Weekend preview: F1, Formula E, WRC

Rachit Thukral

Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Formula 1)

Azerbaijan Grand Prix (Formula 1) Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

The start of the 2019 season has certainly caught everyone by surprise, with Ferrari failing to live up to its pre-season promise.

Instead, Mercedes has stolen a march with three back-to-back one-two finishes - all of which has strengthened its status as F1’s best operational team.

Ferrari’s low-drag SF90 will offer it a substantial advantage in Baku’s final sector, but there are concerns over the car’s performance in high-downforce sections of the track.

The Maranello-based outfit will bring a “few upgrades” to Azerbaijan GP, its first since the season started, and it would be interesting to see how it will position the team vis-a-vis Mercedes.

With Haas bracing for a tough race, Red Bull-Honda and Renault are likely to battle for the best-of-the-rest spot. Baku’s long straights will serve as a barometer for engine performance, and paddock insiders will be eagerly watching the speed trap figures of both Honda and Renault-powered teams.

Paris E-Prix (Formula E)

Paris E-Prix (Formula E) Alastair Staley / LAT Images

Alastair Staley / LAT Images

Formula E will head to Paris this weekend after kicking off its European leg in Rome a fortnight ago.

The race will take place less than two weeks after city’s iconic Notre Dame cathedral was partially damaged by an accidental fire.

Mahindra Racing secured a double points finish at the last race, but the team’s declining form has seen it slip to a joint third in the teams’ standings, tied with Audi.

However, Jerome d’Ambrosio still leads the drivers’ standings for Mahindra on the back of a consistent first half of the season.

D’Ambrosio’s teammate Wehrlein pointed out that the M5Electro is affected severely by weather changes, with cold conditions its Achilles heel.

With rain forecast on Saturday and temperature not expected to go above 20c, Mahindra is unlikely to feature on the podium this weekend - bar any exceptional circumstances.

Rally Argentina (WRC)

Rally Argentina (WRC) Hyundai Motorsport

Hyundai Motorsport

The World Rally Championship contingent will head to Argentina for the second gravel rally of the season.

The three title rivals are separated by just five points at present, with Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville leading Citroen driver Sebastien Ogier and Toyota’s Ott Tanak.

Neuville and Tanak shared the spoils in the last two editions of Rally Argentina, while Ogier has never won this event before - his best result being a second place finish in 2016.

Action will begin on Thursday with a 4.25 km shakedown in Villa Carlos Paz, before the first leg gets underway on Friday.

Honda Racing India (Asia Road Racing Championship)

Honda Racing India (Asia Road Racing Championship) ARRC

ARRC

The Honda India team will head to Australia this weekend for the second round of Asia Road Racing Championship.

Rajiv Sethu and Senthil Kumar will represent the all-Indian team in the Asia Production 250cc category, which sits above the entry level Underbone 150cc class.

Sethu enjoyed his career best finish off 11th in the season opener in Malaysia, while Kumar also put on a fine show on his debut, finishing inside the points in 14th.

Mahaveer Raghunathan (Formula 2, Baku)

Mahaveer Raghunathan (Formula 2, Baku) Joe Portlock / LAT Images

Joe Portlock / LAT Images

Mahaveer Raghunathan will compete in his second Formula 2 round in Baku this weekend.

The Indian driver, who races under a Dutch license, endured a fraught debut in Bahrain last month, securing a best finish of 18th.

Moreover, he was found to have completed an extra lap at racing speeds for which he has been handed a 10-place grid drop. The penalty will apply to Saturday’s feature race.