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Marrakesh Thursday Notebook

Sam Smith’s first notebook from Marrakesh, site of this weekend’s Formula E race…

Photo: John Dagys

***E-racing365 has learned that a track in the UK is under consideration for hosting a double-header this season. The as-yet-unknown venue, which has been discussed as a possible Montreal replacement, is one of several possibilities being investigated by Formula E Holdings Ltd.

***Other options possible for a Montreal replacement are believed to be expanding two existing races in to double-header events. It’s believed that the Punta del Este and Berlin Tempelhof races are the most likely should this strategy be chosen.

***Employing the extra double headers at existing rounds could prove attractive to Formula E should a new alternative venue not be found, as it would make the New York City E-Prix the final destination on the 2017/18 schedule.

***These possibilities and others are set to be discussed at an FIA commission meeting next week. The FIA calendar steering committee is also set to convene within the planned commission meetings.

***Season Five manufacturers have already taken delivery of the new battery charger for the second-generation Formula E car. The system, which is described as “taller” than the previous unit, precedes deliveries of the actual car which is scheduled for end of February.

***Teams are yet to receive the McLaren Applied Technologies-supplied battery, with deliveries expected to be imminent, in order to form powertrain architectures.

***There was notable signage in reference to new Formula E title sponsor ABB Group in the Marrakesh paddock (pictured above). The deal, which was initially reported to be “at least $15 million per year for seven years” is understood to be considerably more with some stating a figure of $150 million over the seven-year period.

***Renault e.dams believes it has identified and solved the issue that compromised its Hong Kong E-Prix weekend. Although the team would not go into specifics on the root cause of the issue, speculation has centered around the differential of the Renault Z.E 17 which is new for the present season.

***The majority of drivers that will take part in Sunday’s Rookie Test are believed to be in attendance through the coming days, as they integrate themselves with teams.

***Several drivers, including Harry Tincknell, Felix Rosenqvist, Antonio Felix da Costa and Maro Engel faced some travel disruption in traveling back from the Roar Before 24 at Daytona last weekend.

***E-racing365 has uncovered that Dragon Racing still has one Faraday Future employee working with it this season. Systems Engineer Kurt Mitts has remained with the team despite Dragon and Faraday ending its relationship last summer.

***The length of the Marrakesh E-Prix will remain the same this season at 33 laps. With the slight increase in maximum race power to 180kW Saturday’s race presents an extra challenge for drivers and teams.

***Hollywood royalty is set to visit the paddock, as Orlando Bloom and Leonardo di Caprio are scheduled to be guests this Saturday. The pair are close friends and are believed to be in Morocco celebrating Bloom’s 41st birthday which is on Jan 13.

***DS Virgin Racing team principal Sir Richard Branson owns a luxury resort in the Atlas Mountains, a one hour’s drive south of Marrakesh. Branson purchased Kasbah Tamadot in 1998, while on his around-the-world attempt in a hot air balloon. The five-star resort, which started life a riad, features 28 rooms and suites, as well as a private heliport.

John Dagys 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



  1. Paul G

    January 11, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Why don’t they run double-headers everywhere? More exposure and more content at what must be relatively small extra cost. Other series like Supercars run both Saturday and Sunday most race weekends.

    For this season; I enjoyed last years Berlin track (the enthusiastic crowd was great too) and PDE was a highlight of the previous seasons so I’d love to see extra races at both.

  2. Chris Llana

    January 11, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    Great info in this post!

  3. Old Trombone

    January 11, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Brands Hatch Indy

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