Condensed matter: build day

Current E Miami 2015 waterfront pitlane

Here’s the gossip in the paddock from Thursday’s activities are the Miami Formula E circuit, from our onsite team.

The sun shone brightly through the fronds of the palm trees and glittered off the deep blue waters as the teams moved into what will be their homes for the weekend.

There’s already a swelling of anticipation surrounding this event that we simply haven’t felt before: a real sense of anticipation, of occasion. This could be the headline, publicity-grabbing, celebrity-laden event that puts Formula E firmly on the map.

Here are our thoughts from Thursday:

  • Better late than never: this track is going to be the most last-minute affair we’ve seen thus far. The circuit layout requires shutting off one of the city’s arterial routes, which means that the roads can’t be fully closed until later today. So there’s been no chance of a track walk yet: the heavy traffic hasn’t yet stopped rolling.
  • Location, location: the track rings the American Airlines arena; the pit lane backs directly onto the waterfront. Soaring elevated roadways span the waterways in the distance, aptly framing the peninsular-like outcrop that the pit garages sit on. Even just around here, the track dips and rises.
  • All change: two last minute driver swaps were announced: Charles Pic replaces Ho-Pin Tung at China Racing, in what looks to be a long term deal; and Vitantonio Liuzzi is in for Michela Cerruti. While Liuzzi hasn’t been confirmed for more than this race, Cerruti won’t be back. By our reckoning, that means the grid now comprises 17 drivers out of 20 with F1 experience.
  • Shake up: the tight completion schedule for the track build means no shakedown on Friday afternoon. So the first time the new drivers will get a chance to run the cars will be FP1 on Saturday. The track walk has been rescheduled from its customary time mid-morning to 5pm.
  • Upgraded: new suspension components comprise slightly wider front upper wishbones, and pushrods with a round cross-section instead of elliptical. Will these prove more robust? The Spark engineers reckon this is the bumpiest track by far (it even runs across a railway line) so they’ll be waiting for Saturday with just as much anticipation as us.
  • Full house: lots of guests are expected. One team alone is preparing for 100 VIPs. We hear there will be around 1500 in total.
  • Record breakers: Venturi’s record-breaking VBB3 will arrive on Friday, along with its record-breaking driver. 
  • Virgin appearance: Sir Richard Branson will be here on Saturday, cheering on the Virgin team.

That’s it for now: more later.

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