• ABB FIA Formula E World Championship races in South Africa for the first time this Saturday, 25 February
• The 2023 Cape Town E-Prix takes place on the streets close to the exotic city beaches with Table Mountain providing an iconic backdrop
• Porsche lead the way in the Drivers’ and Teams’ championship standings after four races of the 16-race season
Riyadh, Dubai and Cape Town, 24 Feb. 2023: Cape Town will host the next race in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship this Saturday (25 February), the first time the series has raced in sub-Saharan Africa and the second of three consecutive races in new host cities.
Table Mountain will be the spectacular backdrop for Round 5 on the streets of Cape Town this weekend, following an unforgettable debut race in Hyderabad, India, last time out and with the next stop in São Paulo, Brazil.
The Mother City's Green Point district provides the location for a scheduled 30 laps of the high-speed 2.921km circuit, snaking around the DHL Stadium and skirting the coastline looking out on Robben Island.
The track is expected to be the fastest of the 16-race season and features bumpy braking zones, a tight chicane at Turns 4, 5 and 6 and a pacy, narrow section midway around the lap that will challenge the 22 drivers and their GEN3 machines – the fastest, lightest most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built.
AS IT STANDS: PORSCHE SETTING THE PACE
With a quarter of the season complete, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team and driver Pascal Wehrlein lead the way in both the Teams' and Drivers' World Championships. A win-double for the German in Diriyah followed a podium in the season-opener in Mexico City. Hyderabad proved a test for the Stuttgart manufacturer, with a technical issue throwing Wehrlein's weekend into jeopardy via a heavy practice shunt.
Wehrlein and Porsche were able to find the root cause of the problem and recovered to race with Wehrlein following home fourth behind António Félix da Costa in third meaning the German team leads the Formula E standings for the first time in its fourth season of competition.
Porsche didn't have it all their own way in Hyderabad. Avalanche Andretti Formula E team driver Jake Dennis, powered by the Porsche 99X Electric Gen3, missed out on a potential top three finish following an encounter with René Rast (NEOM McLaren Formula E Team). The resulting 16th-placed finish proved costly for Dennis, who won Round 1 in Mexico and finished second in both Diriyah races, allowing Wehrlein to extend his advantage in the standings over Dennis who remains in second.
Jean-Éric Vergne won Round 4 in Hyderabad to kickstart the GEN3 era for the double-champion and team DS PENSKE with a vintage defensive drive.
Early-season favourites for many, DS PENSKE had struggled with just seven points to their name after three rounds of Season 9 but Vergne’s victory helped fire the team to 36 come the chequered flag in India.
Vergne led from lap 15 after sweeping by Envision Racing's Sébastien Buemi and called on all his experience to hold off teammate Nick Cassidy's late charge to steal a storming win and go third in the Drivers’ standings.
Cassidy steered to a strong second, and had some four percent usable energy in-hand over race winner Vergne heading into the final couple of laps.
'I'm so happy for the team,' said Vergne. 'It’s been a very difficult three races and I couldn't be more proud of my team because we never gave up. We keep pushing and it doesn't matter the result - I am very proud of all my guys.
'We have a good car, maybe not the best at the moment but we are going to keep on working very hard to be the best and come back in the championship. That is what we do, we never give up.'
Pace was not in question for Jaguar TCS Racing in Hyderabad. Mitch Evans took Julius Baer Pole Position and the pair ran in the top six early on - with energy management also a positive feature, as evidenced by the Jaguar-powered Envision Racing cars' performance.
Were it not for a costly slide into his teammate at the hairpin, both Jaguars looked capable of taking the fight to Vergne out front heading into the closing stages. Bird was quick to apologise for the mistake that ended the race prematurely for both Bird and teammate Mitch Evans.
In Cape Town, Bird and the team will be out to make amends. 'We had a great car, and I let my team down,' he said. 'I feel really low but we have a race in Cape Town to try and correct it. The good thing is we have a fast car.'
South African native and Jaguar TCS Racing Team Principal James Barclay said: 'Having grown up in South Africa and watched the last world championship race there in 1993 at Kyalami, it is a proud moment for myself and the other South African members of the team to be part of the return of top tier racing to this passionate motorsport country.”
Johannesburg-born racer Kelvin van der Linde learned this week that he will remain in the ABT CUPRA line-up in place of the injured Robin Frijns, meaning a home Formula E debut for the South African on the same weekend his brother Sheldon races sportscars in Kyalami.
It has been a tough return to Formula E for ABT so far, with no points and a best of 11th for Nico Mueller in Hyderabad. Things are slowly improving for the squad, and van der Linde will look to home support to urge him on up through the field in Cape Town.
WHEN TO WATCH
Free Practice 1 for the Cape Town E-Prix gets underway at 19:00 UAE time on Friday 24 February.
Free Practice 2 follows at 11:10 UAE Time on Saturday 25 February with qualifying from 13:40 UAE time. Round 5 of Season 9 gets underway from 18:00 UAE time.
Follow the action on-track as it happens in the brand new Race Centre. Keep across Live Timing – which includes a real-time interactive track map and the ability to follow drivers during every session of every E-Prix – plus highlights, detailed session reports, exclusive interviews, all the standings and results as well as data, insight and reaction from trackside.
WHERE TO WATCH
Find out how to follow the action live in every country by visiting: fiaformulae.com/en/ways-to-watch
MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
Qualifying and race will be live on Saudi Sport Company’s (SSC) linear channel SSC 2 as well as their digital platform shahid.net.
Across the Middle East and North Africa, Dubai Sports will be showcasing qualifying and race.