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Formula E preview: Misano

Written by Vyas Ponnuri

The pulse of season ten of Formula E shifts from Konnichiwa to benvenuto , as the all-electric series moves into the buzzing seaside town of Misano, for the Misano E Prix. Overlooking the Adriatic Coast, you'd be mistaken for thinking the main attraction consists of the resorts lining up the seaside.

More than the resorts and the seaside breeze, Misano is known for the motor racing circuit, located about a stone's throw from the beaches. Officially known as the MIsano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, the 4.2 km (2.6 mi) circuit features a series of long straights linked by sweeping corners, playing largely to the tastes of motorbike racing.

Having been opened five decades ago, the track has primarily played host to the Italian round of the MotoGP season, under various names across a decorated four-decade stint.

The circuit is also named after a famous motorbike rider from the region, Marco Simoncelli. Popularly known as 'Super Sic' , Simoncelli raced in the MotoGP during the early 2010s, and was all set to be the next big name in the history of the series.

However, he would tragically pass away after a fatal incident at the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. Born in Cattolica, and raised in the nearby Coriano town, the owners decided to rename the track to honour the young Italian.

Apart from MotoGP and the World Superbike Championship, Misano has also played host to the popular GT World Challenge Europe for nearly a decade, while it also serves as a host for the European Truck Racing Championship. In the past, the sweeping corners of Misano have also witnessed the likes of DTM make its way over to Italy, the circuit having hosted the German series for two years in 2018 and 2019.

Now, the locales of Misano will be abuzz with the sights and sounds of Formula E, as the electric racing series makes its way onto a road course circuit once again.

Aside from the culinary specialties, motorsport runs deep in the blood of Italian fans, who show greater passion for their homegrown teams. There will certainly be more than a smattering of applause for Maserati, the Monaco-owned, Italian outfit looking for yet more glory at home, to back up their Rome E Prix podium from season nine.

The track

While the expanse of the Misano road course spans 4.2 km (2.6 mi), Formula E will use a shorter 3.381 km (2.101 mi) 14-turn version of the racetrack, bypassing the in-field section consisting of turns one to six on the regular road course.

Instead, the lap kicks off with a modified section of racetrack constituting turns one to four, with turns one and two from the Grand Prix layout followed by two quick corners taking the drivers on the run to the sweeping left-hander of Quercia, turn five on the Formula E layout.

Expect this corner to be a potential overtaking spot, with the drivers looking to set up an overtake off turns three and four, and make the move into turn five.

From here, the Formula E layout follows the Grand Prix layout, a short straight leading on to the quick sweep of turn six, and turn seven, Tramonto. This is followed by another straight, heading into a quick chicane of turns eight and nine, instated for the Formula E circuit. This will serve as a prime overtaking spot to keep an eye on for the races.

Another quick speed section follows, heading along the quick kinks of turns 10 and 11, before the hairpin of turn 12, Carro, slows the drivers down again, taking them back towards the main straight. This corner serves as another overtaking spot, with drivers tailing each other closely off the chicane, and eyeing up a move into the hairpin.

Another quick brace of left handers consisting of turns 13 and 14 bring the drivers onto the start/finish straight, and across the line for a lap of the track.

Expect plenty of overtaking during the double-header, given the vast confines of the circuit, and the nature of the layout also allowing drivers to push their Formula E machinery to their full potential.

The peloton style of racing on display at last year's Portland E Prix, another road course track, and a feature of fast tracks such as the Sao Paulo Street Circuit, could make a return at Misano, with drivers preferring to sit in the slipstream of the car ahead, and save energy, instead of leading the race.

Drivers to watch out for

When in Italy, never count out Mitch Evans in the running for victory. The Kiwi has a knack for taking victories in the country, having won as many as four Rome E Prix between 2019 and 2023 for Jaguar.

While the Misano layout is anything but the narrow confines of Rome where Formula E raced earlier, never count Evans out of the battle for victory, as he can pull off something special on the day.

With Evans in the championship-leading Jaguar machine, you would definitely count on the Kiwi putting in a stellar showing and find himself at the front of the field.

He will face stern competition from his companion Nick Cassidy, who relinquished his lead in the championship after the Tokyo E Prix, for the first time in two months. A race that saw him forced to go into damage limitation after qualifying 19th, Cassidy would be glad to finish seventh, and limit the championship lead to a mere two points.

