Apr 11, 2019 - 4min read
As Jean-Éric Vergne’s victory in China concluded Formula E’s tour of Asia, the series now begins its European leg with everything to play for in both the Drivers’ and Teams’ Championships. For the second time in the series’ history, Formula E returns to the ancient ruins of Rome.
2019 GEOX ROME E-PRIX
Track name = Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR
Track length = 2.84 km
Number of turns = 21
This weekend, Rome plays host to the beginning of Formula E’s European tour. The seventh race of the season will start and finish on Via Cristoforo Colombo, will go around the Obelisco di Marconi, against the backdrop of the iconic Colosseo Quadrato.
Those that raced here last year will be familiar with the track, whereas others will be testing it out for the first time in the simulator this week to ensure they can hit the ground running during practice.
The starting grid takes place between Turns 12 and 13 and will see the drivers immediately turn back on themselves at the hairpin before entering a very technical series of 10 consecutive right angled corners.
Following this, the drivers enter a long left- then right-hander down the hill before a short braking zone. As the momentum of the cars tries to carry them down the hill at full speed, the cars will be on their very edge; we expect to see the drivers that have overcommitted locking up into Turn 5. Another left-hander follows as the drivers turn back on themselves to return up the hill.
The long straight, ending with a wide entry into Turn 9, should give the drivers opportunities to dive down the inside to move up the order. A right-angled corner follows before drivers will aim to sharply execute Turns 11 and 12 to gain as much speed in the run up to Turn 13, where overtaking will be possible at the hairpin.
Green Scout Report
Italy has a rich and passionate relationship with renewable energy. Remarkably, for 50 years from the turn of the 20th Century, almost all the country’s electricity was renewable! As population growth then rapidly increased, this sadly tailed off as fossil fuels were predominantly used to accommodate the extra electricity demand. Thankfully, more recently, Italy has continued to progress renewables again, and has invested in a diverse spread of renewable energy sources. Largely due to the aggressive deployment of the Feed-in Tariff Scheme in 2005 (more eloquently known as Conto Energia), Italy managed to achieve its target of 17% of all energy consumption being sourced from renewables by 2020 a full six years early.1 In fact, in a remarkable feat, in 2014, Italy had managed to achieve 43.1% of all electricity generation from renewable sources2!
In 1904, Prince Piero Ginori Conti pioneered the first ever practical demonstrator for geothermal power. In the highly volcanic region around Lardello, Tuscany, his team managed to run a small generator to power four light bulbs from the Earth’s heat. Seven years later the world’s first geothermal power plant (shown below) was built at the site and was the only one of its kind for the following 47 years. However, geothermal power still only makes up 2.2% of all Italy’s electricity production.3
Hydroelectric power represents the largest renewable contributor to Italy’s grid at 15.6%. In fact, hydroelectric power from the Alps and Apennines largely powered the entire country until 1950; today there are more than 2,700 active plants. It’s incredible to think that almost all the current capacity was built before 1950.
Italy also has a strong solar energy track record, which felt the most significant boost from the Feed-in Tariff as installed capacity increased almost ten-fold. Now, it is the country with the highest percentage of its electricity generation coming from solar at 8.1%.2
Interestingly, Italy has stayed far away from nuclear power. Three years following the catastrophic accident at Chernobyl in 1984, a referendum was held to ban nuclear energy. The results were overwhelming as more than 75% of voters voted for the ban. Another referendum on this matter followed in 2011 after the Fukushima accident and this time 90% of voters rejected nuclear power.
Finally, Italy has a remarkably high number of interconnectors with other countries (France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Greece and Corsica) and therefore has a high percentage of imports at 10%.3
Altogether, Italy has made tremendous progress in the move to a low carbon energy system; though with fossil fuels still accounting for more than half of all electricity usage, there is still work to do!
Three things to look out for in this weekend’s race:
1. It’s all to play for
Both championships are incredibly close – just one point separates the top two drivers, and ten points separate the top six. With 25 points up for grabs for a win, any of the drivers could jump into the lead this week. The Teams’ Championship is looking even closer – there are just two points separating the top four teams!
2. Can we get seven different winners in seven races?
This season has already seen six different winners and six different pole sitters, from six different teams. This means there are only two teams on the grid without a Formula E win, these being HWA Racelab and Panasonic Jaguar Racing. Can the trend continue to welcome a seventh winner in Rome?
3. Driver Reshuffle
We’ve seen a couple of driver changes ahead of this race for American Team Geox Dragon and Panasonic Jaguar Racing. Geox Dragon welcomes Max Gunther to replace Felipe Nasr (due to Nasr’s existing commitments outside of Formula E); and Nelson Piquet Jr. is replaced with British driver Alex Lynn at Panasonic Jaguar Racing. As we move into the second half of the series, both drivers will be looking to impress!
As always, we’re rooting for our guy Alexander Sims! Here’s what he had to say ahead of Saturday’s race:
“For us, Rome is all about having a clean race and scoring points. Issues at other rounds have meant we’ve missed out on points that we could have scored, so our focus is on getting some points on the board. The track has quite a few slow corners, so it doesn’t look like it will be a massively energy limited race. As a result, qualifying will be key and getting a good starting position on the grid. I will need to learn the track quickly and get on with having a good, solid race.”
How do I watch?
The 45 min + 1 lap race starts at 3pm (UK time) on Saturday 13th April and is available to watch on the BBC Sport website, Red Button & BT Sport.