Twice in the last three races, Felix Rosenqvist has been brutally forced into retirement while leading an E-Prix. Fifty crucial points have been snatched away from under the nose of the Swedish title contender – who will be back out to set the record straight on Formula E’s annual visit to Paris this weekend.
Pole position in Mexico, pole position in Rome. While controlling each event from the front, Rosenqvist was struck down harshly on both occasions by technical gremlins and doomed to heartbreak as he parked his Mahindra Racing M4Electro at the side of the track.
Post-race analysis conducted by the team following the recent Rome E-Prix, where Rosenqvist retired with broken suspension, have found a damaged bolt to have caused the breakdown in the Italian capital. All mechanical parts have been thereafter examined and reviewed to counteract any such equivalent concerns.
”The plan is to stop giving away early Christmas presents now,” says Felix Rosenqvist. ”It’s been an unfortunate couple of races and most frustratingly, it’s been things outside our reasonable control. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to protect yourself against the kind of thing that happened in Rome. It’s simply part of this sport that components will fail from time to time.
“We’ve been extremely unlucky to suffer these issues while leading two races, but we have taken every reasonable measure to make sure it doesn’t happen again. That’s what counts right now.”
Now, it’s time to turn the page. Round eight of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship sees the field descend on France this weekend, where action will play out on the tight and compact Circuit des Invalides in the heart of Paris.
The race marked a highlight event for Mahindra Racing last season, with Nick Heidfeld finishing third and Rosenqvist – racing at the venue for the first time – coming home just behind his team-mate in fourth.
Having since gone on to establish himself as one of the pace-setters of Formula E, winning several races and claiming a record average of pole positions, Rosenqvist is aiming high on his Paris return.
“Our pace has been clear to see basically everywhere we’ve gone this season, and I’m feeling confident for Paris too,” the 2015 FIA Formula 3 European champion concludes. “It’s a small and narrow track, so qualifying will be key – and that’s been one of my strengths in Formula E. There are still a lot of points to play for and the target now is to reduce the gap to the leaders, race by race.”
Despite his recent setbacks, Rosenqvist actually finds himself still sitting third in the standings, just 37 points adrift of table-topper Jean-Eric Vergne (the Frenchman racing on home soil this weekend). Holding second is Sam Bird, who inherited the lead and went on to win in Rome a fortnight ago after Rosenqvist’s retirement.
There are still 145 points up for grabs before the season concludes in New York (USA) in July.
The Paris E-Prix takes place on Saturday, with the race going green at 16.00 local time.
All times local (GMT+02:00)
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
Race 8/12 | Paris E-Prix
Saturday 28 April
Free Practice 1: 08.00-08.45
Free Practice 2: 10.30-11.00
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top five)
After 7/12 races
1: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 119 p.
2: Sam Bird (GBR), 101 p.
3: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 82 p.
4: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), 60 p.
5: Daniel Abt (GER), 50 p.