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Formula E: Round 2 - Putrajaya ePrix Preview

Jordan Adcock

Oct 27, 2014
When you’re trying to maintain interest in an all-new championship, having your opening rounds set more than two months apart might not be the best way to do it, but it must be said that Malaysia’s round was put back a whole month just so the country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak could attend. And why not? It’s right next to his office building in Malaysia’s administrative capital Putrajaya where the revolutionary all-electric series is racing next. Although Beijing provided an overall reasonable race with a spectacular ending, organizers will hope the series continues relatively trouble-free in a season full of new territories.

After Nick Heidfeld’s airborne crash which let Lucas di Grassi through to win the first ever Formula E race at Beijing in September, this time the cars are on a 1.56 mile track, with the start and pit lane on the Persiaran Perdana highway before heading back through the boulevards. With any new circuit we can’t know how it will fare until the race itself, but it immediately appears an improvement over Beijing’s chicane-riddled Olympic Park course, with more variation and flow in corners. But even in the severely tight Beijing we saw moments of real, respectful battling between the drivers, with the cars being able to run so close together, that with a more open, elevation-changing track we could be in for a real treat on Saturday. Karun Chandhok recently videoed a preview of the Putrajaya circuit himself using a simulator, and you can watch it in the video above.

All this being said: the turn 10 hairpin, going up and down the Seri Wasawan bridge, could be many accidents waiting to happen! Chandhok himself admits it’s “probably the tightest hairpin I’ve ever driven in my life”, and brings to mind another Beijing street circuit that A1 Grand Prix used back in 2006, whose hairpin caused so many red flags organizers had to shorten it halfway through the weekend. We’ll have to wait and see on that front.

Otherwise, the driver lineup is virtually the same, except that Portuguese driver Antonio Felix da Costa finally takes his seat at Amlin Aguri, having been replaced by Takuma Sato in Beijing due to DTM commitments. 20-year-old Matty Brabham, grandson of the legendary Sir Jack, is a late stand-in at Andretti Autosport for Charles Pic, but was a regular tester at Donington Park in the pre-season and very much at home in the team through racing for them in Pro Mazda and Indy Lights. e-Dams will want to get back on track after Sebastien Buemi’s constantly unlucky weekend and Nicolas Prost’s rather rash move on Heidfeld that took both out at the last corner. Buemi was considered one of the pre-season favorites after testing, so is definitely out to prove his pace, while Prost must deal as best he can with a ten-place grid penalty and might be more cautious in wheel-to-wheel racing. Audi Sport ABT and Lucas di Grassi’s goal will obviously be to follow up their win with another good result this weekend, bearing in mind they were very fortunate that Prost and Heidfeld collided. Speaking of which, even with the two month gap Venturi has faced a battle to build Heidfeld a new car after his launch into the barriers, but his pace was very encouraging. Despite a very mixed Beijing race, Mahindra also carry promise, and will be hoping that the much-favoured Bruno Senna can make it through the first lap without problems this time, likely joining his teammate Chandhok near the front. And for Trulli GP and Jarno Trulli specifically, the big hope will be that his car actually lets him start the race.

Formula E’s also been working on the smaller details. As confirmed by commentator Jack Nicholls on Twitter, there will be no formation lap this time, the cars simply moving forwards into their gridboxes. This should spare us some unnecessary waiting: the formation lap in Beijing took far too long, and since these electric powered cars have no real clutch to speak of, getting off the line shouldn’t be a problem. Even more pleasing news is that the gimmicky “Formula EJ” and his musical accompaniment will be a reduced presence, especially during the race. It’s not the only, or indeed worst gimmick at the moment, (cough*FanBoost*cough) but this is definitely a positive step. Formula E should be showing off its unique qualities, and the music always felt like a way of hiding its quieter (but certainly distinctive) sound from more casual viewers.

Perhaps the most crucial unknown the teams face is Malaysia’s notoriously tropical climate; the intense heat has prompted discussions of whether to set allowed power at 170 kW or 150 kW to protect the batteries, while at the same time the entire raceday schedule has been brought forward two hours to increase flexibility if feared torrential rain arrives in Putrajaya this Saturday. Could it be that Formula E’s plan of holding every session on one day to reduce local disruption hinders it here?

