Image of Sanya skyline at dusk

Formula E 18/19 race preview: Race 6, Sanya

Mar 22, 2019 - 5min read

Just 13 days after the Hong Kong E-Prix, first-timer Sanya hosts the first E-Prix on mainland China since Beijing in 2015. After Edoardo Mortara’s dramatic victory in Hong Kong, just two points separate the top four drivers in the championship – this race is definitely one to watch!

Illustration of Sanya Circuit


Track Name = Sanya Street Circuit

Track length = 2.236 km

Number of turns = 11

Track Preview
Sanya can be found on the southernmost tip of Hainan Island; which is China’s smallest province. It’s known as the “Hawaii of China” and is the country’s most famous tropical resort.

The track is made up of the local roads, so it’s tight! The starting straight sits above the local river, before heading towards the coast. After a sprint towards an awkward sharp right hander, the drivers will pass the pit entrance early – providing an opportunity to repair cars involved in any collisions at the first corner. Followed by another left and right hander, the drivers enter Turn 1. Expect to see the drivers following each other throughout Turns 2, 3 and 4 before a short straight to Turn 5. Given the supreme execution required throughout these corners, drivers may be able to pick up an overtake as they approach Turn 5, but we’d expect to see most overtakes occur on the long straight, crossing the river, approaching the hairpin at Turn 8 - allowing the cars to show off their acceleration and speed. Another long straight follows in the run up to Turn 10 which the driver’s will use as another attacking opportunity before navigating the final two corners to the finish line.

Green Scout Report
China has been one of the most influential nations in the global energy industry over the past few years, but still has a long way to go before it can fully decarbonise.

As of 2016, China has doubled the wind capacity of the next largest nation, the United States, and in 2015 it surpassed Germany to become the world’s largest producer of solar PV power. This rate of development has led to the price of both associated technologies to plummet, aiding their global uptake in particular for solar PV. However, solar and wind make up just 1.8% and 4.7% of the country’s electricity generation as of 20171. If you look below, you’ll see that a whopping 64.7% of China’s electricity generation is still from coal, the dirtiest of all energy generating sources. This means 16.2% of the entire world’s electricity generation is due to coal burning in China2.

Pie Chart to show China's Different sources of electricity generation in China in 2017

As you’ll see from this pie chart, hydro is actually China’s largest renewable energy source and the second largest source of energy overall. This is thanks to developments such as the Three Gorges Dam, which was completed in 2012. This has become the world’s largest power station with an installed capacity of 22,500 MW and has a huge role to play in limiting greenhouse gas emissions, as well as economic benefits such as increasing the Yangtze River’s shipping capacity. However, this did not come without controversy. In constructing the dam, 1.3 million people in local towns & villages were displaced, several archaeological sites were flooded, and its construction has increased the risk of landslides. You’ll see in the image below the impact it has had on the local areas.3

Birds Eye View the impact the Three Gorges Dam has had on the area.

While China has made tremendous progress, including its booming electric vehicle market helping to combat its air pollution issues with 35% of global electric vehicle sales coming from the area4, it still has a huge amount of work to do on all fronts if it is to fully decarbonise!

Three things to look out for:

1. It’s looking tight at the top
After a controversial race, Sam Bird remains at the top of the Drivers’ Championship with 54 points. However, the rest of the field can still ruffle his feathers. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Lucas Di Grassi and Edoardo Mortara all sit within just two points of him, and António Félix da Costa another five from them! It really is all still to play for.

2. Can the trend continue?
This season so far has been remarkable. Each of the five drivers above have won each of the five races, and they are all from different teams. But the other drivers and teams still look strong, and capable of winning races and achieving podiums. Expect to see them pushing this weekend!

3. Can Chinese-backed teams achieve a home win?
Two teams on the grid have Chinese connections: DS Techeetah and Envision Virgin Racing.

The DS Techeetah team have looked strong all season and came close to wins and podiums - especially after a disappointing end to Lotterer’s race in Hong Kong, they’ll be determined to achieve victory in their home race! The team have never even achieved an E-Prix victory in Asia; two runner-up spots being their best achievement to date on the home continent.

However, Envision Virgin Racing look more likely to achieve this feat with a race win to show for themselves already this season and their driver Sam Bird currently topping the drivers’ leader board.

As always, we’re rooting for our guy Alexander Sims! Here’s what he had to say ahead of tomorrow’s race:

“We’ve had a frustrating few races but we’re learning all the time and continuing to improve the car,” said Sims. “The Sanya track is fast and open; a long track with long straights. It looks as though it might suit us and the BMW iFE.18 reasonably well. I’m expecting that it will be a fairly energy-limited race, so we will need to do a lot of energy saving, which will provide an additional but also fun challenge for the race.”

How do I watch?
The 45 min race starts at 7am (UK time) on Saturday 23rd March and is available to watch on YouTube, the BBC Sport website, Red Button & BT Sport 1.    

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