Formula E news: Rome ePrix talking points – Bird vs Vergne, Ferrari fans root for Massa


Will the streak continue?

Season Five has continued to deliver the unpredictable, intense, wheel-to-wheel action the series has become famous for.

There have been six different drivers from six different nations and six different teams claiming victory in the opening six races, while there have also been six different pole-sitters.

The Championship is still wide open so the Rome ePrix could throw up an unprecedented seventh different winner; a feat which would match F1’s winning streak from 2012.

The top two drivers in the standings are just a point apart while spots three to nine are covered by just 13 points – but can anyone break away from the pack this weekend?

Brit Bird to bounce back

Britain’s Sam Bird will be hoping to bounce back from his disappointment in China last time out, when the Envision Virgin Racing driver was forced to retire on lap one; a result which saw Bird drop from first to fourth in the Drivers’ Championship.

However, Rome has been a happy hunting ground for Bird who won here last year and the 32-year-old could take the top of the drivers’ standings with a positive result.

Champ Vergne returns after winning in Sanya

Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne’s drought is over after re-igniting his title defence with a win in the last round in Sanya.

Vergne’s victory in China ended three races without a point – his worst ever run since joining the all-electric championship – and it moved the DS Teecheetah driver to third in the drivers’ standings, just eight points behind leader Antonio Felix da Costa.

Formula E drivers to take on Totti and co

It won’t just be action on the track in Rome, as Italian football legend Francesco Totti captains an AS Roma legends team in a one-off charity match against Formula E drivers including former semi-pro footballer Bird and Felipe Massa.

The match will see 12 Formula E drivers put their rivalry aside – for 90 minutes at least – as they unite in support of two Rome charities against a Roma team which also includes Bruno Conti and Simone Perrotta.

Will the pressure boil over?

With fifteen retirements in the last two races, crashes and a lot of wheel-to-wheel action, tempers have been flaring on and off the Formula E track this season.

The post-race press conference in Sanya saw Lucas di Grassi and Robin Frijns engage in a visible argument about who was to blame for their collision with Sebastien Buemi on the final lap of the race.

And the argument continued onto social media, with Di Grassi bemoaning the lack of punishment for Frijns, before the Dutchman hit back by mocking the Brazilian’s misspelling of his name.

The pressure for points is also mounting for some teams, with Panasonic Jaguar Racing parting ways with Season One champion Nelson Piquet Jnr after a terrible first half of the season – replacing him with Britain’s Alex Lynn.

Massive turnout expected for Massa

Just 12 months after watching the Rome E-Prix as a visitor to the race, motorsport legend Massa will be taking to the streets of Rome again, but this time in the Gen2 car.

Having spent eight seasons in F1 with Ferrari, the Brazilian is seen as an adopted Italian and will be cheered on by an estimated 35,000 fans on the Rome street circuit.

The Venturi driver has found the switch to Formula E tough and sits 15th in the Drivers’ Championship with just 15 points, behind his teammate Edoardo Mortara – who claimed the team’s maiden race win in Hong Kong.

Can the former F1 man get to grips with the driving style of Formula E and impress his huge Italian fan base on Saturday?

Follow all the action live this Saturday from 2.30pm on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and Eurosport 1.


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