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Formula E Rome ePrix I

DS Penske returns to Italy as Formula E action cranks up

For the fifth time, Formula E will visit the historic EUR district of Rome and a circuit that's popular with teams, plus one that has often worked well for Jean-Eric Vergne and DS Automobiles drivers.

Stoffel Vandoorne, DS Penske

Formula E visited Rome for the first time in Season 4 (2017-2018) and has returned every year since, with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID pandemic. On 11 April 2018, the electric single-seater championship even received the blessing of Pope Francis, to whom the car was presented outside his home in the Vatican. This was not a first for the Pontiff, who had previously blessed a Lamborghini Huracan donated by the Italian manufacturer before being auctioned off for charity, or a Harley-Davidson.

The EUR circuit, already popular with the teams in its original configuration, was upgraded for Season 7 (2020-2021), from 2.78km to 3.38km. This means that it is now one of the longest tracks of the season, typical of Formula E, with lots of corners and chances to attack. Despite this, it's quite fast and undulating, criss-crossing a number of historic sites and ticking all the boxes of an urban circuit that doesn't bother the locals too much. The EUR district is airy and green, and not the most densely populated part of the Italian capital.

Two decisive rounds

With the exception of 2018 and 2019, when only one annual race was organised, the city of Rome then became the scene of a double-header to make the most of the heavy facilities required to organise motor racing events in an urban environment.

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Penske

Photo by: DPPI

French driver Vergne has often scored important points here. Fourth and second in the 2022 races, plus for race two, he is also one of the two winners of the 2021 races. His team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne also loves the Rome track, and last year with Mercedes he scored a pole position and a podium in race one.

Generally speaking, the single-seaters prepared by DS Performance, the 'competition' arm of DS Automobiles, have often performed well on the Roman track. What's new for the 2022-2023 season is the arrival of the Gen3 electric single-seater, whose considerable aerodynamic drag will revolutionise energy strategies. The circuit will be the same as last year, with 19 bends, fast corners and fewer long straights, as we saw in Portland three weeks ago.

It should be better adapted to the technical specifications of the cars, and perhaps the drivers will be able to attack with less concern for their energy consumption. In Rome, DS Penske's rivals will of course be the Porsches (factory team and Avalanche Andretti), but also the factory Jaguar squad and customer team Envision, which are often at ease on the streets of Rome.

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