Eventful start in Diriyah
The Formula E season started over a month ago in Saudi Arabia, where two races were held on the street circuit of Diriyah. On 26 February, it was Nyck de Vries who impressed. The Dutchman was the fastest in qualifying and was also dominant in the race. A good start for the Dutchman, who saw another Mercedes-driven car behind him with Edoardo Mortara in P2.
On Sunday 27th February things went a lot less smooth for the Mercedes teams. Mortara hit the wall during the third free practice and as a precaution, all Mercedes cars were excluded from qualifying. In the race, they were able to compete again after it was ruled out that it was a problem with the Mercedes drivetrain.
After a pole by Robin Frijns, the second race was won by British driver Sam Bird, continuing his tradition of taking a victory in every season of Formula E. Frijns finished second and reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa third. De Vries retained the lead in the standings with his pole. He now has 32 points, 7 more than Bird and 10 more than fellow countryman Frijns.
ePrix of Rome
This year's ePrix of Rome will be held on a new street circuit layout. The Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR has 19 corners and is 3.385km long. The new circuit is now the second-longest circuit on the calendar.
Mitch Evans was the last winner of the 2019 Rome ePrix when he was already working for Jaguar. Sam Bird also won in Rome, only he was still driving for Envision Virgin Racing in 2018. However, since this season the two former winners are teammates.
Prediction for the races
Making a prediction for a Formula E race is always difficult. Each race can be won by a different driver, and with the unique way of qualifying, it is extremely difficult for the top drivers in the standings to qualify well. The top of the grid is in the first group, and the track isn't usually in the best condition at this time.
For a winner in Rome, we are therefore looking at good drivers who are currently in the second row of the classification, but whose car should be able to perform well. The main candidates are Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne. Last season's number two and three saw their teammate on the podium during the first race weekend, while they themselves scored little or, in Vergne's case, no points. They are the favourites in qualifying group three for this race.
Outsiders are Lucas di Grassi (group 3), André Lotterer (group 3), Sebastien Buemi (group 4) and Maximilian Günther (group 4). We should also note that Nyck de Vries was remarkably dominant in Saudi Arabia and was unable to show in the second qualifying session whether he could do the same from group 1. So don't rule him out in advance. He is the man in form.
Timetable ePrix of Rome
Free practice 1: 08:00 - 08:45
Free practice 2: 10:15 - 10:45
Qualifying: 12:00 - 13:00
Race 1: 16:04 - 17:00
Free practice 3: 07:00 - 07:45
Qualifying: 09:00 - 10:00
Race 2: 13:04 - 14:00