New York, the bet of the panorama of Formula E
The stands are sparse. This year, after the cancellation of the 2020 edition, only 2,600 tickets were issued to attend the Formula Electric Grand Prix. New York is no longer the global epicenter of the epidemic and up to 20,000 spectators are crammed into NBA or hockey halls, but caution remains. « They especially held this race for television broadcasts: they need the plan with the Statue of Liberty, it’s all your fault to you, the French! « , teases a top security official who works in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office. The « fault of the French » because the magnificent view which opens on the edge of the Atlantic Basin, in the district of Red Hook in Brooklyn, highlights the monument offered by France to the United States as a symbol of their friendship, but also the famous skyline of skyscrapers. A definite asset of seduction in a championship hosted by seven other countries.
The United States represents an important goal for the International Federation (FIA), with the F1 which will come to wear its tires near Miami next year – in the absence of a Grand Prix in New York, discussed for years but never realized. « There are the jaded and those who know how to appreciate a little special things », launches Jean Todt, the boss of the FIA, without offering any prospect for an outfit of the queen competition to Big Apple. “This E-Prix remains special, it’s something to see all that! « , he adds
« This race is really iconic »
Logistics are commensurate with ambition. Accreditations and PCR tests on a large parking lot two streets from the main entrance, security gates at the various entrances, barriers for miles along the track, erected in the parking lot of the terminal usually used for ferries between Brooklyn and Manhattan, hundreds of security and public assistance personnel, media and other people present at the event … Even with almost sold out, we do not do things by halves.
« The word iconic is often used, sometimes overused, but this race in New York really is », Judge Roger Griffith, Team Principal of BMWi Andretti Motorsport, who believes he has several races « at home », given the different nationalities of the team, but would not be unhappy to hear the American anthem for Andretti, legendary family of motor racing on American soil, mainly through Patriarch Mario. « For me, it’s the best weekend of the year, in terms of racing »nods his Mercedes EQ counterpart Ian James.
Vergne second Saturday, la guigne Sunday
As for the race, New York offers a narrow and winding circuit, with its last fast turn number 14 not allowing to easily create gaps. However, the lap of the track leaves little room for overtaking. Jean-Eric Vergne, French driver of DS Techeetah, qualified second on Saturday, tried well and succeeded one on Nick Cassidy, then leader, on Saturday, but his maneuver inside took him a little too far, until contact with the New Zealander. Contact that prevented him from stepping to close the door, benefiting Maximilian Günther (BMWi Andretti Motorsport), winner of the first round of the weekend. Not so bad for the native of Pontoise, second: “Generally the weekends don’t go very well for me here, even though I was crowned champion there in 2018 and 2019. There I am making a good comeback in the championship (from 12th to 3rd), but tomorrow I will fall into the wrong group for the qualifiers and until the last round, there will be several of us to be able to win it. «
The Frenchman could not even defend his chances the next day, betrayed by the mechanics the next day twice: first an accelerator problem which sent him back to the back of the grid, before experiencing a second problem at the start, which forced him to give up before even rushing forward.