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Audi Project Leader: New Cars Still a “Big Challenge”

Audi’s Tristan Summerscale says that the new cars will still be a challenge for the drivers….

Photo: Audi

The new ABB FIA Formula E Championship cars are still a challenge to drive despite several new technical elements that have been deemed drivers’ aids, according to Audi’s Formula E project leader.

Audi Sport’s Tristan Summerscale believes that the new race format, combined with the cars’ deliberate lack of downforce, still tasks drivers with a unique challenge.

“If you listen to the driver comments now, the cars are still difficult to drive and a big challenge,” Summerscale told e-racing365.

“The tires are still very tricky to understand and utilize properly, so for the engineers and most importantly the drivers, it is still a tough discipline to get right.”

Summerscale also thinks that the new cars’ active braking on the rear axle still offers some volatility for the drivers and that the strength in depth of the field will make for a natural tightening up of the order.

“There is still some unpredictability with the brakes with regard to the active system we will run,” he said.

“The lack of downforce compared to conventional race cars means it is still a big challenge for a team, especially as you have limited personnel.

“The standard has gone up hugely again so for me the field will close up and the gap between the first and the last will be closer.

“It will be super important to concentrate on the little details as always in Formula E. It looks like it will be even more competitive, which is great for the championship and its image.”

Envision Virgin Benefits from Audi Test Share

Envision Virgin Racing drivers Sam Bird and Robin Frijns both drove the development Audi e-tron FE05 in Germany last month.

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler allowed the drivers to sample the development car which was used by Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt throughout the private testing phase.

The German manufacturer was entitled to a total of 22 test days, seven more than teams that didn’t supply powertrains to customers.

“They ran the test car for a few days at our track in Neuburg. As we saw last year with Techeetah, having no testing doesn’t mean you can’t be up there fighting for results,” confirmed Summerscale.

Formula E returnee Robin Frijns believes that despite some software problems during the Valencia test, the Audi package will be strong for Envision Virgin Racing.

“The package looks pretty strong and we have been testing for a couple of days with Audi,” said Frijns.

“Today (Tuesday of Valencia test) we had some issues here and there because as everyone knows there is a lot of software in the car and to get everything running smoothly it is not that easy sometimes.”

E-racing365 believes that Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is planning to use one of its five allocated filming days prior to shipping cars to Riyadh on Nov. 20.

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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