- Mitch Evans finished in sixth, Nelson Piquet Jnr just short of points in 11th
- The hottest Formula E race on record – 37 degrees Celsius
- Mitch moves to 6th and Nelson 16th in the driver standings with the PJR now 6th in the team standings
- Next up is the Mexico City E-Prix on February 16, 2019
The third race of Season 5 of the FIA Formula E Championship took place in Santiago, Chile. The 2.348 km long circuit is challenging due to the narrow corners and hairpins which are often present on street circuits. The event began on the Thursday before the race, when the drivers had their first chance to walk the track after a week of training in the simulator.
Shakedown took place on the Friday, this is the first time the drivers can drive through the circuit, with a power limitation of 100 kW. We arrived at the garage and the whole team was already focused on their activities to ensure that all equipment, cars and drivers will be ready in time for the shakedown.
The preparation was over and the big day arrived, the Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix. Hundreds of fans were standing in line waiting for the gates to open at 07:45 AM. As soon as the fans entered the E-Village the queues for the attractions started growing. People were excited to register their lap times on the simulators and to visit the other stands with all the entertaining and interactive activities available. After just 15 minutes, at 08:00 AM the action started on the track and Free Practice 1 began.
After 45 minutes of free practice the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team drivers Mitch Evans and Nelson Piquet Jr. set the 11th and 16th best lap times respectively. After vising the many attractions, concerts and numerous practice sessions it was time for Qualifying. Qualification was divided into 4 groups, the drivers had their chance to set one of the six best lap times which would allow them to qualify for Super Pole.
Lucas di Grassi set the fastest lap in qualification but was disqualified due to a technical infringement when returning to the pits, this meant that Sebastien Buemi secured pole position. Mitch Evans and Nelson Piquet Jr. qualified in 11th and 19th positions on the grid.
The race started fiercely with many drivers fighting for positions but thankfully there were only a few minor incidents. Nelson Piquet Jr. gained one position whilst Mitch Evans remained in 11th position. The first collision of the race occurred when Felipe Massa watched his car being squeezed against the wall which caused damage to his front suspension. During the last 8 minutes of the race Mitch Evans managed to hold onto his 6th position despite the attacks of other drivers, gaining him 8 Championship points, whilst Nelson Piquet Jr. finished in 14th position.
After 47 minutes of an extremely challenging and exciting race, the British driver Sam Bird won the race with 3% of battery capacity remaining, being followed by Pascal Wehrlein in 2nd and Daniel Abt in 3rd.
The temperatures around the track were extremely high, reaching 45 degrees Celsius, many drivers reported they had to reduce their power and give up the fight for positions due to battery’s overheating. The high temperatures were not only challenging for the cars, but also for the drivers and the fans (that remained excited in the stands until the end of the race cheering for the drivers).
It was a great pleasure to have the opportunity to take part in such an exciting, innovative and technological event that was the 2019 Antofagasta Minerals Santiago E-Prix. Being inside the garage with the Panasonic Jaguar Team during shakedown and also having conversations with the team drivers was an inspirational experience. We will keep our fingers crossed for the Panasonic Jaguar Racing Team during the next race of the season in Mexico City and we also hope that the next GKN Automotive ambassadors will have an amazing time there!