Formula E: Rome E-Prix is the first race of a thrilling season to be held in Europe

By Michael EmonsBBC Sport
Formula E on the BBC
Watch the Rome E-Prix from 14:30 BST on Saturday, 13 April on the BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and BBC iPlayer.

Six races, six different winners, from six different teams.

It has been a thrilling Formula E season and the European phase of the campaign begins on Saturday with the Rome E-Prix - you can follow live coverage on the BBC.

Portugal's Antonio Felix da Costa holds a one-point championship lead over Belgium's Jerome D'Ambrosio.

Reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne is third after winning in Sanya, China, with Britain's Sam Bird in fourth spot.

Bird, who was forced into an early retirement in China having gone into the race top of the standings, is hoping to repeat last year's race win in Italy.

"Winning last year was such an amazing feeling, especially in front of such passionate motorsport fans," said the Englishman. "Of course, it would be great to do the same again this year, but we'll just have to see.

"The competition is seriously high this season with just 10 points currently separating the top six drivers, and all six races so far have seen a different winner, so it's really open.

"As always, qualifying will be key, but if we can get this right and start from the front then we have the car and the team to deliver."

You can watch live coverage of the Rome E-Prix on the BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and BBC iPlayer from 14:30 BST on Saturday, 13 April, with a full replay of the race available on the BBC Red Button later on Saturday.

Formula E has been to Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Chile, Mexico, Hong Kong and mainland China this season and the Rome E-Prix starts the European leg of the season, with forthcoming races in Paris, Monaco, Berlin and Bern before the season-ending double-header in New York.

This will be the second race to take place in the Italian capital and the 2.87km track, which consists of 21 turns, is one of the longest of the season.

The start/finish line is located on Via Cristoforo Colombo, with the cars racing around the Obelisco di Marconi, against the backdrop of the iconic Colosseo Quadrato.

Recap: How does Formula E work?

Antonio Felix da Costa leads Jean-Eric Vergne
There are 13 races in 12 cities in the 2018-19 Formula E season, which runs until 14 July

Compared with Formula 1, Formula E is considerably more friendly to the environment.

The sport was developed with sustainability in mind, with organisers saying the aim is to "reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible".

It does this by powering its cars with a battery that uses 100% renewable fuel, and tyres that, as well as lasting an entire race, can also be recycled afterwards. Meanwhile, spectators are encouraged to use public transport to get to events, with no public parking available.

One drawback with battery-powered cars had been that they lacked the capacity to last an entire race, resulting in the rather unusual (and somewhat gimmicky) sight of drivers having to swap cars mid-race.

That will no longer happen - this season's Gen2 car is fitted with a battery that will last from start to finish of races.

With the car manufacturing world looking to switch to developing almost exclusively electric cars within the next couple of decades, Formula E provides them with the ideal arena to test new technology at a competitive level.

Fan Boost and Attack Mode

Attack Mode? Fan Boost? Formula E explained

Spectators play a key role in the action during Formula E races.

'Fan Boost' has been a feature of the past few seasons, with viewers able to vote using an app to determine which driver gets some extra power during a race.

New this season is 'Attack Mode', which gives competitors a speed boost after they drive through an allocated area on the track.

How are the big names doing?

Felipe Massa
Felipe Massa is arguably Formula E's biggest driver signing yet

Former Ferrari and Williams driver Felipe Massa, runner-up in the Formula 1 world championship in 2008, has signed a three-year contract to race for Monaco-based Venturi and is 15th overall after coming 10th in Sanya.

It has been a struggle for Stoffel Vandoorne, Fernando Alonso's F1 team-mate at McLaren for the past two seasons, in his first year in Formula E as he has only collected three points from six races for the HWA Racelab team.

Mahindra Racing's Pascal Wehrlein, who had two seasons in F1, is 10th overall after coming seventh in China. He led throughout the race in Mexico City, but in an incredible finish ran out of battery power in the final straight and was overtaken by Lucas di Grassi. Wehrlein was also handed a five-second penalty to drop him down to sixth.

