The ABB FIA Formula E Championship returns to Marrakesh to race in the shadow of the Atlas Mountains this Saturday but with the Champion’s title defence looking rocky and the title race wide open, I think we could see another man scale to the Drivers’ Championship summit this weekend?
What an amazing race we had in Mexico City in front of 40,000 fans who gave us a front row insight into just how Mexico feels about motor racing. It was packed to the rafters and that stadium has more people crammed in every year so it is becoming an important race for Formula E.
But any new viewers trying out Formula E for the first time this Saturday on BBC2 at 13:30 are going to be in for an absolute belter as well with the Circuit Moulay El Hassan a hybrid track – taking part on a traditional motor racing track but spilling out onto normal roads as well.
I think teams will be coming here on top form with the track the same and with the rookie test having taking place here last year as well so the teams will be full of data and have no excuses from an engineering standpoint.
I think this race therefore is going to come down to one thing – driver ability.
You have to look at the usual suspects who have been successful so far – Alexander Sims, Sam Bird, who should have a real fire in his belly after letting slip second place late in Mexico City and ending pointless, and Antonio Felix Da Costa who drove a great second-place in Mexico.
Yes, Mitch Evans and Panasonic Jaguar Racing are top after winning brilliantly in Mexico but only by a point and I think there might just be an increase in pressure now they’ve had that whiff of victory.
Fair play to Jaguar, they had a timeline of delivering success after four years and they are where they want to be now but it is a reverse in fortunes compared to previous years and victories are addictive so the pressure will have ramped up on James Barclay and his team and it will be interesting to see how they handle it.
I’ve said before that I think continued, consistent success this season will crown the Champion. I think we’ll see a team or driver score consistently to take the title and I think that is already coming to fruition.
Obviously there is a long way to go and everyone in the top-10 is still in with a shout but give or take the likes of current champ Jean-Eric Vergne, former champions Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi and Andre Lotterer who could still come in I think we know our title contenders.
It has been a strange start for JEV has almost been propped up a bit by Da Costa this season – I sometimes wonder if the Frenchman is suffering a bit of third-album syndrome. DS TECHEETAH had to replace is best buddy Lotterer when TAG Heuer Porsche came in but Antonio is keeping him competitive because he doesn’t want to play second fiddle.
It is something team boss Mark Preston will have to handle with cotton wool gloves as they’re both strong personalities, but I think it will be good for JEV in the long run.
Since leaving DS TECHEETAH I think Andre has done well for Porsche and was unfortunate in Mexico to put the car in pole and then over aggression on the first turn bumped him down – he’d probably look back and think he didn’t do himself any favours.
But I hope that Andre doesn’t change his style because he is one of the Championship’s main characters – he is a flamboyant Matador, he’s cool and funky, he’s got that confident German swagger yet as a driver he is the opposite and absolutely puts the hammer down.
So there will be plenty for fans and newbies alike to enjoy this weekend during the first main BBC2 terrestrial broadcast of the season. I’m delighted that motorsport is on terrestrial TV because British people love it and we’re really good at broadcasting it.
For example, it was great to see my buddie Steve Jones win a Sports Journalist Award for Best Sport Presenter this week for his work in motorsport – for Stevie to pick up that award is a testament to him when we have so much sport on the tele here.
So for us to broadcast this new form of racing live, on the BBC on Saturday afternoon, it should bring more eyes to the series and with next year becoming a World Championship it will be great for people to see it live and on the BBC.