 8th to 18th. Sims will be determined to translate his impressive driving skill into a solid race result – so we ask, will it be in Marrakesh that Sims fully announces himself to Formula E racing? Here’s what he told us:

“I’m positive and looking forward to Marrakesh. Although the final result in the first round wasn’t as we hoped, my pace in practice was good and I’m positive that there are strong results to come. I want to keep learning and keep improving. The BMW iFE.18 is quick – we’ve shown that and I’m looking forward to putting it through its paces at the weekend.”

Want to find out more about our partnership with Alexander Sims?

At Tonik, we’re all about championing renewable energy, green technology and electric mobility. We’re thrilled to have found someone as excited about our low-carbon future as we are, in British racing driver Alexander Sims. Over the course of the season we’ll be creating all sorts of content together with Alexander to help make getting excited about low carbon tech really easy – and importantly, that the implications of selecting the right technology solutions for your home, workplace, or business are well understood too.

Click here to find out more.

How do I watch?

Each race lasts an action-packed 45 mins. Lights will go green at 3pm (UK time) on Saturday 12th January. It’s available to watch on a range of channels, with the most notable being BBC (race only via the red button or online) and YouTube (screening extended build-up before each race).


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