He will be eyeing a strong showing on the road course, with the circuit expected to resemble the Portland International Raceway, a track Cassidy excelled at in season nine, on his way to victory. Good omens indeed, heading into an important double-header.

A resurgent figure in the Formula E paddock, Oliver Rowland comes into the European heartland on the back of a hat trick of podiums, and buoyed by the success at Nissan's home race. Despite having looked on course for an emotional home victory for Nissan, Rowland wouldn't be too disappointed with second, securing his best result of the season to date.

Heading into Misano, the man from Barnsley would be eyeing yet more success, and perhaps even take an unlikely championship lead, should things fall his way.

For Rowland to take the championship lead, he would have to outscore Pascal Wehrlein, the German having seized the lead of the standings with his fifth position finish at Tokyo. Having been in the championship fight for most of last year before slipping off at the very end, Wehrlein would look to put in solid performances and retain his championship lead in the European stretch of the season.

Do keep an eye on Jake Dennis, the reigning champion having put himself back in the fight for the championship with stellar showings in Sao Paulo and Tokyo, the latter fetching him a podium finish too.

This was Dennis's strength in season nine, when he bounced back in the European rounds, after a tough start to the season. His task would be made easier given he sits only 10 points behind the championship leader, and two good races could put him as high as the championship leader himself.

Elsewhere, do keep an eye on home favourites Maserati, and Max Gunther, the German being the most recent of five race winners in 2024. You can never rule him out of victory contention, and an excellent showing at his team's home race could catapult Gunther into championship contention.

A Rookie practice session on the weekend

Elsewhere, you may have noticed the addition of a Free Practice Zero (FP0) to the schedule for the race weekend.

This free practice session involves rookie drivers taking to the wheel of Formula E cars for a practice session, set to take place on Friday morning of the weekend.

Teams can field Formula E drivers who have driven Formula E machinery before, but aren't on the official driver roster for season ten. Additionally, these drivers shouldn't have raced in a Formula E weekend prior to the test.

Set to run for 30 minutes on the race weekend, the session will give rookie drivers a chance to sample Formula E machinery. Each team was required to nominate one driver for the test.

Prominent names on the rookie test roster include Formula 2 championship leader Zane Maloney, piloting the Andretti machine, IMSA racer, and one-off Formula One starter Jack Aitken, who will take to the track in Envision Racing's machine. Current Formula 3 MP Motorsport driver Tim Tramnitz is also set to drive for ABT Cupra in the test.

Here is the full line-up for the test:

Jaguar - Sheldon van der Linde

TAG Heuer Porsche - Matt Campbell

Andretti Formula E - Zane Maloney

Nissan - Caio Collet

DS Penske - Robert Shwartzmann

Maserati - Yann Ehrlacher

NEOM McLaren Formula E Team - Taylor Barnard

Envision Racing - Jack Aitken

ERT Formula E Team - Mikel Azcona

ABT Cupra - Tim Tramnitz

Mahindra - Jordan King

Timings for the weekend (local time)

Round Six

Free Practice 1 - Friday, 12th April, 17:00 - 17:30

Free Practice 2 - Saturday, 13th April, 08:00 - 08:30

Qualifying - Saturday, 13th April, 10:20 - 11:43

Main Race - Saturday, 13th April, 15:03 - 16:00

Round Seven

Free Practice 3 - Sunday, 14th April, 07:00 - 07:30

Qualifying - Sunday, 14th April, 09:20 - 10:43

Main Race - Sunday, 14th April, 14:03 - 15:00

Vyas's predictions

Being a double header, I predict one race victory going to either of the Jaguar drivers, with Mitch Evans favourite to take the race win in either race, given his form in the country.

I predict Oliver Rowland to come good during the weekend, taking another brace of podium finishes, underlining Nissan's excellent form in 2024.

I would expect one of the Porsche-powered cars of Wehrlein or Dennis to take victory during the weekend too, making for an interesting case during the weekend.

Finally, expect Max Gunther to finish on the podium atleast once during the weekend, as he looks to build on his Tokyo E Prix showings, eyeing a strong result to put him in championship contention.

With Misano expected to provide double the action, and double the points to all drivers and teams, it would be imperative for the drivers to be on the money from the first practice session, on a new track, to be in with a chance of victory, and add to their championship tallies. Do make sure to tune in to the Formula E action this weekend, as a thrilling double-header awaits!


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