- Jaguar I-TYPE 2 narrowly misses out on podium finish in hard-fought E-Prix
- Mitch Evans delivers more points for the team finishing in P9
- Panasonic Jaguar Racing record team’s best qualifying result in P3
Rome E-Prix in photos
Rome E-prix race report
The Formula E championship, now in its 4th season, finally arrived in Europe, with the 1st stop of the European leg of the season being in Rome, Italy. We arrived in Rome on Friday 13th April, where we were lucky enough to be greeted by wonderful sunny weather, and we could already feel the excitement which was building for the weekend’s race. In fact, it was the first time that Formula E had been held in Italy, a country where its people are very engaged with the traditional Formula 1 championship, so there was a lot of curiosity and expectation regarding the E-Prix.
When we arrived at the circuit, the day before the race, we met a member of the team from the Panasonic Jaguar Racing (PJR) staff, who gave us the chance to access the pit lane and get very close to the PJR cars. It was interesting and amazing to see all the accuracy and concentration shown by the PJR team members whilst they were getting the cars ready for the race. We also got the opportunity to see the two drivers whilst they were busy preparing for the race the next day.
On Saturday 14th, the day of the race, the racetrack was very crowded. There were lots of fans wearing shirts and caps of their favourite teams. The E-Village building (called ‘la Nuvola (The cloud) for its unusual shape) was the main area for all the activities that were going on in the village. We tried the driving simulator, which gave us the feeling of driving a Formula E car. We then got to see the electric motorcycles, as well as a number of prototype cars. One of the focuses with the prototype cars was the innovation of more traditional vehicles through adapting them with electric engines. The theme of electrification was in fact not only focused on the race cars, next to the ‘La Nuvola’ building, fans were able to perform a test drive on the first entirely electric Jaguar SUV, the I-Pace.
We had such an exciting experience on the day of the race, attending the qualifying session during the morning and the race in the afternoon. Mitch Evans qualified in 3rd position, whilst Nelson Piquet Jr qualified in 13th position. Before the start of the race, we could watch (live from the huge monitors in front of the main grandstand) the interviews of the FIA president Jean Todt and Alejandro Agag, founder and current CEO of Formula E.
At 4pm the music which was being played by the DJ from the podium stopped, the traffic lights lit up and the cars in the grid were ready to go. 3,2,1… lights off and the race started! During the first part of the race, the positions seemed to be frozen, with Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra Racing) holding 1st place, followed by Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing) and Mitch Evans of PJR. During the first 15 laps we witnessed a great performance by Jose Maria Lopez (Dragon Racing) who gained 8 positions, and by Luca Filippi (Nio) who gained 4 positions performing outstanding overtakes.
At the halfway point of the race, the pit-stops for the change of the cars began. It deserves to be mentioned that the pit-stop of the E-Prix is a very crucial part of the race, in fact, it is not the typical pit-stop as in Formula One, where cars have tires changed and engines re-fuelled. Due to the fact that the electronic battery duration is not able to cover the entire race, each driver must literally change their vehicle, jumping from the one which he was driving into a new fully charged vehicle.
Whilst the race seemed to be decided, the last three laps were crazy. Mitch Evans fell 7 positions due to the low battery level of his vehicle, Sam Bird and Di Grassi had a great battle until the last lap, but at the end of the race, Sam Bird from the DS Virgin Racing team reached the highest step of the podium and his 2nd victory of the season. In the end it was bad luck for the two drivers from Panasonic Jaguar Racing, Nelson Piquet Jr. retired from the race due to issues with his seatbelt, whilst Mitch Evans closed the race in 9th position, as he suffered with low battery level.
The Rome E-Prix was captivating and very engaging. Apart from the race results, it was a great success. The grandstands were sold out and with the race taking place in the heart of the Italian Capital, it made the drivers seem like this centuries gladiators, who were all ready to challenge in the new arena. It was a pleasure to take part in the Rome E-Prix and to be chosen as GKN ambassadors, helping to celebrate the GKN partnership with Panasonic Jaguar Racing. GKN is aware of the importance of the electrification and it is fully involved in it. We hope that the partnership with PJR grows stronger overtime, with more GKN technology being added to the car in the future!
Team Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Formula E Rome
Formula E will electrify the Italian streets for the first ever street race in Rome this April.
The newly-designed track follows parts of the unused F1 circuit layout which had been proposed for the 2012 Rome Grand Prix, but never came to pass. The new addition to the Formula E track roster will take place in the Esposizione Universale Roma financial district, a Roman district originally developed for the 1942 world fair.
Clocking in at a lengthy 2.86km, the Circuto Cittadino dell’EUR is the second longest track (after Marrakesh) we have yet seen in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship. Nelson Piquet Jr. electrified the streets of Rome in the I-TYPE 2 late last year to launch the Rome E-Prix, commenting that the lengthy, technical course will be a challenging but special race.
The championship races
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