At the Apex: What to watch out for in São Paulo

Having the power to reflect on past events only opens our understanding of what we can do in the future. In 2023, the São Paulo E-Prix was a turning point in our season.

Formula E’s inaugural race in Brazil was one of the series’ most hotly anticipated events in history, but it also left a lasting legacy by birthing the prototype version of what would become the peloton.

With its long straights, heavy braking zones, reliance upon slipstreaming and high energy sensitivity, São Paulo requires a very specific style when it comes to driving

Precision and confidence are rewarded in equal measure, but patience and awareness often go unnoticed when fighting in the heat of battle.

Here at Maserati MSG Racing, we’re ready to resume our season once more. This is what you should watch out for in the 2024 edition of the São Paulo E-Prix.

Setup Changes

A mechanic works on Jehan Daruvala's Maserati Tipo Folgore

With three long straights, three heavy braking zones, and 11 corners – most of which are low-speed – São Paulo is vastly different to any other circuit we have raced on so far in Season 10.


Such a change from one weekend to the next is natural, and our approach will remain the same, but adapting our car setup in order to unlock lap time will be critical.


It seems obvious to say. Adjusting car setup is, after all, a given in motorsport, but it’s the way in which we change it that counts.


For this weekend, changing our aerodynamic setup to reduce drag on straights without compromising downforce in corners seems vital, and it is. But while important, our focus is also elsewhere: adapting stability.


Vehicle stability is rarely talked about in Formula E, but adjusting stability can have a drastic impact on car performance and handling.


The less stable a car is, the better its rotation will be which, on a street circuit like São Paulo, is incredibly important, especially at low speed.


Good rotation will be vital in slow corners which require quick directional changes like Turns Two and Five and will also ensure that we can secure smooth runs through longer corners, like Turn Three.


Achieving good rotation will improve lap time, but because drivers will be able to increase their minimum speed in corners, they will also save energy by spending less time on the throttle on exit.


Alongside simulation and validation work, car setup will be another area teams will be assessing throughout practice, and it’s something that we need to get right.

Energy Sensitivity

The Formula E field lines up on the São Paulo starting grid in 2023

In Formula E, energy sensitivity is everything, and from strategy to racing style, this factor of performance shapes the way we race more than any other.

After three strategic yet controlled races in Mexico City and Diriyah, drivers will face their biggest energy-saving challenge of the season so far in Brazil.

With its immensely long straights, it’s no wonder that São Paulo takes things to an extreme when it comes to energy consumption, and with so much to manage, every lap will be a marvel to watch.

Several heavy braking zones will enable drivers to regenerate energy, and while crucial, this alone will not be enough, increasing the importance of lifting and coasting.

By lifting and coasting at the end of long straights, drivers will be able to reduce their real-time energy consumption before recovering energy through regenerative braking on corner entry.

Balancing lifting and coasting with regen and consumption is the name of the game this weekend, and for one team, running an efficient, clean race will be a direct route to success.

The Strength of Slipstreaming

Maximilian Günther, Pascal Wehrlein, and Jake Dennis slipstream one another in the 2023 São Paulo E-Prix

Alongside lifting and coasting and regenerative braking, slipstreaming also plays a key role in energy conservation and management.

In Season 9, slipstreaming was instrumental when we raced in Brazil, and if used strategically, it can not only increase straight-line speed but also improve energy efficiency.

Understanding why this is the case can be explained through a quick lesson in physics.

When a driver is in another car’s slipstream, they are exposed to less air resistance, meaning they can reach higher speeds in a straight line.

Alongside the benefit of increased top speeds, the reduced drag also reduces our energy consumption and can improve our efficiency by up to 10%.

On a circuit which is already highly energy sensitive, harnessing the power of slipstreaming can be a true game-changer, and it’s the very reason why we saw the birth of the proto-peloton in São Paulo last year.

That style of racing is highly likely to return this weekend, and in Formula E, it’s here to stay.


Maximilian Günther battles with Pascal Wehrlein and Nico Müller in the 2023 São Paulo E-Prix

The 2024 São Paulo E-Prix is set to feature more on-track overtaking than any other race so far this season.

Passing places in Turns One, Four, Seven, and 10 ensure that there will be no shortage of action, but combining this with energy saving and strategy, it’s likely that we’ll see overtaking everywhere.

With the top three covered by only half a second in last season’s race, São Paulo has produced some of the closest racing seen Formula E, but being in the fight at the end is what truly matters.

While qualifying will have a reduced importance, taking advantage of every opportunity on-track will be crucial, and those who can overtake without compromising strategy will be in for the best results.

The Power of Momentum

Maximilian Günther and Jehan Daruvala in the pitlane in Diriyah

Momentum is everything in Formula E, and if there was one thing we learned during Season 10, it’s that consistency can pave the pathway to points.

After three races this season, Maximilian Günther is one of only five drivers to hold a 100% points scoring record, and session-by-session, Jehan Daruvala is continuing to look increasingly competitive.

Ahead of São Paulo, we’re confident that we’re heading in the right direction. But above all, we’re united, collectively pushing in the same direction with one shared vision.