Formula 1

Formula E: Preview of the Beijing circuit

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We are only two weeks away from the start of the Formula E season, with the first race coming from Beijing in China. Currently the track is going through its final preparations before we finally get going on September 13.

It will be great to see the cars fly round the Olympic Park at speed. The track has 20 turns which gives it a total length of 3.44km.

Overtaking

The track seems to have a number of possible overtaking zones. Turn one may be the best chance to see overtaking, as cars that get a good exit from the final corner should be able to find themselves alongside the car going into turn one.

However, overtaking may be difficult into other corners, as the track has a number of slow speed chicanes which will break the slipstream effect for the car behind, and thus making it harder to get past.

Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas Di Grassi gave his view of the circuit: “The Beijing track is an amazing facility.

"For the drivers, it will be a tremendous challenge to learn the limits of this track quickly, as well as to understand the best overtaking opportunities. The most obvious places are likely to be Turns 1, 2, 6, 19 and 20. The circuit will also require lots of traction and braking stability, while the energy recuperation at braking zones will help to stabilise the car."

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Sharp corners

The layout of the circuit has many 90 degree corners. Therefore this is why Di Grassi mentioned that the cars stability and traction will be tested during the event. 90 degree corners meas that cars need to have great stability on the brakes in order to maintain the racing line so they can get a clean exit from the corner.

Furthermore, the cars will be exiting at slow speeds, so the drivers will have to manage the torque of these electrical motors by carefully applying the throttle in order to stop the rear wheels spinning and reducing the chance of an accident.

The track also has very little run off areas, which means that if a driver does make a mistake they will be punished for it. However, with the event only lasting a day, it could be a huge task for mechanics to fix the car in time for the race if the car ends up in the wall during a practice or qualifying session.

Finally the pit lane has a very interesting layout. It is not the conventional parallel straight that runs alongside the start finish straight. Drivers will have to do a left hand turn before negotiating two right hand turns and then a left hand turn to make it back on to the start finish straight and onto the pit exit, which rejoins the track on the exit of turn one.

The Beijing circuit looks set to host a great first race of the season which gets underway at 09:00am (GMT) 16:00 local time.

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