The newly-reconfigured track for this weekend’s Rome E-Prix races will present a host of fresh challenges to the field – but the track surface is likely to be a defining feature.
The Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR in the Lazio district of the Italian capital will retain only 20% of its original layout and at 2.103 miles will be 0.26 miles longer than the previous version.
The previous track was universally popular among the drivers for its undulating nature and variety of corners but according to Jaguar’s Sam Bird and BMW’s Maximilian Guenther the new track could be even more of challenge than the original.
Bird told The Race: “Before I drove it I thought, ‘oh no, they’ve been fiddling with one of the drivers’ favourite circuits’.
“But to be to be fair, I think they’ve added not detracted from the circuit and I think it’s going to be really exciting and very difficult.
“The corners that they’ve done have potentially improved the circuit, so for me they’ve done a really good job.”
The track will feature an all-new uphill section from turns four to seven, which will see almost flat-out right and left hand kinks precede a heavy braking area for a 90-degree right at T7.
It is this area of the circuit which is likely to see the most overtaking but teams and drivers are known to be concerned about the track surface through the Ninfeo Park area, which uses the Viale Romolo Murri link road up to T7, which is located next to government buildings.
“The new uphill section will be spectacular and will be majorly heart-in-mouth stuff,” confirmed Diriyah winner Bird.
“You’ve got a right-hander and a left-hander that’s just about flat-out and right on the limit, a very quick and a lot longer stretch of the hill where we think there will be plenty of bumps, and then you’ve got quite a hard braking zone into T7.
“I think there’s a lot more climbing in the circuit now and even more gradient differential between the lowest and the highest point, so it will look stunning I’m sure.”
BMW i Andretti driver Guenther also believes that the track surface and the uphill section of the circuit will be key features over the weekend.
The German is looking for his first points of the season after a difficult Riyadh weekend, in which he crashed out of both races.
“I think we’ll be to see how the bumps are and the condition of the track surface are like, this will be vital,” he told The Race.
“It will be will be a very nice challenge for all of us because it is not like the Rome as we know it from past years.
“The track is quite different as it’s longer, there will be some good opportunities for overtaking but all-in-all the track is quite complicated, more 90-degree corners and also some parts of the track where it is super narrow.
“The long sort of hairpin I think is a corner that we don’t have so far in in Formula E, so this will be interesting to see.”