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Marrakesh Post-Race Notebook

Sam Smith’s post-race notebook from Marrakesh E-Prix…

Photo: Formula E

***Nicolas Prost was handed a post-race penalty for exceeding the Full Course Yellow maximum speed of 50 km/h. An additional 20 seconds was added to his total race time and dropped the Renault e.dams driver to 13th position and elevating Alex Lynn and Daniel Abt to 9th and 10th place, respectively.

***Marrakesh E-Prix winner Felix Rosenqvist bounced back from a battery change to one of his Mahindra M4Electro cars just moments before the start of the race. “Thirty minutes before jumping into my car for pre-grid, my second car was in half,” Rosenqvist said. “I was praying my second car would be ready. The guys stopped working on the car one lap before [my pit stop].”

***The Swede has taken over the lead of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for the first time, with a four-point advantage over DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird, who finished third on Saturday despite battling gearbox issues with both cars.

***Bird told e-racing365 the issues, which developed in Hong Kong last month, got worse as the race developed. “I didn’t think I was going to finish the race in the first car,” he said. “I thought I was going to be pulling over and retiring, so actually I was quite relieved when the FCY came out. It sort of saved my bacon a little bit.”

***Sebastien Buemi’s hope of mounting a challenge to Rosenqvist in the closing laps was dashed due to a malfunctioning Fanboost. Buemi swapped starting cars pre-race after the Swiss driver’s Renault Z.E 17 developed a water pump issue following qualifying, with the second car not equipped for the increased power.

***Renault e.dams team principal Alain Prost told e-racing365 they were encouraged by its Marrakesh pace. “We knew it would be difficult this season because we did not make a big change from last season just small developments. We know Audi did a lot and maybe Mahindra too. We are pushing a lot to get the most from the technical package we have.”

***Andre Lotterer was forced to retire on Lap 15 when his TECHEETAH Renault Z.E. 17 suffered a hardware malfunction, resulting in a brake lock-up and stranding the German on-track.

***Lotterer’s stoppage triggered the race’s only Full Course Yellow, just prior the round of mid-race pit stops. While the majority of teams were able to capitalize on the yellow, a handful of drivers, including Daniel Abt, lost further ground due to pitting moments earlier while under green.

***Tom Blomqvist’s debut Formula E outing yielded points for P8, but one of the oddest parts of the weekend for the BMW factory driver was the silent start. “There’s no tension building. It’s really strange, but something I’ll get used to and build on for the rest of the season,” Blomqvist told e-racing365.

***Mitch Evans saw his hopes of a top-10 finish fade after struggling to manage his energy during the first stint of the race, forcing him into an early stop that then caused him to get caught out by the Full Course Yellow. A slow second stint will prompt Jaguar to investigate any potential issues on his car.

***A technical failure for Oliver Turvey on the formation lap forced Turvey to swap to his second car and start from the pit lane. The Englishman impressively charged up to 8th before being forced to retire due to the second car being repaired in time.

***E-racing365 understands the issue for Turvey’s car could impede the Chinese team’s test plan for tomorrow’s Rookie Test, which is slated to see Harry Tincknell drive both of Turvey’s NextEV NIO Sport 003 entries and Alexandre Imperatori in Lucas Filippi’s machinery.

***The inaugural Rome E-Prix has sold all the initial allocated 10,000 tickets for the event. A Formula E spokesperson told e-racing365 that event organizers are working on adding additional capacity for the April 14 event.

***Techeetah managing director Ivan Yim believes that two races in mainland China is an absolute necessity in the coming seasons. “It is crucial we race on the mainland and we would like two races there, in addition to Hong Kong, and in the near future,” he said. “China is the biggest EV market and is expanding rapidly so we must have a big presence there.”

***While the next-generation Formula E car is set to be officially launched at the Geneva Motor Show in early March, e-racing365 understands that the first images of the car could be made public well before that date. It’s anticipated the car will initially be revealed in a neutral livery.

***Further testing of the SRT05e prototype has been undertaken in recent weeks with Benoit Treluyer believed to have again been driving the machine. It remains unclear as to whether it has yet tested with the Halo safety device fully integrated.

***Jay Penske has revealed that its challenging start to the season in Hong Kong was a legacy of its decision not to forge a technical partnership with Porsche. “Hong Kong was tough for us but we knew we would fight back hard which we have shown here,” he told e-racing365. “The situation we had in pre-season with Porsche changed and so we had adapt and that process is still going on for us as a team.”

***Nico Mueller is relishing his first run in a Formula E car which will come on Sunday with Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler. “I did half a day in the simulator and I have to say it is really interesting,” he said. “I am impressed with the set-up of the paddock here and you just have to look at the drivers testing tomorrow to know that this is a real championship going up and up right now.”

***The topical Crypto Currency phenomenon has come to Formula E, as the Ethereum brand was featured on the Venturi cars this weekend. Following the success of the Bitcoin initiative, Ethereum is a “decentralized mining network and software development platform” founded by Vitalik Buterin, a Russian software programmer.

John Dagys and Luke Smith contributed to this report

Sam Smith is e-racing365's Formula E Editor. A 20-year veteran in motorsports media, including press officer roles in both the FIA Sportscar Championship and at Lola Group, Smith is a well-known face in the Formula E paddock, where he served as series editor for from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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