- T​he Foro Sol 'stadium' section stands as one of the most iconic parts of the track (Image Credit: ABB Formula E).

L​ooking Ahead for the 2020 Mexico City E-Prix

T​he all-electric single-seater championship returns to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez for the fifth time to continue the excitement and action, with three different race winners so far this season.

Unlike the previous years, we'll see a grid of 24 cars battle away in the pursuit to claim victory, a prospect we can look forward to as Mercedes-Benz and Porsche join fellow German giants BMW and Audi.

For the 2020 C​BMM Niobium Mexico City E-Prix, the track itself has also been changed and modified to a newer layout, using more of the permanent track layout also used by Formula 1.

A​ Quick Recap to Past...

The past four Mexico City E-Prix races was full of many wheel-to-wheel battles, unfortunate losses and dramatic crashes.

T​he packed grandstands at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez have been treated to spectacular sights since ABB Formula E first came here back in 2016, where Jerome D'Ambrosio claimed a win for Dragon Racing.

Back then, we gained an insight into the future as the on-track action remained close ever since. Lucas Di Grassi stood victorious in 2017 despite changing his front wing, and having taken a gamble by pitting earlier; the streak of safety car periods was a key factor and favoured any chance of winning by maintaining close proximity with the rest of the cars.

In the following 2018 edition, we yet again saw an Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler car on the top step of the podium but it was Daniel Abt who fought for the win.

A photo-finish in the 2019 Mexico City E-Prix saw Di Grassi claim his second win of Season 5 by metres (Image Credit: ABB Formula E).

A photo-finish in the 2019 Mexico City E-Prix saw Di Grassi claim his second win of Season 5 by metres (Image Credit: ABB Formula E).

T​he most recent edition of the Mexico City E-Prix saw one of the most exciting Formula E races and was a standout in the 2018-2019 season (five). As the first time for the Gen2 cars, the racing was quicker, closer, and ran tactically through the use of Attack Mode for the first time at the track.

Amongst the wealth of action and drama, we saw Nelson Piquet Jr (driving for Panasonic Jaguar Racing) crash airborne into the Turn 14-16 (final) chicane, following contact with DS Techeetah's Jean Eric Vergne; a long red flag period followed.

F​ollowing a miscalculation by Nissan e.Dams on how many laps the race would go for (since they last for 45 minutes plus one lap until the checkered flag), both Sebastian Buemi and Oliver Rowland went from running in P3 and P4 to retiring on the basis that they ran out of energy.

W​hilst most teams and drivers were 'hot-under-the-collar' in the desire to not only maintain their track position during their battles, but to physically reach the checkered flag without running out of energy.

U​nfortunately for Mahindra Racing's Pascal Wehrlein, he lost the lead he had when the last few laps especially saw him under pressure from Lucas Di Grassi to take the lead off him. After a few attempts, Di Grassi eventually made it past but only metres before the finish line as Wehrlein ran out of energy just so.

A​s a result of slightly cutting a chicane (and not stopping - behaviour as part of the regulations), he not only lost the hope to claim his first win (in only his third Formula E race), he never made it to the podium after getting demoted to P6 from a five-second time penalty.

H​e will certainly seek redemption and perhaps cement a first win.


T​he New Track Layout...

O​ne of the key top lines heading into this race weekend is the fact that the track layout has been dramatically modified to utilise a 1.62 mile circuit (and using more of the Formula One/perminant racetrack layout) with the disappearance of the two chicanes.

T​he deletion of the final (previously a Turn 14-16 complex) is part of the long-term plan to eliminate an establishing 'pile-up' that is caused by some of the chicanes used. Although it must be stated that after Piquet's crash last year, it was deemed a risk to have the final chicane there due to its safety concerns.

"W​e've spent a lot of time in the simulator, as the track has seen some significant chances that could allow overtaking..."

S​am Bird, Envision Virgin Racing

S​ince the chicanes (Turns 3-5 and Turns 14-16) of the previous layout have been removed, drivers and fans can look forward to a drivers having to utilise the newer and faster layout in order to conserve energy in the race.

T​he newer Turn-16, also known as the 'Peraltada' will allow drivers to carry more speed as they enter this historic sweeping right-hander onto the start/finish straight.

T​he full length of the Peraltada has not been used by a single-seater championship since Formula One in 1992.

A​ newer 1.6 mile long layout will see closer and faster track action as drivers will seek to look after their energy consumption (Image Credit: ABB Formula E).

A​ newer 1.6 mile long layout will see closer and faster track action as drivers will seek to look after their energy consumption (Image Credit: ABB Formula E).

Enjoy a lap around the (now older) track layout onboard Envision Virgin Racing's Robin Frijns.


Drivers' Championship Standings - Top 10

[1] Stoffel Vandoorne - #5 - Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team - 38 pts

[2] Alexander Sims - #27 - BMW i Andretti Motorsport - 35 pts

[3] Sam Bird - #2 - Envision Virgin Racing - 28 pts

[4] Maximilian Guenther - #28 - BMW i Andretti Motorsport - 25

[5] Lucas di Grassi - #11 - Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler - 24 pts

[6] Oliver Rowland - #22 - Nissan e.Dams - 22 pts

[7] António Felix Da Costa - #13 - DS Techeetah - 21 pts

[8] Mitch Evans - #20 - Panasonic Jaguar Racing - 21 pts

[9] André Lotterer - #36 - TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team - 18 pts

[10] Edoardo Mortara - #48 - ROKiT Venturi Racing - 18 pts

G​o to https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/results/standings/driver ​for a full look at the latest driver standings, and https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/results/standings/team ​for a look at the latest team standings.

A Trio of P​ossible Contenders for the Win...

O​ne obvious mention would be Pascal Wehrlein, who had demonstrated his talent and capability when he fought for the lead against Envision Virgin Racing's Sam Bird back in the 2019 Santiago E-Prix in only his second race. Following that performance, he claimed pole in qualifying at the 2019 Mexico City E-Prix and lost out to the race win.

He will certainly be eager to demonstrate his hunger for a win, despite the minor reliability issues Mahindra Racing (particularly Jerome d'Ambrosio when his drivetrain failed in Diriyah before the race even started).

A​nother mention could include Lucas Di Grassi. As a former drivers' champion, he has tasted victory many times and has claimed two wins at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit. Regardless of the unpredictable and close-nature of last year's race, he will be confident to assert a jump at not only a win (and a third win for Audi Sport Abt Schaffler at the track) but a kickstart to scoring major points this season that will hope to see him contend closely for the title later as like the previous year.

A​ third contender may be BMW i Andretti Motorsport's Max Guenther who'd just claimed his first win in Santiago and will be eager to continue, although it must be iterated that he will start qualifying in Q1, of whom face the most burden in terms of being unable to take advantage of track evolution.

N​evertheless, we enter the weekend with Mercedes-Benz EQ following closely behind BMW I Andretti Motorsport in the constructor's standings, and Mercedes-Benz EQ's Stoffel Vandoorne leading the driver's standings after taking over from second in the standings last time out before Santiago.

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