How they stand - after six races of 13

1. Antonio Felix da Costa (Por)BMW I Andretti Motorsport62
2. Jerome d'Ambrosio (Bel)Mahindra Racing61
3. Jean-Eric Vergne (Fra)DS Techeetah Formula E Team54
4. Sam Bird (GB)Envision Virgin Racing54
5. Lucas di Grassi (Bra)Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler52
6. Edoardo Mortara (Sui)Venturi Formula E Team52
7. Daniel Abt (Ger)Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler44
8. Robin Frijns (Ned)Envision Virgin Racing43
9. Andre Lotterer (Ger)DS Techeetah Formula E Team41
10. Pascal Wehrlein (Ger)Mahindra Racing36
11. Mitch Evans (NZ)Panasonic Jaguar Racing36
12. Oliver Rowland (GB)Nissan E.Dams27
13. Sebastian Buemi (Sui)Nissan E.Dams19
14. Alexander Sims (GB)BMW I Andretti Motorsport18
15. Felipe Massa (Bra)Venturi Formula E team15
16. Oliver Turvey (GB)NIO Formula E Team6
17. Gary Paffett (GB)HWA Racelab4
18. Stoffel Vandoorne (Bel)HWA Racelab3
19. Jose Maria Lopez (Arg)GEOX Dragon2
20. Nelson Piquet Jr (Bra)Panasonic Jaguar Racing1

Tom Dillman (Fra, NIO Formula E Team), Maximilian Gunther (Ger, GEOX Dragon), Felipe Nasr (Bra, GEOX Dragon) and Felix Rosenqvist (Swe, Mahindra Racing) have all failed to score a point.

Formula E social

Formula E
Formula E's Facebook page showed the six different winners, from six teams, throughout the 2018-19 season
Jaguar Racing
British driver Alex Lynn has joined Jaguar Racing until the end of the season, replacing 2014-15 champion Nelson Piquet Jr, who had only picked up one point from the first six races of the campaign
Jean-Eric Vergne
Saturday's race will be the 50th of Jean-Eric Vergne's career. The reigning world champion is third in the standings in 2018-19

Results so far

15 December, 2018: Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. 1. Antonio Felix da Costa, 2. Jean-Eric Vergne, 3. Jerome d'Ambrosio, 4. Mitch Evans, 5. Andre Lotterer, 6. Sebastian Buemi, 7. Oliver Rowland, 8. Daniel Abt, 9. Lucas di Grassi, 10. Nelson Piquet Jr.

12 January, 2019: Marrakesh, Morocco. 1. D'Ambrosio, 2. Robin Frijns, 3. Sam Bird, 4. Alexander Sims, 5. Vergne, 6. Lotterer, 7. Lucas Di Grassi, 8. Buemi, 9. Mitch Evans, 10. Abt.

26 January 2019: Santiago, Chile. 1. Bird, 2. Pascal Wehrlein, 3. Abt, 4. Edoardo Mortara, 5. Frijns, 6. Evans, 7. Sims, 8. Turvey, 9. Jose Maria Lopez, 10. D'Ambrosio.

16 February, 2019: Mexico City, Mexico. 1. Di Grassi, 2. Da Costa, 3. Mortara, 4. D'Ambrosio, 5. Lotterer, 6. Wehrlein, 7. Evans, 8. Felipe Massa, 9. Bird, 10. Abt.

10 March, 2019: Hong Kong. 1. Mortara, 2. Di Grassi, 3. Frijns, 4. Abt, 5. Massa, 6. Bird, 7. Evans, 8. Gary Paffett, 9. Oliver Turvey, 10. Da Costa.

23 March, 2019: Sanya, China. 1 Vergne, 2. Rowland, 3. Da Costa, 4. Lotterer, 5. Abt, 6. D'Ambrosio, 7. Wehrlein, 8. Buemi, 9. Evans, 10. Massa

Where and when are the rest of the races?

13 April 2019: Rome, Italy

27 April 2019: Paris, France

11 May 2019: Monaco

25 May 2019: Berlin, Germany

22 June 2019: Bern, Switzerland

13 and 14 July 2019: New York, USA