After 10 long years, India is back on the radar of an international racing competition with the inaugural Formula E race at Hyderabad, The #HyderabadEPrix is scheduled on the 10th-11th of Feb ’23. The first 3 rounds have been really electric getting the season off to a positive start. 3 different pole sitters and 2 different winners in the first 3 races. #94 Pascal Wehrlein winning the double header at Diriyah in Saudi Arabia and #27 Jake Dennis taking the season opener in Mexico.
For more on Formula E’s new Gen 3 era and the Season 9, click here
All the 3 wins went to Porsche power trains, with Wehrlein (Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) and Dennis (Avalanche Andretti Formula E, powered by Porsche power trains) way ahead of the rest in the championship, virtue of finishing 1 & 2 in all the 3 races.
As seen from the above, the Porsche powered cars are in the top 2 in both the championships. Can any other manufacturer stop them from taking the spoils at the Hyderabad EPrix ?.
The Circuit for the #HyderabadEPrix
As the Formula E tradition, a 2.83 km street circuit is what awaits the drivers for the weekend.
The stretch from the finish line to the start line down the NTR marg is along the picturesque Hussain Sagar lake and past the Lumbini Park on the left, with the Buddha statue overlooking the track as the cars rush towards turn 3. The turn 3 hair pin sees the cars go underneath a fly over and back towards NTR marg and around the upcoming Telangana govt’s Secretariat area. Then it takes a loop around the NTR garden as it completes lap at the exit of turn 18.
A combination of fast straights thrown in to a mix of medium to low speed corners, with the fastest lap times expected to be around 75 secs. Energy management is always a key factor in deciding the race strategy, and the track produces good chances of regeneration from the medium to heavy braking zones into turns 1, 3 & 16 which are the end of a long straights.
Race Format & Schedule
The Hyderabad EPrix is single race weekend which would have 2 practice sessions followed by the Qualifying and the Race. Practice session 1 is on Friday evening with the rest of the sessions on Saturday. Below is the schedule as per IST:
Each of the practice sessions is 30 mins in duration, with the drivers having a free will at the amount of power output from the car.
2 groups of 11 drivers put into Group 1 & 2 basing on their championship standings. All odd numbers go to group 1 and even numbers go to group 2. Each group of 11 cars have a time of 10 mins each to post the fastest lap times. The top 4 drivers in each group make it thru the one on one DUELS stage, while the rest of 14 cars take their place on the grid from 9th to 22nd basing on their finishing position at the group stage. Power availability is 300kw at the group stage.
It is a knock out format with QF, SF and finals. 2 drivers go one on one and the slowest driver gets knocked out. The winner of the final duel gets to start from first or what is termed as “Pole” position. The remaining slots from P2 to P8 gets filled in the order of their knock out stage and lap times. Power availability is 350 kw during the duels.
The Hyderabad ePrix circuit is 2.83 km long, with lap times reckoned to be around 75 secs. A typical Formula E race would be around 38-40 laps distance covered in about 45-50 mins. During the race, each driver has to take 2 attack mode activations, which allows them to drive the car at 350 kw power output, which 50kw more than the permitted 300 kw under normal race conditions.
The attack mode activations are a key strategy during a race, as the driver has to pass through 3 consecutive sensors along a 10 mtr stretch (like in some of our video games) which is away from the natural racing line. So a driver typically loses about 1.5 secs lap time in trying to make a lunge towards the attack mode zone. The 2 activations provide a total 4 mins in 3 diff combinations (1-3, 2-2, 3-1) as selected by the drivers.
Mahindra Racing has competed in the series in all its 9 seasons till date. The current line-up of Lucas Di Grassi and Oliver Rowland would definitely have a busy schedule with the amount of team PR activities in the lead up to the race. Mr. Anand Mahindra taking to Twitter asking fans to #CheerForTeamMahindra. Lucas Di Grassi has been a pioneer driver for the series even before the 1st season in 2014-15, having not missed any of the 103 races of the series till date. He jointly holds the record for most number of Formula E wins @ 13, along with Sebastian Buemi. He was crowned the champion of Season 3 in 2016-17. To summarize, he has been Mr. Formula E!.
Another team are the TATA group’s “tcs” backed Jaguar TCS Racing team with last year’s runner up in the championship, Mitch Evans, partnered by Sam Bird.