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Santiago Friday Notebook

Sam Smith’s Friday notebook from Santiago, ahead of race day on Saturday…

Photo: Formula E

***The shakedown session took place on a very dusty track this afternoon with cars taking first tentative steps on the tremendously bumpy circuit. There were no significant incidents in the untimed 30-minute session.

***Possible Season Five races in Beirut, Qatar and Singapore are all under discussion as the first draft of the 2018/19 season calendar is being shaped for submission the FIA in March.

***The status of a return to Santiago is currently unknown largely due to the change in national government, which will take place next month. However, an ABB FIA Formula E Championship spokesperson confirmed that a “good initial relationship had been struck up with the future administration.”

***E-racing365 understands that Season Five could start in the Middle East in November or December, resulting in the Hong Kong E-Prix moving to March 2019 as part of a double-header with a possible new event in China.

***Manufacturers received their Season Five batteries on Tuesday after a slight delay in freighting from San Francisco where they were assembled by specialist EV tech company Atieva. The units’ delivery follows the charging infrastructure which was received early last month.

***Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag spent time in the San Pedro Atacama region of Chile earlier this week where he visited lithium mines. Chile was registered as the second-largest lithium-mining country in the world behind Australia in 2016. Chile’s lithium is found in brines below the surface of salt flats, and the Atacama salt flat in Chile hosts roughly 37 percent of the world’s entire lithium production.

***The Jaguar I-Pace eTROPHY car could run in public for the first time in May, possibly at a Formula E event. At least one new team will be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month.

***Testing of the ‘Gen 2’ Formula E car continued last week with further miles added to the test and development at the Calafat test track. Spark Technologies once again conducted the running.

***A Nissan-liveried car could be seen for the first time in Geneva next month as manufacturers aim to officially launch cars. Nissan’s Michael Carcamo is in attendance this weekend after skipping the previous round in Morocco.

***Gerry Hughes, team principal of NIO Formula E Team, believes that the team’s work on maximizing “race performance” in addition to the one lap pace will start to pay dividends soon. “Oliver [Turvey]’s performance in the opening phase at Marrakesh showed us what could be possible. Yes there was frustration we couldn’t finish the race but we are excited by what we can be capable of now,” Hughes told e-racing365.

***NIO’s Luca Filippi believes he has been “unlucky” in his first three Formula E races but that he also needs to be more aggressive in races. “In two of the three races I had exactly the same part fail after small contact which was the front steering arm,” he told e-racing365.

***Techeetah’s Mark Preston praised the new ‘Gen 2’ Formula E car, calling it “impressive.” Preston holds a unique position as a team principal in that he, through his own design company, submitted an original tender for the initial Formula E car back in 2013. “It actually looks similar to what I submitted for the original car which is quite pleasing!” he said.

***Sam Bird confirmed that the technical issues, which affected his races in Hong Kong, were centered around the gearbox of one of his DS Virgin DSV-03 cars and have now been addressed. “The issue has been resolved and the components replaced,” said Bird. “We are looking forward to having no more issues in that department.”

***The event’s clerk of the course has changed. Initially Julian-Jose Abed was scheduled to fill the position but he has now been replaced by Jorge Rodriguez Herrera.

***Francois Sicard once again takes the helm at the Renault e.dams team this weekend as neither Jean-Paul Driot nor Alain Prost are in attendance. Driot is yet to attend a race this season but is expected to be at the European rounds.

***Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver Nelson Piquet Jr. is sporting panda decals on his helmet in support of the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF works in the field of wilderness preservation, and the reduction of human impact on the environment.

***Dragon Racing has promoted Andrew Hoadley to the position of chief mechanic in the team. Hoadley has previously worked at Lola Cars International and Rebellion Racing and has attended every Formula E race as a Dragon employee.

***DS Virgin drivers Sam Bird and Alex Lynn spent time training with Sanitago-based soccer team Universidad Catolica. The team plays its first game of the season tonight at home to Deportes Temuco.

***Real concerns exists among organizers and teams about the large amount of stray cats and dogs that frequent the Parque Forestal in which the paddock and some of the circuit is located. The organizers are feeding the animals in non-circuit areas in the hope to keep them contained during the sessions.

***A small number of residents opposed to the event caused small-scale disturbances in and around the track on Thursday night. In addition some members of staff from Formula E, suppliers and teams have been threatened on their way in to or away from the circuit.

***Sebastien Buemi and his wife have become parents for the second time, having welcomed son Theo last weekend.

***E-racing365 will be involved in a ‘Driver of the Day’ initiative which will run on the official Formula E Instagram account. We will choose the two standout drivers from the race and fans will then be able to vote which one will be credited as the Driver of the Day.

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 Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tobias Bluhm

    February 3, 2018 at 6:53 am

    Hey Sam, just FYI: The new name of “Atieva” is “Lucid Motors”. Changed their branding in Oct 2016. Same manufacturer, same cars – but new name. 🙂

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