Que viva Mexico! The second round of Formula E’s “Latin-American trilogy” did not disappoint. And not just in terms of the race itself, which delivered a few surprises, but because of an unusual setting that makes the Mexico City Grand Prix a genuinely unique and enthralling event.
At more than 2,200 metres above sea level, the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is not just the highest circuit in the ABB FIA Formula E series but it’s also the only one to provide the cars with a permanent rather than street circuit. The result for the world’s greenest motorsport event was a surface as smooth as a ping pong table, a world away from the rough asphalt of Santiago de Chile, a month previously and that of Punta del Este, Uruguay, two weeks later.
This is the third consecutive season that Mexico has played host to the ePrix. The track consisted of part of the Formula 1 circuit which was shortened from 4.3 kilometres to just over two kilometres to adapt it to the needs of the electric single-seaters. That said, it still included the fearsomely fast, banked Peraltada corner just before the final straight overlooked by the same stands from which spectators gaze down on Ferraris and Mercedes whizzing by. The contrast between the sporting spectacle of the silent zero emissions prototypes and their noisy petrol-fuelled cousins is never more striking than in Mexico City and is made starker still by the fact that the host city has one of the highest pollution levels in the world.
This just goes to show that Formula E is about much more than just motorsport. With that in mind, Enel, in its second year as Official Power Partner, turned the event into an exclusive showcase for sustainable mobility. It was a real taste of the future, the living proof that a very different kind of speed is entirely possible. It was also, of course, a test run for the technology of tomorrow.
We installed a microgrid powered by innovative glycerine-powered generators and solar panels inside the eVillage set up at the circuit. At the heart of the grid was the Energy Management System, which uses advanced software to optimise consumption management and monitor the flow in real time, either by tablet or smartphone.
“At the centre of the circuit we have what we refer to as Power Up, which allows us to manage all consumption and thus boost efficiency a little,” explains Paolo Romanacci, Country Manager Enel Green Power Mexico and Central America. “This is the future and we are supporting it. We are here and today was also important for us because we signed a contract with Faurecia (a leading automotive innovation company - ed) with a short term outlook. That too was a moment of innovation. We are also pioneering in this market, which is unique on the Mexican scene.”
And Enel has something of a home advantage in Mexico. Having entered the renewables market in 2008, our Group is now the nation’s leading renewable energy operator both in terms of installed capacity (728 MW) and projects under construction (1,282 MW). That means we are the perfect ambassador for the e-mobility of the future being spearheaded by Formula E.
What about the race itself? As we said, there were surprises a plenty. Lucas Di Grassi won last year in the Audi Schaeffler ABT and later went on to take the world title. This year the Brazilian delivered a blistering comeback but in the end another Audi driver, German Daniel Abt, was first across the line and will be looking to repeat that feat in the final Latin American round in Uruguay in just a few days’ time.