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Brits in control as Formula E returns this week

Brits in control as Formula E returns this week
By Eurosport

15/01/2020 at 09:12Updated 15/01/2020 at 09:17

The ABB FIA Formula E Championship returns for its first race of 2020 in Santiago on Saturday January 18. The E-Prix will be broadcast live on Eurosport 1 at 7pm.

And with the new major manufacturers, new drivers and new rivalries all raring to get going again following the season opener in Diriyah, here are reasons you should tune into Eurosport to watch the race.

Brits top the table following Diriyah opener

Britain’s Sam Bird and Alexander Sims made the early stamp on the Drivers’ Championship race after taking one victory each in the season opening double-header in Diriyah.

With the ABB FIA Formula E Championship yet to be won by a Brit, the pair will have one eye on a season finale in London as a chance to lift the title for the first time in front of home fans.

Bird, who lost six kilos in the off-season after switching to a plant-based diet, became the first driver to win a race in every Formula E season ever with victory in the opening race of the season for Envision Virgin Racing.

Following Bird’s ninth Formula E victory, BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Sims took his maiden win in the all-electric series from a record breaking third pole position in a row counting last season’s final race.

The bespectacled racer made it third time lucky as he cruised home and sits top of the Drivers’ Championship, five points ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne in second.

Video - Formula E: Santiago race preview

01:09

Vandoorne helps Mercedes-Benz EQ make early statement in battle of German Big Beasts

In another weekend of close, competitive and unpredictable racing, Vandoorne enjoyed an unusually consistent time in Saudi Arabia as the Belgian showed just why he came into the competition a year early to get experience ahead of Mercedes-Benz’s entry.

The former McLaren man secured two third-place finishes with equally smart drives to position the rookie team top of the Teams’ Championship by two points ahead of Envision Virgin after the opening weekend.

With Mercedes-Benz EQ and TAG Heuer Porsche joining BMW and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler to complete a 24-car grid in Formula E – the first time all four manufacturers have competed in the same Championship – rivalries are set to hit fever pitch this season.

And with all four teams landing at least one podium over the first two races, don’t expect this battle of the big beasts to settle down any time soon.

Video - 'Fantastic' - Watch the final lap as Sims takes maiden Formula E win

02:37

Champion hopes for Chilean change in fortune

Jean-Eric Vergne suffered a stuttering start to his title defence in Diriyah – leaving with just four points – and will be aiming to get back into the hunt for his third title in a row, beginning with a positive performance in Chile.

The Frenchman has had contrasting fortunes in Chile – winning the first ever Santiago race in his maiden title-winning season but being forced to retire last year, which then snowballed into two more pointless races in the row and a genuine title wobble.

But with a quick car in the DS Techeetah – teammate Antonio Felix da Costa setting the fastest lap in Diriyah – and some time to renew the focus, expect the Frenchman to be back among the pace setters in Chile.

Di Grassi back to the track following environmental leadership role

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver and UN ambassador for clean air Lucas di Grassi took some time out to travel to New Delhi - one of the most polluted cities on the planet – to raise awareness of air pollution in a new documentary.

“The trip was an eye-opener for me, because I saw first-hand how serious the immediate effects of air pollution on people can be,” said di Grassi. “I may have learned more during these few days than on all of my previous trips around the world. It’s our duty to do something.”

And with news Formula E has been again awarded with third-party ISO 20121 certificatation for setting a gold standard when it comes to sustainable events, Formula E continues to push forward with its clean credentials.

Video - 'We need to do something to clean the air' - Formula E responds to climate crisis

04:16

Viewers to see the race like never before with ‘Driver’s Eye’

With unique formats such as a timed race and ATTACK MODE, Formula E is pushing the boundaries in the traditional world of motorsport.

Fans watching on Eurosport will be able to gain new insight this weekend when Formula E broadcasts the ‘Driver’s Eye’. This new camera angle will give fans the chance to watch the race from the driver’s vantage point thanks to a special camera placed inside the helmet.

Formula E granted World Championship status

In another coup for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, from next season the series will be the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship after the FIA granted the competition world title status last month.

This means that, for the first time, there will be two single-seater World Championships from next season – Formula E and Formula One.