After Edoardo Mortara won the last race in Hong Kong, the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship heads to the Hanian Island for the 2019 Sanya ePrix for the first race on this island with the Italian-Swiss racer hoping to head to the European leg of the series as points leader.
Mortara arrives in Sanya tied for third in the championship with Lucas Di Grassi on 52-points, just two points off points leader Sam Bird after the Envision Virgin Racing driver was penalised for his incident with DS Techeetah driver Andre Lotterer in Hong Kong.
Venturi head to Sanya as race winners for the first time in the series with the Monegasque team looking like potential winners on several occasions, notably in the first ever Formula E race at the 2014 Beijing ePrix when Nick Heidfeld had a huge airborne shunt after contact with Nico Prost at the final corner of the race. But after finally breaking their duck in Hong Kong, Venturi will be hoping for more success on the coastline city of Sanya.
After their breakthrough result, Team Principal of Venturi Formula E Team Suzie Wolff said,“Hong Kong went very well for us and whilst we definitely took time to celebrate our result, we were back to the business of preparing for Sanya very quickly.
“We’re a comparatively small, tight team and there’s no room for complacency. We mustn’t forget that we’re only five races down, we still have eight races to go so our focus remains firmly forward and on the immediate and unique challenge that Sanya presents.
“The car is running well and we will arrive at the track in Sanya fully determined, ready to push hard and do our best.”
The 2.24 km racetrack in Sanya follows the South China Sea coastline on the Hanian Island as the southernmost tip of China. The coastline location means that the track will have poor grip from the nearby beach which will yet again shake up the qualifying order with the championship leaders running in group one will be up against it to qualify well due to the way the track will rubber in throughout the session.
Coming off the back of victory in Hong Kong, Mortara said heading to Sanya:
“Of course, we’re coming off the back of three good weekends, but we have to keep our feet on the ground, remain focused and continue to make improvements to our car. There’s no doubt that we are heading in the right direction and making progress at every race but there’s no room for error. The entire team is working extremely hard every day.”
Felipe Massa has had a tougher time of things in the first five races of the season, but the Brazilian has picked up 14-points in the past two races and qualified a superb third in Mexico City. Hoping to be bidding for more points this weekend, Massa said:
“This will be my first time in Sanya and just two weeks after the race in Hong Kong, I’m delighted at the thought of encountering the Chinese fans again – they are so full of energy and positivity. We’ve scored important points during the last three races, which highlights our current form.
“We have to continue along this path, and always keep improving. I hope that we’ll be competitive on this track, which is quite different from the last two. Its two long straight stretches offer an interesting challenge in terms of energy consumption and I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do.”
Given the unique track layout of the Sanya Street Circuit and the wide, open racetrack means that there will be plenty of overtaking throughout the course of the race, with Venturi looking for a third consecutive podium finish in Formula E this weekend.