Photo: LAT/Formula E

Formula E Weekend Preview: Hong Kong

By Aaron Bearden, Contributing Writer

Ahead of each FIA Formula E race weekend, Motorsports Tribune offers an in-depth look at the details and storylines going into the week’s event(s). 

Race(s): HKT Hong Kong E-Prix (45 laps, 51.75 miles)

Hashtag: #HKePrix

Circuit: Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit (Hong Kong)

Track Details: Clockwise – 10 turns, 1.15 miles

Track Record: Felix Rosenqvist (1:02.947, 2016)

What Happened Last Year: Season Two champion Sebastien Buemi put together a strong drive to claim his first of six Season Three victories, leading 20 laps in the process.


Weekend Schedule

Friday, December 1

Free Practice 1: 5:55-6:55 p.m. ET (FOX Sports Go)

Free Practice 2: 8:25-9:10 p.m. ET (FOX Sports Go)

Saturday, December 2

Race 1 Qualifying: 1:00-2:00 a.m. ET (FOX Sports 2)

Hong Kong E-Prix Race 1: 2 a.m. ET (FOX Sports 1) 

Free Practice 3: 7:25-8:25 p.m. ET (FOX Sports Go)

Sunday, December 3

Race 2 Qualifying: 1:00-2:00 a.m. ET (FOX Sports 2)

Hong Kong E-Prix Race 2: 2 a.m. ET (FOX Sports 1) 


Storylines to Watch

Double the Racing, Double the Fun

After making their debut at Hong Kong in Season Three, the Formula E paddock will return to the historic city for back-to-back races to start off Season Four.

The upcoming weekend will see the all-electric racing series compete in its first double-header in an Asian city.  Hong Kong will serve as the site of the first of three double-header weekends, joining the United States (July 14-15) and Canada (July 28-29).

With just 14 rounds filling Formula E’s schedule, the season-opening weekend should be among the most important trips of the year. No team will be able to win the title in week one, but two bad performances could well lose it.

Renault’s Last Ride

Renault e.dams has been Formula E’s dominant team from the opening race in 2014, but the manufacturer’s tenure will soon draw to a close.

The e.dams FE team has claimed a trio of teams’ titles in as many years to date, and should be among the favorites to do so again with Renault affiliation in the upcoming Season Four. However, it will be the last time the pairing can do so. Renault announced on October that it will leave FE at the conclusion of Season Four, making way for the arrival of partner Nissan to take their place and allowing them to focus on their Formula 1 effort, which is bringing on McLaren along with their factory team for 2018.

The team’s lineup remains unchanged for the 2017-18 season. One-time champion and winningest FE driver Sebastien Buemi will lead the way for the organization into the year’s opening weekend, with Nicolas Prost joining the Swiss to compete the team’s lineup.

New Beginnings

A new Formula E season has come, and with it comes a fresh set of opportunities for each of the organizations involved.

While recent testing in Valencia might have showed glimpses of who the powerful players in the paddock will be for the coming year, until official result have been laid down the championship would appear to be wide open.

Many of the tour’s veterans are back – previous champions Buemi, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Lucas di Grassi among them. They’ll be challenged by a host of new drivers, including former Verizon IndyCar Series driver Luca Filippi, German DTM veteran Edoardo Mortara and three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Andre Lotterer.

It’ll take the full season to know which teams climb or fall in the pecking order, but the battles will begin at Hong Kong.

 

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Aaron Bearden is a Contributing Writer for Motorsports Tribune, handling coverage of both the Verizon IndyCar Series and ABB FIA Formula E Championship. A native Hoosier, Bearden has attended races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since he was three years old. He can be found on social media at @AaronBearden93.