After a lengthy break, Formula E returns next Saturday with the second race of season three. The Marrakesh ePrix will be the first to be held in Africa, and the last race for a staggering 98 days – the same length of time that separated the end of season two and the opening round in Hong Kong.
The scheduling issues don’t end there for the series. It was confirmed this week that the WEC will not be moving their Nürburgring race weekend, so it will clash with the New York ePrix double-header. Sébastien Buemi has already confirmed that he is contractually obligated to give the WEC precedence, so he will be unable to race in America. It’s likely, but not yet confirmed, that other drivers will find themselves in the same position.
In Marrakesh next week, there will be another clash, with the race taking place at the same time as qualifying for the Formula 1 Brazilian grand prix.
On the track, there are several teams who will feel they have something to prove. Techeetah had an awful weekend in Hong Kong, so Jean-Éric Vergne will be keen to show the rest of the field that the team are worthy contenders. Ma Qing Hua still has much to prove as a driver in the series, also.
DS Virgin also failed to pick up any championship points in the opening round, although Sam Bird was only denied a (potentially) stellar finish by technical problems with his second car. A good finish for them will be vital; the three-month break will feel twice as long without a point to their name.
All teams will face new challenges at the circuit, which differs from most city-centre layouts with long, sweeping curves and straights – not features that will suit the cars, which have been optimised for sharp bursts of acceleration around tight, twisty corners. The longer lap lengths will also force teams into thinking more carefully about strategy. There distance to the pit lane could also cause a problem for anyone who picks up damage early on.
When to watch
The race day returns to Saturday for round two. Qualifying for the race starts at 12 noon local time (7am Eastern / 12 noon UK / 1pm CET) followed by the race at 4pm local (11am Eastern / 4pm UK / 5pm CET). A full qualifying and race report will be posted here shortly after each session.
Image: Sam Bird’s car in the DS Virgin garage © Formula E