Two weeks have passed since Felix Rosenqvist was forced to surrender a solid lead in the Mexico City E-Prix and retire with technical issues. As disappointing as it was, the current title contender is opting for an unemotional approach as the ABB FIA Formula E Championship hits mid-season this Saturday on the shores of a South American seaside resort.
From his second pole position of the season, Rosenqvist sprinted off into an early lead in Mexico City, allowing him to extend his record as the only driver to have led more than 50 % of the Formula E races he has entered (59 %, or 10/17).
A Battery Management System failure washed away what seemed to be a likely victory, however, instead leaving Rosenqvist 12 points behind Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne in the championship standings.
“Mexico was tough, but I’ve moved on from it and I actually wasn’t as devastated as people might think,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It was one of those rare occasions where I felt I did the perfect job; I’m my own hardest critic, but that was one of the best events I’ve done in terms of my own performance. Just a shame we had that issue.”
Still holding second overall, Rosenqvist and Mahindra Racing have been hard at work since Mexico trying to make sure the problem does not reoccur.
“I wouldn’t really say we’re confident going into the first race following a BMS error, but we’ve made every reasonable effort within the short time frame available to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Rosenqvist explains. “I will be going about this race like any other – that’s the only way to do it – but of course we need to keep an extra eye on certain things.”
Coming into attention this weekend is the Punta del Este E-Prix in Uruguay; race six out of twelve on the 2017-18 Formula E calendar. The fast seaside track first appeared in seasons one and two of the championship, but was not part of the series during Rosenqvist’s rookie campaign in 2016-17.
Its return to the all-electric limelight on Saturday, therefore, means Rosenqvist is in for a new acquaintance - and a tough sporting challenge.
Not only will he have to learn the demanding 20-turn street track within the constraints of Formula E’s limited amount of practice; he will also need to play catch up with his main title rivals, who were all part of the grid in both previous Punta del Este events.
“Adaptability will be crucial for me this weekend,” Rosenqvist admits. “I know I’m slightly on the back foot in terms of experience here, but I usually get up to speed pretty quickly in new places. It’s something I like to challenge myself at. As long as we can get the car to work as well as it’s been doing so far this season, I’m not too worried about the rest. It’s an important race, but I’m feeling relaxed. It will be good fun.”
Behind Vergne and Rosenqvist in the standings, Britain’s Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing) currently holds third overall, with Renault’s Sébastien Buemi – the winner of both previous Punta del Este races - in fourth and Jaguar’s Nelson Piquet Jr. in fifth.
All times local (GMT-03:00)
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
Race 6/12 | Punta del Este E-Prix
Saturday 17 March
Free Practice 1: 08.00-08.45
Free Practice 2: 10.30-11.00
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 5/12 races
1: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 81 p.
2: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 69 p.
3: Sam Bird (GBR), 61 p.
4: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), 52 p.
5: Nelson Piquet Jr. (BRA), 45 p.