After the dramatic Beijing ePrix, Formula E’s two month hiatus comes to an end this weekend for the Putrajaya ePrix in Malaysia.
The fallout from the first race has continued in more ways than one, as Venturi GP find themselves rebuilding Nick Heidfeld’s car at the pits in Malaysia, following his collision with e.dams-Renault’s Nico Prost in the championship opener.
Their crash proved to be the only blot on the record for a great opening race in which Audi Sport ABT team driver Lucas Di Grassi made history as the first ever race winner in Formula E.
With such a new series providing very little in the way of known quantities, in addition to the variable temperatures in weather and conditions, he’s bullish on predictions ahead of Malaysia.
“Formula E is unpredictable,” he said. “Everybody’s got the same material, the gaps are minimal and on a new track the relative strengths can pan out differently again. Our aim remains the same before each race: we’re set on winning. And if that shouldn’t be possible, then we’d at least like to finish on the podium and score valuable points.”
His team-mate Daniel Abt is also single minded in his aims having dropped the GP2 season finale race in order to race in Putrajaya, a decision di Grassi agrees with.
“Daniel showed a strong performance in qualifying and lost his podium place in the race (Beijing) only due to a really minor issue,” he said. “He’s set on making up for this as soon as possible and now has the opportunity to do so.”
While Abt was able to rework his schedule, Andretti Autosport’s Charles Pic was unable to do the same. As the Lotus F1 Team reserve driver, Pic is on duty in Abu Dhabi. It means that team leading the Team standings now has a new incumbent alongside Franck Montagny.
After testing the Andretti Formula E car, Matthew Brabham fills the vacant seat alongside Montagny, having shown a keen interest in Formula E in the build up to the season opener.
He won’t be the only driver making his debut in Putrajaya. Having missed Beijing, Antonio Felix da Costa will take part in his first race.
His team-mate, Katherine Legge will continue and the racer will be looking to top fellow female driver Michela Cerutti of Trulli GP. The Italian had back surgery in order to make sure she raced in Malaysia and helps ensure minimal change to the entry list.
“It’s great to finally be back on track for the 2nd round after this very long break,” said Cerutti. “Beijing was not the best weekend for us, but I’m really looking forward to driving again and do my best to achieve the result that we deserve. We still have to work hard on few things, but I think we can be competitive and fight for high positions on the standings.”
The drivers will race on a 1.59 mile circuit complete with twelve turns, and will race near locations such as the Perdana Putra housing the Prime Minister’s Office, using much of the main high street and passing several of the city’s most recognisable buildings such as the Ministry of Finance.
It also encompasses the Seri Wawasan Bridge and Putra Mosque and will see drivers tackle a mixture of straights, slow to medium speed corners, a hairpin plus a tight first-corner chicane.
Heading into the second round Andretti top the team rankings with 30 points, ahead Audi Sport ABT by 4 points. Sitting in third is Virgin Racing, thanks to Sam Bird’s third place in Beijing the team have 15 points, just one point clear of Dragon Racing.
In terms of drivers, unsurprisingly di Grassi leads the way with 25 points, in front of Montagny’s 18 and Sam Bird’s 12 points in third places.