The ABB FIA Formula E world championship’s planned Rome E-Prix on April 10 is set to feature a heavily-revised circuit layout with longer straights and quicker corners.
The track, which is known as the Circuito cittadino dell’EUR in deference to the municipality it is situated in, will be lengthened in what organisers say are revisions made to minimise disruption in the area.
The new 2.103-mile circuit in the Italian capital will be 0.26 miles longer than the previous version, which was universally popular among the drivers for its undulating nature and challenging variety of corners.
The starting grid will also be moved, and will now be opposite the Centre Congressi between Turns 6 and 7.
Though the revised Rome track is the race’s intended location, the Vallelunga circuit is believed to have been lined up as a back-up venue should the COVID-19 situation make the Rome race impractical.
Should the new-look Circuito cittadino dell’EUR, which remains subject to FIA homologation, complete its obligations it would become the first non-permanent European city centre street venue to host an E-Prix since the Swiss E-Prix at Bern held in June 2019.
Formula E says that it has a has a “long-term agreement with the City of Rome” and that in addition to the track changes, it will leave a “positive legacy on the EUR neighbourhood”.
The new track layout will be resurfaced and the pavement on one of the major roads, the Via Murri, will be renovated.
This section will be a long new loop, which runs through the Parco del Ninfeo in an arcing climb to a tight 90-degree left-left-right section after the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana.
The new circuit will also race close to the Coliseum Square and Piazzale Marconi, but will turn left at the famous Obelisco di Marconi in what will become a left-hand hairpin.
The main Via Cristoforo Colombo will be used for a shorter distance than the previous iteration of track in order to lessen traffic disruption in the area.
The downhill section from the Piazza John Kennedy area, which Maximilian Guenther had a notable crash in 2019 when driving for Dragon, will be retained.
This will also be the approximate area of a new pitlane which will peel off from the left-hand side of the track at the Piazzale dell Industria. The pitlane will feature a right-hand turning circle, which will be reminiscent of the one used at the Paris E-Prix.
This section will link again to the Via delle Tre Fontane road, which will now extend further and up past the sports stadium to Parco del Ninfeo.
Formula E says it has invested in “a strong focus on local commercial and business activities” with the La Nuvola Convention Centre and Allianz E-Village for fans, which aims to generate a positive economic impact in the area.
Speaking in his role as a member of Formula E’s informal track advisory group, which also includes Jerome d’Ambrosio and Oliver Rowland, Audi’s Lucas di Grassi said that the new configuration is likely to provide more overtaking opportunities.
“With the almost completely new design for Rome, both the FIA and Formula E once again did an amazing job to make Formula E even more exciting,” said di Grassi.
“The new layout is fantastic. It has longer and faster straights and provides more overtaking possibilities. I am sure the fans will love it – I can’t wait go finally go racing there.”
Formula E claims that the Rome E-Prix has so far generated “60 million euros of positive economic impact” and its general manager Renato Bisignani reckons it will be a more exciting prospect than the original layout.
“Rome is one of the drivers’ favourite tracks and we have tried to work on maintaining the same characteristics from a sporting point of view, making the track even more exciting than it was in previous years,” he said.