Formula E takes to the streets of New York for the first time ever this weekend, as the end of the season rapidly approaches. The double-header event will take place without championship leader Sébastien Buemi in attendance, handing his rivals a golden opportunity.
Buemi currently sits 32 points clear at the top of the drivers’ table. But the Renault e-Dams driver is unable to travel to New York because he’ll be racing in the World Endurance Championship for Toyota. With a maximum of 29 points up for grabs in each round (58 over the weekend), closest rival Lucas di Grassi must perform well if he is to stand any chance of taking his first championship victory. Anything less than podium finishes would seriously dent the Brazilian’s chances, and could effectively hand victory to Buemi — despite several other drivers being mathematically in contention.
Red Bull’s Formula 1 reserve driver, Pierre Gasly, will replace Buemi for the two Brooklyn races. The French driver has had little practice in the Formula E car, and will even miss the Friday shake-down session.
Englishmen in New York
The WEC clash has also affected DS Virgin’s drivers. José María López is not available to drive, and will be replaced by Alex Lynn. Lynn, who currently drives for G-Drive in the WEC, has also had limited experience in the all-electric car. He took part in the shake-down session in Mexico City, but has otherwise had virtually no time behind the wheel on track. Sam Bird, however, has been released by Ferrari to take part in the Formula E event, giving DS Virgin an all-English line-up this weekend.
The remainder of the field is unchanged from last month’s Berlin event.
When to watch
The schedule for Saturday and Sunday’s races are different, to better suit domestic television schedules. Saturday’s qualifying session will start at noon local time (5pm UK, 6pm CEST) with the race starting at 4pm local (9pm UK, 10pm CEST). On Sunday, however, drivers will have to set their alarm clocks extra-early: qualifying will start at 9am local (2pm UK, 3pm CEST) with the race at 1pm local (6pm UK, 7pm CEST).
Image: the backdrop to this weekend’s ePrix © Formula E