Last year’s Rome E-Prix winner Sam Bird says that Gen 2 cars will create “a real spectacle” on the undulating 1.7-mile track this weekend.
The 20-corner track in the EUR district of the Italian capital was widely praised by drivers and spectators last season after Bird took an exciting victory in the inaugural running.
The Envision Virgin Racing driver now believes that with average lap times between 2.5 and 3 seconds faster this season, the track will provide some not-to-be-missed action.
“There are bumps and one particular big one on the approach to Turn 9 which saw some decent air last season in the Gen 1 cars, so what it will be like in the Gen 2 cars is a bit unknown,” Bird told e-racing365.
“It will be interesting to see how the cars react and handle challenges like this, especially the driveshafts.”
The Attack Zone activation area will be positioned on the inside of the exit of Turn 6 which precedes an uphill straight ending at the Turn 9 left-hander.
“Taking the attack boost will mean those behind getting a good run on your all the way up the hill,” said Bird.
“It will all be down to whether you can get them back again by turn nine which should be fun. I understand why it has been put here because there is a good straight after the activation area and it should see plenty of action.
“As a track Rome delivered last year in terms of the racing and it will be a real spectacle once again I’m sure.
“It will be challenging for everyone on an energy point of view if we get a non-stoppage race, which I think Formula E needs right now.
“Looking after the energy and managing it is what Formula E should be a about and I hope we get back to that in Rome because you get more overtaking opportunities.”
Slight Track Mods Made
Two small changes to the track have been made ahead of the second edition of the race, which gets underway at 4 p.m. local time on Saturday.
A modification to the Turn 15 left-hand corner sees a small reprofiling in order for a larger entry and exit area for the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY paddock.
The following Turn 16-17 chicane has also been moved back slightly because of “minor site constraints”, according to Formula E.
“T15 will be slightly wider on exit so it will be a higher minimum speed and the chicane itself is a bit more open on mid-corner and exit so we should be a bit quicker through there,” said Bird.
“I think although they are subtle the changes should improve the flow a bit and be in keeping with the rest of the circuit which is bloody impressive.”