In the hearts of racing fans, the Rome E-Prix holds a very special place: it officially marks the start of the European leg of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. And on 9 April, as Spring bursts forth, all the excitement returns, with an enthralling double-header.
Since the first E-Prix was held here in 2018, the Roman fixture has seized the imagination of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team and racing fans alike. The challenging 19-turn course is fast and tricky, winding through the streets of Rome’s EUR district. Technically, it’s very demanding. Being a typical street circuit, with many 90-degree turns and short straights, there’s little room for error. Presided over by the large, stately buildings of the city’s commercial hub, much of it is directly bordered by walls, raising the accident risk.
The challenge is heightened further by the peculiarities of the circuit. Not only is it somewhat bumpy in places, it also has sudden dips and rises that can impact on wheel traction and handling. Drivers André Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein will need to be even more ready than usual for the unexpected: since last year, a major portion of the track has been renewed, so, for the first few laps at least, it really will be a race into the unknown. On top of that, the Attack Zone – where positions can change in split seconds - is now located just outside a tight hairpin bend. Hairy indeed! Finally, the Pit lane is unusually long. So, potentially, this could contribute to significant time loss in the case of a drive-through penalty.
For the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team, fresh from their spectacular double-header win at Mexico City in February, the stakes have never been higher. Defending their lead is going to be a master class in racing strategy, skill and daring. Be sure not to miss a second of the action from 9 - 10 April.