Formula E 18/19 race preview: Race 3, Santiago

Jan 24, 2019 - 3min read

Formula E visits Santiago, Chile, for the third race of the 2018/19 Formula E Championship this weekend. Following the madness in Marrakesh, here’s our snapshot of the track, the headlines and Chile’s world-leading role in the renewable revolution.

Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix track

2019 Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix 

Track Name = Parque O’Higgins Circuit

Track length = 2.40 km

Number of turns = 14

Track Preview

This year sees the Santiago E-Prix take place within Higgin’s Park and around the Movistar arena - about 1 km up the road from last year’s venue.

The track begins with a long run to Turn 1, closely followed by an awkward sequence of slower corners. Much like in Marrakesh, expect to see some early, aggressive moves down the inside of Turn 1 as cars compete for position! Drivers will be looking to attach Turns 8 and 9, so traction out of Turn 7 will be crucial to helping create a gap, or drivers will wait to attack the hard-braking zone in Turn 12. These high-speed corners sectors should allow the Gen2 cars to show off their new rear diffusers, keeping the cars glued to the track. Two consecutive hairpins conclude the circuit, followed by the long home straight which could see a mad dash to the line by the end of the final lap.

Green Scout Report

Chile has been one of the worst-hit countries in the world by climate change. Since 2010, it’s been the victim of a still-continuing mega-drought where about 80% of the country lives, coinciding with the warmest decade in history. The Andean glaciers are melting, water shortages are hitting locals and businesses hard, and the country’s worst wildfire in its history led to 2,300 square miles being scorched.

Birds Eye View of Sandiago

These tragedies have placed climate change at large in the public eye - 30% of Chileans identify climate change as the most important global issue for leaders to solve, second highest of any country surveyed1. This pressure has kick-started action as the government launched its “Roadmap to 2050” with the aim of 19% of the country’s electricity to be powered by solar, 23% powered by wind and 29% by hydroelectric, totalling 70% renewable electricity by 20502.

The good news is Chile is ideally placed to utilise a range of renewable technologies. Northern Chile has the highest solar incidence in the world3 – meaning solar alone has the potential to power all of Chile’s electricity needs. Vast deserts and a 2,653-mile coast line mean wind power also has reams of potential. Like much of the rest of South America, hydro-power has historically accounted for around 50% of the country’s electricity generation4, but recent droughts have weakened the reliability of this as a source. Finally, with more than 90 active volcanoes Chile is ideally placed to utilise geothermal energy and recently built the first geothermal plant in South America.5

All in all, action is needed – and quickly as sadly, even these grand commitments are not enough to meet Paris Climate Agreement targets.6

Three things to look out for:

1. D’Ambrosio out in front

Preceded by a podium in Ad Diriyah, D’Ambrosio claimed an emotional victory for both him and the Mahindra Racing Team in Marrakesh – and they’ll be looking to carry this momentum on with at least another podium. With D’Ambrosio being first in the drivers’ championship, and Mahindra being second in the team standings, we’d recommend keeping an eye out for a subtle, yet strong performance from the Belgian.

2. BMW i Andretti Motorsport to make their mark

At times in Marrakesh, it looked like BMW i Andretti Motorsport were unstoppable – both drivers commanded a four second lead for large swathes of the race in what looked like a guaranteed double podium. It’s clear they have the drivers competing and performing, and a car that can deliver. Surely, another dominant race will secure their place as one of the strongest teams on the grid in only their third race?

3. Can DS Techeetah convert race pace into a win?

DS Techeetah sit at the top of the team standings despite only one podium between both drivers over the two races. Strong in-race performances by both Lotterer and Vergne have been marred by penalties and overly aggressive overtaking, but if they can learn from their mistakes in the previous two races – they look capable of sitting at the top of the championship come July.

We asked Alexander Sims for his thoughts ahead of the race:

“After two races, I think I’m getting to grips relatively well with the theory and basics of how and when to use the energy during a race. Although, as anticipated, it has been a steep learning curve and there’s still more to improve. BMW i Andretti Motorsport has done a very good job with the powertrain. We don’t know the efficiency numbers for all the cars on the grid, but it seems like we’re right up there and can use our energy more efficiently than some of the other teams. I’m hoping we can convert this into positive results in Santiago.”

How do I watch?

The action-packed 45 min race starts at 7pm (UK time) on Saturday 26th January. It’s available to watch on BBC (race only via the red button or online) and YouTube (screening extended build-up before each race).

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