image

HKT Hong Kong E-Prix

by SCMP

2017 FIA Formula E HKT Hong Kong E-Prix

No more surprises: Drivers promised a better Hong Kong ePrix after last year’s crash-fest

Improvements to the chicane on turns three and four ‘will make all the difference’ as organisers try to prevent the crashes that marred the inaugural race in 2016

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 September, 2017, 3:21pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 October, 2017, 2:21pm

December’s Hong Kong ePrix should see fewer crashes and a smoother race thanks to track improvements.

According to a leading track specialist, the chicane on turns three and four will be the main focus of this year’s improvements to the 1.86km circuit along the Central Harbourfront.

Architect and Formula E track specialist Rodrigo Nunes said the improved chicanes could help prevent crashes that marred last year’s race.

Hong Kong is hosting the ePrix for the second year running on the weekend of December 2 and 3 with the extravaganza kicking off the new Formula E season with a racing double-header.

Car safety will be chief among the organisers’ concerns and Nunes was hopeful the improved chicane would be the first step towards a better and safer circuit.

Last year, organisers altered the track layout at the last minute after the first practice session, leading to a spate of crashes on turn three as drivers struggled to adjust, having not been consulted about the change.

But Nunes believes there won’t be a repeat of last year’s spectacle because “there’s always been good communication between the drivers and organisers”.

Hong Kong ePrix can show Formula E is catching Formula One, says champion Di Grassi

‘I don’t think there was any bad communication [last year]. I think the race will be better this year,” said Nunes.

“We’ll try to improve some small factors [of the track] that were not so good last year. It’s only about the construction of the chicane and a little bit about the design,” he said.

“It will be a stronger chicane and not so fast so we want to prevent the drivers from crashing into the chicane.

“We’re trying for a new solution. We’re going to slow down the chicane. We’re looking at turns three and four. We had some problems last year. It was too fast.

“Also the yellow lines that were painted in the middle of the track are not good for the drivers and they didn’t have the [proper] reference point.

20,000 fans to get free tickets to eVillage for this year’s Hong Kong ePrix

“We will try to give all this reference to the drivers and try not to have the same problems as last year.”

Nunes said further improvements to the circuit “would be up to the organisers and the city” and that his team would propose more improvements for the circuit – even lengthening the track to a certain extent.

“For this year, it’s about small details. The length of the circuit will be the same and width the same.

“If the city wants, we can improve the circuit even more. It’s up to the city, the promoters, everyone. Technically, it’s possible,” he said.

Nunes said it was amazing Hong Kong had become part of the Formula E circuit.

“Formula E is all over the world ... in the big cities, Hong Kong, New York and Paris. We are in the most important cities in the world and they are trying to find new places to go. It’s always improving. Formula E is growing.”