Whatever happens, and whatever small things need working on in Formula E, such a new beginning as this deserves watching. While the oft-repeated line from those involved in the championship about comparisons with other motorsport series being impossible does irk me a bit, these first steps for all-electric racing are so unpredictable, and therefore exciting, that it can keep your anticipation going for a couple of months.

Qualifying is at 2am UK time this Saturday (!), which you can watch here on RaceDepartment through Formula E’s live online stream. The race is at least more reasonably timed, with coverage starting exclusively on ITV4 at 5am and the race at 6am.

Bram Hengeveld

RaceDepartment Founder
Staff member
Dec 26, 2006
Strongly dislike the whole fan-boost thing but I must admit they are putting down an interesting new series to bridge the winter months where there isn't hardly any racing going on. It's growing on me :thumbsup:


Jan 1, 2014
I kept on asking myself where this series was gone. Surprising and strange reason for delay, but good to get it back. Honestly, more hyped for F1 finale, but will see if I have time for this ;)


Jun 29, 2013
I'm looking forward to it, and have been for two months. It's not perfect, but there was some real racing in round 1 and I'm enjoying it so far.

@Jordan Adcock Brilliant article, by the way.
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Martin Maaskant

Aug 24, 2008
Apart from the interesting series. Is that sim run on Rfactor? In the beginning you see a low fuel icon and it looks mighty familiar. The same for the times in the lower right corner.

Christopher Vrettos

Mar 30, 2011
Apart from the interesting series. Is that sim run on Rfactor? In the beginning you see a low fuel icon and it looks mighty familiar. The same for the times in the lower right corner.
As far as I know MAKCorp developed the simulation model for the teams on rFactor.
(I may be wrong)

Philip Heck

Nov 18, 2010
I just hope the same yt-channel as last time will upload the race again as there is no coverage at all over here :(
Jan 7, 2013
He's saying that road dynamics and temperatures can't be simulated in the virtual world. :O_o:

:D, I think his simulator needs an upgrade.
Oct 16, 2013
...watch here on RaceDepartment through Formula E’s live online stream...
Sweet! Here in America, the only channel it is aired live on is Fox Sports 2 which my cable provider does not get. Although it starts late (midnight here) I so wanna watch this live :D


Nice apex, I'll take it!
May 2, 2010
Lol at the Bobs Track Builder track :roflmao:

Seriously though, what time does the race start (GMT)?
Jul 23, 2014
Bold prediction: Fan-boost will not have any impact on this race nor the remaining seven or eight races in the calendar. Heidfeld will get one of the votes, so will Sebastien Buemi because he just became a World Champion and Karun Chandhok gets the vote out quite well.

Buemi wins, Brabham has an astonishing debut race.


Oct 6, 2010
Strange no one has delivered a mod based on these cars yet. I'd think the sound modeling would be rather easy. Just take your hand drill and stick a mic in it.

The circuits are more of a challenge, being all unique.

Now that I think of it, the GP2 mod in AC is an almost perfect stand in for these cars with the sound still off.
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Jul 14, 2013
it cost 50 bucks for general admission ticket and just about 30 mins drive from my place, still deciding whether to go or not :thumbsdown:


Oct 30, 2014
I hope codemasters release next year a DLC for F1 2015 with the Formula E series it would be epic and nobody would be complaining about no classic edition.


I hate VR. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Oct 2, 2010
I hope this series dies away. Sorry, but I am a petrolhead and dispise all this planet saving eco racing crud. I attend the TT every year but I go to the pub when the electric TT starts. I detest it with a passion. We should not encourage it by supporting it in any way.

Long live the internal combustion engine, the sounds and the smells and all the turmoil and green house gases it can make.

Remember, this is my opinion folks. You are entitled to yours when you read mine. ;)


I hate VR. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Oct 2, 2010
I hope codemasters release next year a DLC for F1 2015 with the Formula E series it would be epic and nobody would be complaining about no classic edition.
Just turn your volume to mute now and you can race them in F1 2014. :)


Nice apex, I'll take it!
May 2, 2010
@Andy Jackson
Whether you like it or not, Electric cars are the future. They may still be useless (See image), but we need stuff like this to start developing now, so when oil does have to take a back seat, we have the technology to carry on without much disruption.

TBH, that's just pitiful short-sightedness Andy...


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