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Formula E Shanghai E-Prix

DS Penske ready for a new Formula E challenge

DS Automobiles and the DS Penske team have prepared to play one of their favourite roles: taking their rivals by surprise with their refined preparations on a circuit where no electric race has ever taken place.

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

New track, new ambitions. Particularly since DS Penske likes to go to places where no one has ever driven a Formula E car. Usually, circuits that have never seen an electric single-seater, where the success of the weekend depends on preparation - and therefore on experience - work well for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne.

Last year's top points scorers in this configuration and good leaders in the first races of this type of race this season, these two drivers also have a third of the titles that have been awarded since the start of the championship. They therefore arrive in China with strong - and legitimate - ambitions. Strong ambitions and also fond memories in China, where motorsport is gaining in notoriety.

Indeed, the last time Formula E raced there - it was in 2019 on the ephemeral Sanya circuit - it was Vergne who won. That was in March, and it was the first victory of the season for the then reigning champion, and his single-seater, prepared by DS Performance, the competition department of DS Automobiles, had surprised the competition with its above-average pace and efficiency.

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Photo by: DPPI

Energy management will once again be key

The Shanghai circuit, which is 3.05 km long and has 12 bends, presents a challenge for electric single-seaters. As it is a permanent track, admittedly somewhat adapted for the discipline, it does not require the same energy consumption calculations as a city-centre track. The start is particularly interesting, with the first few bends forming a snail's pace before freeing up for a long straight that ends in a hairpin. The rest is pretty fast, with some big corners, then the lap finishes with a chicane before the pitstraight.

"Since the start of the season, we've seen that our work in the simulator has had a positive impact on the track," says Vergne. "We're often well placed in practice as well as in qualifying, where for the last few races we've regularly been above the quarter-final stage. We still don't know anything about the level of each driver on the Shanghai track, but I hope that the plans we have drawn up will enable us to fight at the front."

Earlier this week, the DS Penske team arrived in Shanghai after celebrating its 50th podium (from 115 starts) in Berlin just a fortnight ago. If you add that to their tally of victories (16) and titles (four, including two constructors' titles), it's worth pointing out that this is the team with the most awards in Formula E.

Will these figures increase at the two races in Shanghai? Let's find out on Saturday evening, after the finish of the first race.

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske, DS E-Tense FE23

Photo by: DPPI

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