Michela Cerruti says she learned a number of “risks” with electric cars during her early Formula E career that she can bring to Romeo Ferraris for its new ETCR program.
The Italian competed in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship at its very beginning, racing for the short-lived Trulli Formula E Team in the first four races at Beijing, Putrajaya, Punta del Este and Buenos Aires.
She described this program as a “very bad experience” but one that taught her a number of lessons about the complications of working with electric powertrains.
Cerruti now serves as operations manager for Romeo Ferraris, the independent Italian race car constructor that currently builds the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR and will now develop the electric Alfa Romeo Giulia ETCR.
“I think I know a few risks that is better to avoid and be aware of when you have to deal with electric technology,” she told e-racing365.
“The first thing is that, even if they tell you the engine will be the same for everyone, that it will be easy to run, and ‘Don’t worry, you will have the best assistance ever’, it is technology that you have to never underestimate.
“I have to say that I was part of a very bad experience in Formula E, I was part of a team that, in my opinion, completely underestimated what they were dealing with. The result was a disaster at the end.
“I will make sure that no one is underestimating this at Romeo Ferraris and we will have the people that have the right skills and abilities to work on these cars.
“The overheating problem or weight problem, they are real and to run an electric car is not like running a normal injection engine car. It is something completely different, and I think many people underestimate it.
“Even in Formula E at the beginning, it was like a one-brand championship. The chassis was the same for everyone, the engine was the same for everyone, the battery was the same for everyone, but in the end [some teams had] something working and [others had] something completely not working.”
After her Formula E career that ended in early 2015, Cerruti continued working for Romeo Ferraris and drove the Giulietta TCR in the TCR International Series for a couple of seasons.
While she hasn’t raced electric cars since Formula E, she remained involved with the technology by taking on a role with series sponsor and charging partner Enel.
Romeo Ferraris plans to complete development of its Giulia ETCR in the next couple of months, with testing set to begin in spring.