Formula E: Pioneering electric race series resumes on streets of Buenos Aires

    Story highlights

    • Formula E for Buenos Aires ePrix on Feb 6
    • Title race "incredibly close" after 3 rounds
    • Venturi co-owner Leo DiCaprio meets Pope

    (CNN)After recharging its batteries over the winter break, Formula E is back in business in Buenos Aires.

    The racing championship for electric cars is powering up for round four of 11 in Argentina on Saturday February 6 for the ePrix dubbed "Lightning Bites."
    Rival drivers are certainly sinking their teeth into the championship battle with Renault e.dams racer Sebastien Buemi just one point ahead of ABT Audi rival Lucas di Grassi.
    "The fans are enjoying an incredibly close championship this season in which every minute detail is crucial," enthused Di Grassi.
    Buemi, who won the season-opener in Beijing, is watching his back: "Lucas is really close and consistent so we have to remain focused," he told reporters after his victory last time out in Uruguay.

    'With Formula E you just never know!'

    As Formula E reaches Argentina, is it time for two to tango for the 2015/2016 drivers' crown?
    "Do you think we could get them to dance together?" mused Nicki Shields, presenter of CNN's new SuperCharged show, which airs on February 13.
    "With one point between Buemi and Di Grassi it will be entertaining to see how they battle it out on track.
    "The Renault and Audi teams tend to be very reliable and consistent -- and the championship could definitely turn into a two-horse race quite quickly.
    "But we had six different winners in the first six races last year and the street circuit tracks are very unforgiving, the smallest mistake can cost you an entire race. So, with Formula E you just never know!"
    Buemi and Di Grassi may well be locked in a title battle as tight as a clinch in the tango, Argentina's national dance.
    Legend has it that the passionate dance was born on the streets of the capital Buenos Aires, host to this weekend's Formula E extravaganza.
    At last season's inaugural ePrix, former drivers Michela Cerruti and Juan Manuel Lopez had tango lessons but will we see anyone take a turn on the dance floor this year?
    "Maybe I'll have to ask the winner for a tango dance," suggests Shields. "I have had tango lessons in Buenos Aires before and they were great fun."

    Fashionable setting

    At least the drivers can flex their muscles on a tour of the track if not on the dance floor.
    The urban location for the Buenos Aires ePrix is the waterfront parkland of the fashionable Puerto Madero district.
    The 2.4-kilometer (1.5-mile) circuit offers a top speed of nearly 200 kph (124 mph) and a testing hairpin between turns four and six. Pole position in 2015 was set in one minute 9.134 seconds.
    "It's got to be one my favorite races because Buenos Aires has so much vibrancy and it's a great place for everyone to be," adds Shields.
    "The track is anti-clockwise. Last year it was quite bumpy, but it's quite a fast track too."
    There are some new, but familiar, faces to look out for in Argentina as Salvador Duran and Mike Conway return to the electric grid.
    Conway, previously a test driver for Dragon Racing, replaces 1997 Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve at the Venturi team after the two parted company.
    ''I have always liked street tracks," said Englishman Conway, a former IndyCar winner. "It's exciting to be part of the series."
    Duran rejoins Team Aguri, who he drove for in nine rounds last year, for the rest of the season as a replacement for Nathanael Berthon.
    "I'm particularly looking forward to my home race in Mexico," said Duran, excited to be back for the upcoming March event.

    Papal blessing?

    Venturi team co-owner Leonardo DiCaprio took time out from receiving plaudits for his acting in "The Revenant" for an audience with Pope Francis -- who hails from Buenos Aires.
    The pair discussed climate change, something close to the American actor's heart whose eponymous foundation supports environmental conservation.
    DiCaprio is also an ambassador for Formula E and he may well approve of holding the Buenos Aires ePrix in leafy parkland to help underline the sport's green credentials.
    "It's really good reminder why we're doing this," explains Shields, who is also the sport's official pit lane reporter.
    "We're surrounded by beautiful green leaves and trees in Puerto Madro and we're racing there as well. That juxtaposition reminds us what Formula E is all about -- the need to bring zero emissions to our cities."