Formula E: British drivers leading the charge as Formula E heads to Santiago

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Motorsport’s cleanest racing series continues this weekend as Formula E arrives in Santiago, Chile for the third round of the season.

The first two races – both held in Saudi Arabia – were won by British drivers. Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird won the season opener before Alexander Sims, of BMW i Andretti, won the second race.

Sims leads the standings with 35 points, five clear of German Stoffel Vandoorne, with Bird third on 26 points.

The new season features 14 races in 12 cities on four continents spread over nine months. All the races are available live and free-to-air on BBC online platforms.

This will be the third E-Prix to be staged in Santiago. France’s Jean-Eric Vergne – who has won the past two championships – was victorious in the first race held in the South American city, before Bird won last year.

The race will once again take place on the Park O’Higgins circuit, which played host to a chaotic race last year.

What’s different about Formula E?

Formula E was launched back in 2014 with sustainability in mind, and organisers saying the aim was to “reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible”.

To achieve this, cars are powered by a battery that is made with 100% renewable fuel, and tyres that, as well as lasting an entire race, can also be recycled afterwards. Spectators are encouraged to use public transport to get to events, with no public car parking available.

One drawback in the past was the sight of drivers having to swap cars mid-race because the battery could not last the distance, but the Gen 2 cars – introduced last year – are fitted with a battery that lasts the entirety of a race.

With the car manufacturing world looking to switch to developing almost exclusively electric cars within the next couple of decades, Formula E provides them with the ideal arena to test new technology at a competitive level.

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Fan Boost and Attack Mode

Another unique feature of Formula E is the audience interaction with spectators playing a key role in the action during races.

‘Fan Boost’ has been a feature of the past few seasons, with viewers able to vote using an app to determine which driver gets some extra power during a race.

A more recent feature is ‘Attack Mode’, which gives competitors a speed boost after they drive through an allocated area on the track. Designed to introduce extra unpredictability into the racing, the use of this mode by a driver can have an effect on deciding the race.

The resulting action has been unpredictable, especially last season, which saw several different winners from the field, many controversial on-track incidents and one race only decided a metre before the line.

Formula E Calendar 2019-20

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