Thrilling finale in India: Jean-Éric Vergne wins the Hyderabad E-Prix on Hankook iON Race
■ Jean-Éric Vergne Claims Victory at the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race in Hyderabad
■ Hankook iON Race masters the street circuit in India with heat, dust and plenty of speed
■ 55-strong orchestra provides new soundtrack to Formula E
Neu-Isenburg, Germany, February 13, 2023 – What a great advertisement for Formula E! A highly dramatic race in the Indian city of Hyderabad was followed by thousands of fans, who were treated to exciting wheel-to-wheel battles and thrilling overtakes. With less than one percent of his energy remaining, Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne took the checkered flag with an extremely slender lead to take victory for the DS Penske team, as Formula E made its debut in the fourth largest city in India. “The Hankook tire was very consistent throughout the whole race. Unlike in Diriyah, I managed to get the tire working as early as qualifying. I must now take a close look to find out why that was the case, and to ensure we also manage to do so in the coming races,” said the two-time Formula E champion.
Runner-up Nick Cassidy from New Zealand of Envision Racing was embroiled in a dramatic battle with the eventual winner for many laps, launching one overtaking attempt after another. However, Vergne held his nerve and successfully fended off all the attacks. There was great disappointment for the man who crossed the finish line third. Switzerland’s Sébastien Buemi, Envision Racing, was handed a time penalty shortly after the finish, which saw him relegated to 15th place. The beneficiary of Buemi’s misfortune was Portuguese driver António Félix da Costa of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. He was promoted to third place, earning him a spot on the podium in his 100th Formula E race. Germany’s Pascal Wehrlein of TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team continues to lead the overall standings.
Manfred Sandbichler, Director of Hankook Motorsport, says, “The first Formula E race in India was definitely a very special experience for everyone. Congratulations to the winner, Jean-Éric Vergne from the DS Penske team. Our tire mastered the track conditions, which were really difficult, and the high ambient temperatures and supported the drivers, for whom every fraction of a second was vital. After four races with a diverse range of challenges for the Hankook iON Race, I can draw a very positive conclusion. It is good to see how quickly the teams are learning to work with the new Formula E tire. Through the very close communication with the drivers and engineers, we know how much faith they have in our product. The next race in South Africa awaits at the latest new Formula E circuit, which we are very much looking forward to already.”
Little rain, lots of traffic and long high-speed straights: the street circuit in the metropolis of Hyderabad posed a real challenge to the official tire of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the Hankook iON Race. The extraordinary amount of traffic on the roads along the banks of the Hussain Sagar lake in Hyderabad meant the asphalt was already badly worn before it was transformed into a racetrack, and consequently provided little grip during the Formula E race. The lengthy spell of dry weather in the run-up to the arrival of the fully-electric racing series only served to exacerbate the situation. “It meant there was a lot of dirt and dust on the track, which formed a very slippery surface. Particularly at the end of the long, high-speed straights, the Hankook iON Race really had to work hard to provide the drivers with the necessary grip,” explained Thomas Baltes, Hankook Formula E Race Engineer. “The tire also overcame the high track temperatures of over 50 degrees without any problems. The drivers are learning a lot about the new Formula E tire in every race: after heavy rain at the test in Valencia and cool temperatures in the Saudi Arabian desert, the teams this time gained valuable experience of running the Hankook iON Race in extreme heat,” said Baltes.
There was a perfect neighbor for the state-of-the-art and innovative Formula E championship and its official technical partner and tire supplier, Hankook Tire & Technology: HITEC City (Hyderabad Information Technology and Engineering Consultancy City) in the northwest of the city is the technology, engineering and business center of Hyderabad. Known as Cyberabad, the district is home to dozens of global companies, including Microsoft, Amazon, Deloitte, IBM and Qualcomm.
Meanwhile, Race four of Season 9 in India was a very special one for António Félix da Costa, as the 31-year-old celebrated a big milestone: “100 races in Formula E – that is really crazy. They have been very exciting years, with seven wins, 17 podiums, eight poles and the world title in 2019/2020. That is something I am very proud of. I love Formula E and have been involved since the very first race. I like discovering new racetracks,” said the Portuguese, who was third on Hankook tires in his 100th race in Hyderabad.
Furthermore, black gold is also a popular topic with the media in Formula E. In the media center at the circuit in Hyderabad, Hankook’s head of communications, Felix Kinzer, joined Hankook Motorsport Director Manfred Sandbichler and Race Tire Development Engineer Mike Choi to tell selected journalists all they need to know about the Hankook iON Race.
Moreover, Formula E has remodeled its entire music and sound offering, which is used on all broadcasting and digital channels. It has been inspired by the power of the electric acceleration and the sound of the fastest, lightest, most powerful and most efficient electric race car ever built – the GEN3. Two composers were commissioned to develop the full music and sound suite. They visited private GEN3 test sessions with NIO333 and Mahindra Racing, where they recorded the sound of the race cars. These recordings were then developed into a series of sound elements and incorporated in the new music package, which is used on television and in digital content. The whole new soundtrack, including the title music for the program, was composed by Tom Player and recorded live by a 55-strong orchestra at Abbey Road Studios.