Formula E is returning to Mexico this weekend as the teams and drivers look set to kick off the second half of the World Championship.
The Autodromo Miguel E. Abed circuit will kick-off the second half of the season on 19th and 20th June, with the last E-Prix taking place on the streets of Monaco on the first weekend of May.
This time, the drivers will have to navigate the 2.98km, 15-turn permanent race track which has been tweaked slightly by Formula E’s sporting team, most notably with the inclusion of an extended Turn 8 Attack Mode zone.
Another twist to this weekend of racing is the return of the fans, with 10,000 supporters allowed in the stands each race day.
DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne commented: “I love Mexico and I hope we have as much fun as we have had in previous years.
“The Mexican crowd make it special. So far, we’ve raced in cold conditions and has not really been good to us. So hopefully, the car will perform better in the warm conditions there.”
“We honestly missed the fans,” added Mercedes-EQ’s Nyck de Vries. “I think we really need them for the ambiance and the atmosphere; they give the punch to the event. Any sport, in the end, is about showing fans the action and we really hope to share it with them again. It’s great to have people attending and I hope that we can welcome more very soon.”
Racing on a permanent track raises a few issues for the drivers, namely energy management. In the first of a double header in Valencia, only a handful of drivers’ finished the race, with the rest of the grid running out of energy before passing the chequered flag.
“A double-header makes things a bit easier for us because you have two shots at it,” said Dragon / Penske Autosport driver Nico Mueller. “you can learn from the experience of day one, and hopefully transfer that into an improvement for the second day. The simulator is key for working on energy management and knowing where can you push the car to its absolute limit and have the big-time gains.”
Audi Sport ABT’s Lucas Di Grassi also commented on how the heat is going to impact proceedings. He said: “Formula E has achieved a really interesting compromise with nice tracks, the double headers and the best race weekend we can have.
“We’ve only raced in cool conditions so far in Season 7. So, it’s a different setup than when we race in a very hot environment. We have to manage energy, and we have to manage the temperature of the battery – it increases the complexity of the whole event. You have another constraint that you have to take into account, increasing the complexity of the whole event.”
Porsche’s Andre Lotterer added: “When we go to hot places and abrasive tracks, you are on the higher end of the working window and the tyre which will need more management. We’ll implement that into our energy management style and in the car setup. It’s another thing to master.
“Overheating the battery due to too much regen can also be an issue in the heat. So, we’ll need to also adapt the profile to stress the battery less and not getting into the derating phase where you start losing power.
“This has to be managed from the beginning of the race because we get a kind of prediction until where we will end up with the temperature. These are all things we can simulate in simulator and get ready for it and it makes things a bit more difficult for us.”
As things stand in the Championship, Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns sits ahead of Mercedes’ Nyck de Vries in the drivers standings, with Jaguar’s Mitch Evans moving up into third place with his third podium of the season in Monaco.
Despite his positive results, Evans believes more can be done from a team perspective, starting in Puebla. He said: “I came away from the Monaco E-Prix with my third podium of the season which was great but I know as a team we could have got more. In Puebla I will be more determined than ever to get the points we deserve and push ourselves into a strong position in the Teams’ Championship. Mexico has been a successful venue for the team in the past and I feel very ready to take on this double-header in the heat.”
Rounds 8 & 9 of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship – the Puebla E-Prix – will take place on 19th and 20th June.