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Formula E

Shanghai E-Prix Preview: Formula E's return to where it all started

Formula E's first-ever race took place in China back in 2014, the sport will now return to the nation for the first time since 2019.

Verstappen China
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To news overview © XPBimages

Formula E returns to the country where history was made 10 years ago, with the inaugural race having taken place in the Chinese capital of Beijing in 2014. 

Whilst the all-electric series is not heading to Beijing this weekend, the sport does return to China after a five-year spell away, caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Instead of Beijing, Hong Kong or Sanya, Formula E heads to Shanghai for a double-header at the iconic Shanghai International Circuit, most recently used by F1. 

Two extreme peloton races are expected but with 58 points on offer, Nick Cassidy has a chance to extend his championship lead. After three races out with injury, Sam Bird will return this weekend

A trip down memory lane

With China being the biggest consumer of EV technology in the world, the country is hugely important to Formula E. 

Not only does the sport have a Chinese team in ERT, it also represents one of Porsche's biggest markets. China has a significant place in Formula E's heart, as the Asian country hosted the championship's first ever race back in 2014. 

Lucas di Grassi was the victor on that day, after Nick Heidfeld endured a horrific airborne crash at the final corner, caused by being hit by Nico Prost – son of Alain Prost. 

Seven Formula E races have been held in China, the last of which was in Sanya back in 2019. COVID-19 paused China's ability to host the championship, although Formula E has been keen to return as soon as possible. 

So much has changed since the first race in Beijing but even for reasons away from the circuit, having a race in China is an absolute must for the series. Returning is a significant tick in the box.

			© Sam Bloxham / Formula E
	© Sam Bloxham / Formula E

Track layout

As mentioned, the double-header is taking place at the Shanghai International Circuit, traditionally home to the Chinese Grand Prix. 

It is, of course, a permanent circuit which is expected to host two of the most extreme energy-saving races the sport has ever seen, meaning the peloton will be even more chaotic. Most of the drivers are not in favour of this. 

Not all of the track is being used. Formula E will use the first eight corners of the normal layout, before taking on an infield section for the final four corners. 

The full circuit consists of 14 turns and is 4.603 km long, the shortened version Formula E are using is made up of 12 corners and is 3.051 km in length. 

Attack mode will be situated on the outside of the iconic second corner, which is expected to result in minimal time lost.

			© Formula E
	© Formula E

Favourites for victory

With two extreme peloton races expected, predicting a winner is notoriously difficult; however, some drivers do stand out.

The first of which is the championship leader, Cassidy, who has mastered the peloton more than any other driver since the start of the Gen3 era. A win in either race will be a huge boost to his title hopes.

His closest challenger, Pascal Wehrlein, is another driver who could go very well in Shanghai, having won a peloton race in Misano earlier in the season. Porsche are expected to perform well this weekend.

In his current form, Antonio Felix da Costa is a contender for victory, having driven excellently on his way to victory in the second race in Berlin a fortnight ago.

			© Simon Galloway / Formula E
	© Simon Galloway / Formula E

Dark horses

A dark horse for victory is undoubtedly reigning world champion Jake Dennis. Andretti appeared to solve its qualifying struggles ahead of the second race in Berlin, with Shanghai set to prove whether it was a fluke performance. 

Qualifying is not going to be important in Shanghai, however, the three points awarded to the driver who claims pole could be crucial come London at the end of July.

Mitch Evans is another driver who has to be taken into account, having finished second in the opening race in Berlin. Evans is in good form and will likely be towards the front.

Oliver Rowland is another driver who could win this weekend, as the Briton has shown excellent aggression in recent peloton races. His energy management is also exceptional, which could be a crucial factor. 

How do the championships look?

As mentioned, Cassidy heads to Shanghai as the championship leader, with Wehrlein sitting 14 points adrift of the Jaguar driver. Rowland is a further six points behind in third, whilst Dennis sits in fourth but is 38 points behind Cassidy. Evans is in fifth. 

In the teams' championship, Jaguar boast a huge 54-point lead over Porsche. Nissan are much further behind in third and are 93 points behind the championship leader's. DS Penske and Andretti in fourth and fifth are separated by one-point. 

Check out the full championship standings here!

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