Apr 26, 2019
Seven races down, seven different drivers and seven different teams taking pride of place on the top step of the podium so far this season. Next up, Formula E heads to Paris for the fourth time in the sport’s history to race the streets of this iconic city.
2019 QATAR AIRWAYS PARIS E-PRIX
Track name = Les Invalides
Track length = 1,930 km
Number of turns = 14
This weekend the Formula E Championship heads to the glorious streets of Paris - the birthplace of motorsport - on the second race of the European tour. The eighth race of the season sees the drivers circling the historic Les Invalides complex.
Starting on the Boulevard des Invalides, all 22 drivers will head down the long straight into the hard braking zone of Turn 1. From there it’s into the historic part of the circuit, so historic that the cobbled streets are still there. High performance cars in general struggle to perform at speed on cobbled surfaces, so every year a layer of tarmac is placed over the cobbles, giving the cars a more grippy surface to race along. And at the end of the race weekend, the tarmac is delicately removed returning the cobbles back to their original glory.
Turns 3, 4 and around the Place Vauban, directly behind where Napoleon’s tomb is located, all come in rapid succession meaning that the drivers need to be spot-on to carry as much speed through this tricky part of the circuit as possible.
Hitting the tight right-hander of Turn 7 around Lowendal, the drivers will need to get on the power early to take as much speed into the long back straight with the goal of picking up places along the inside of Turn 8. Turn 10 poses a number of issues, not least the slightly uphill gradient and a hard braking zone. Those drivers who get it right might find they are able to make some cunning overtaking moves as they weave their way back to the start-finish straight.
Green Scout Report
As you would expect from the city and country instrumental to the landmark Paris Agreement, France is passionate about renewable energy. In 2015, the French Parliament passed a mandatory renewable energy target requiring 40% of electricity production to be renewable by 2030.1 For context, this figure was 19.5% in 2014.
Over the years, France has leaned heavily towards nuclear energy, which accounted for 72.3% of its energy output in 2016, almost all of which government owned, with renewables clocking in at 17.8% and fossils lagging behind with 8.6%.2 Indeed, France has the largest share of nuclear power of any country in the world and often has to close down reactors at the weekend due to their being no market for their electricity – not an ideal economic situation. However, since President Macron came to power, the emphasis has moved away from nuclear and towards cheap renewable power.
Having a high percentage of nuclear power that can be difficult to turn off also means France is one of the world’s largest net exporters of energy exporting a massive 42 TWh in 2016.3
In terms of transport, in 2016 France’s registered plug-in electric vehicles market was the second biggest in Europe behind Norway and fifth largest across the globe. Collaborations between state-owned automobile manufacturers, in particular the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, show the intentions of the French government and its commitment to green transport. By 2023, France aims to have 2.4 million rechargeable and hybrid vehicles on the roads.
France is a country that has moved away from the pollutants of fossil fuels thanks to an early commitment to low-carbon nuclear energy in the 80s, albeit controversially. But now the winds of change mean renewables and EVs are on the up in France.
Three things to look out for in this weekend’s race
1. Ten Points, Six Drivers
Just ten points separate the top six drivers in the Drivers’ Championships. One mistake, one great overtake or costly crash could see any of the top six leapfrog each other to take the top spot. With 25 points on offer to the winner, a couple of good results as we edge towards the end of the season could make all the difference in the title race.
2. A fresh face on the podium?
We said it last race, and it happened, could there be an eighth different driver taking the top spot on the podium this race? The HWA Racelab team are now the only team on the grid without a Formula E win so keep an eye out for ex-McLaren Stoffel Vandoorne or Gary Paffett pushing through the pack.
3. Fewer penalties, more warnings?
Too often this season we’ve seen cars and drivers collide without many repercussions being dished out or the penalties have been overly harsh. This changed in Rome when two drivers were given the sport’s first ever ‘yellow cards’ as a warning when Mitch Evans squeezed into first place. It’s something most of the drivers have got behind with Andre Lotterer feeling it will encourage more strategic overtaking.
As always, we’ll be rooting for our man Alexander Sims in his BMW i Andretti Motorsport iFE.18. Here’s what he had to say ahead of the race in Paris:
“Paris perfectly showcases Formula E’s ability to take motorsport into the heart of some of the world’s most significant cities. The circuit itself is situated so close to the Eiffel Tower and on the banks of the Seine that you can’t help but be impressed and excited about the weekend ahead.
“I’ve spent a couple of days on the simulator familiarising myself with the track, and it’s clear that qualifying is going to be key. Unlike Marrakesh, Santiago or even Sanya, overtaking opportunities are going to be hard to come by, so I’m focusing on getting up to speed right from Free Practise 1.”
How do I watch?
The 45 min + 1 lap race starts at 3pm (UK time) on Saturday 27th April and is available to watch on the BBC Sport website, Red Button & BT Sport.