Hitting the Apex: São Paulo E-Prix

Formula E is back in Brazil! ATRL’s Eline Luna previews the São Paulo Street Circuit.

Eline Luna

March 15, 2024

Formula E returns to São Paulo for the second time ever. Formula E has bridged its longest calendar cap this season as there were six weeks between the Diriyah E-Prix and this weekend’s race. The gap was unplanned as the Hyderabad E-Prix was canceled last minute. 

 

Last year was Formula E’s first visit to the track but also the first race which saw Gen3’s style of peloton racing. The massive slipstream at the track meant no one wanted to lead the race as massive amounts of energy were lost compared to others. The race this year sees 31 laps, the same amount as last year. However, with 38.5kWh race energy, we see a 1.5kWh reduction from last year.

Antonio Felix da Costa, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, Porsche 99X Electric Gen3, leads Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23 (©Sam Bloxham/FIA Formula E)

The track has an interesting shape with only 11 turns. Starting on the main straight, the track turns into three sharp turns that require heavy braking. The turn 3 hairpin leads to another straight broken up by a chicane. Another straight leads into the sharp right-handers of turns 7 and 8. Turn 9 is a slight kink that leads into the lefthander of Turn 10 which quickly goes into Turn 11 which leads to the starting straight.

What to look out for?

Last season several drivers were caught out at the first corners as they left the sequence without a front wing. The race saw many passes as the long straights meant slipstream was a big player on track. Pole-sitter DS Penske’s Stoffel Vandoorne led most of the race but eventually only finished sixth as those around him had more energy remaining near the end.

 

Last year’s race saw an all-Jaguar Powertrain podium as Jaguar’s Mitch Evans won ahead of Envision’s Nick Cassidy who was followed by Evans’ teammate Sam Bird. Only half a second covered the top three drivers.

Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing, 1st position. (©LAT Images/FIA Formula E)

The Jaguar powertrain is expected to be strong once again which bodes well for championship leader Nick Cassidy. Cassidy, who moved to Jaguar over the off-season, has been on the podium during all three races this season. It means he leads the championship over Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein by 19 points. Mitch Evans, who’s fifth in the championship, with two fifth places and a tenth place. This race could be where he truly gets his title challenge underway.

 

Andretti’s Jake Dennis’ will surely be a contender as well, as the defending World Champion retired during the race last year. Last time out in Diriyah, he took a win in the first race but failed to score points in the second race. 

 

Also running the Jaguar powertrain are Envision’s Robin Frijns and Sébastien Buemi who have both taken a second-place finish already this season. Considering Jaguar’s dominance at this track last season, the two drivers from the reigning Team Champion should be looked out for as well.  

 

Track Layout:

Past Winners

2023: Mitch Evans

Race Info:

  • Race Length: 31 Laps
  • Turns: 11
  • Attack Mode Place: T3
  • Attack Mode: 8 Minutes
  • Track Length: 2.933 km
  • Most Wins: Mitch Evans (1)
  • Race lap record: 1:13.684 (Sam Bird, 2023)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eline follows a variety of motorsports from Formula E to IMSA to Nascar to WEC. They hope to study Mechanical Engineering to work in motorsports one day.

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