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Ad Diriyah Thursday Notebook

Sam Smith’s Thursday notebook from Ad Diriyah in Saudi Arabia…

Photo: e-racing365

***E-racing365 understands that Nissan e.dams has acquired one of Toyota Gazoo Racing’s data engineers. Alfonso Calabia has previously worked closely with Nissan e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi in the FIA World Endurance Championship and is set to officially join the team in early 2019.

***Ferrari Academy driver Calum Ilott is likely to take part in the Marrakesh rookie test in January, e-racing365 can reveal. The British racer, who finished third in GP3 this year, is understood to have recently confirmed a deal to take part in the test on Jan. 13.

***Ilott’s fellow Ferrari Academy member, Antonio Fuoco, is also expected to take part in the Marrakesh test in his capacity as GEOX Dragon Racing’s official development driver.

***A third driver in contention for Marrakesh is GP3 race winner Jake Hughes. The 24-year-old Englishman sampled Formula E during a brief test for the NIO team in Spain earlier this year. He is believed to be in discussions with at least two teams.

***Sam Bird thinks the Season Five race format and new hardware could result in some quirky races. “I can imagine that we are going to have some races this year where some might be left having to get to the finish on the ‘Get Home’ power situation,” he told e-racing365.

***HWA has revealed Gary Paffett and Stoffel Vandoorne’s engineers for its maiden Formula E campaign. Wilmar Franssen, who worked with Daniel Juncadella in DTM this season and also worked briefly for Dragon in 2015, will take charge of Vandoorne. Marius Meier-Diedrich, who worked in DTM with Lucas Auer this season, will engineer reigning DTM champion Paffett on the other side of the garage.

***HWA has utilized Venturi’s simulator in Monaco ahead of the Ad Diriyah E-Prix this weekend. “HWA have their own simulators and we worked together for the first race,” Venturi technical director Franck Baldet told e-racing365. “This is because we need to teach them how our software is working.”

***The drivers in Season Five will be just as busy in the cockpit despite the introduction of brake-by-wire systems to all cars. “Even if the electronic braking is easier, we are still busy in the cockpit because you are checking the dash all the time, almost every corner on energy consumption and temperatures,” Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara told e-racing365.

***Jamie Chadwick prepared for her test in Riyadh by undertaking laps in a Season Four NIO car at the Calafat Circuit in Spain at the end of November. The British F3 race winner will join regular drivers Tom Dillmann and Oliver Turvey in the test on Sunday.

***Mahindra’s new signing Jerome d’Ambrosio believes that the undulation of the Ad Diriyah circuit will make a difference to overtaking opportunities. “The up and down nature will be a slight benefit when following cars because it gives you a better slipstream effect,” the Belgian told e-racing365.

***Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag visited Russia last month to attend a special business forum with Russian president Vladimir Putin. The event was staged in St Petersburg, which is known to be one of two possible options for Formula E to return to the country after it hosted a race in Moscow three years ago.

***The DS Techeetah team traveled to Sarajevo recently where it displayed one of its Season Five show cars. The capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina has ambitions to host an E-Prix in the future but has not yet reached the official feasibility study stage, which is conducted by Formula E Operations staff.

***The Audi e-tron FE04 will be demonstrated at the Ice Race in Zell am See, Austria later this month. The event will also see one of the legendary Auto Unions and Audi Sport Quattro Group B rally cars run at the event.

***Mahindra Racing has opened a partnership with Shell for the coming season. The two companies will work on the joint development of lubricants and fluids for electric vehicles.

***Commenting on the deal, Mahindra CEO and team principal Dilbagh Gill said, “We are thrilled to have Shell onboard as it will help us explore powerful opportunities in the area of lubricant technology and engineering, the results of which will be visible on and off the race track.”

***Arabia-based airline Saudia has wrapped one of its Boeing 777-300 carriers in a special Formula E livery, in recognition of its long-term partnership with the championship.

***UK-based company Tonik Energy has partnered with BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver Alexander Sims to champion renewable energy and electric mobility. The collaboration aims to promote and educate on the benefits of renewable energy for homes, workplaces, businesses and the public sector.

***Simona de Silvestro, who competed in Formula E with Andretti in Season Two, has become a global ambassador for the ABB company. “We are delighted to welcome Simona De Silvestro as a new ABB ambassador of Formula E,” said Frank Muehlon, head of ABB’s global electric vehicle charging infrastructure. “As a seasoned racing driver in several motorsports, she is an ideal person to champion the power and potential of e-mobility.”

***Faraday Future, the former technical partner of Dragon Racing, is reportedly close to bankruptcy and collapse according to several media outlets. The South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday that the brainchild of Faraday Future, Jia Yueting, has had his 33% stake in the company frozen.

***Showers are expected throughout race day on Saturday. E-racing365 understands that only three of the teams have tested the Gen 2 car on a fully wet circuit in private testing, including Venturi which completed some wet running at the Ales test track in September.

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. Avatar


    December 13, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Great to have the Notebooks back – always a great insight

  2. Avatar


    December 13, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Keep the good work Sam. Hope to read more notes during this race weekend.

  3. Avatar

    Old Trombone

    December 13, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Thanks E-R365, Thanks Sam Smith, Thanks John Dagys, your work is fantastic!

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