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Berlin Friday Notebook

Sam Smith’s Friday notebook on the eve of the Berlin E-Prix at Tempelhof…

Photo: Nico Rosberg Twitter

***2016 Formula 1 World Champion Nico Rosberg paraded the Gen 2 Formula E car in the center of Berlin on Friday. “It was special,” said Rosberg. “This is my home capital city so to showcase the Gen 2 car past all the landmarks was great. There were a lot of people out there who looked like they had seen a spaceship coming by!”

***HWA CEO Ulrich Fritz has told e-racing365 that no talks have been held with Rosberg about a potential involvement with the team, either in next season’s ABB FIA Formula E Championship or beyond. “We never say no but we have not had any big discussions with Nico on that for sure,” said Fritz.

***Rosberg also said during Friday’s press conference that he has not thought about a potential role as a Formula E team principal in the future.

***E-racing365 has learned that the planned Hainan E-Prix, which was tentatively scheduled for March 2019, is now highly unlikely to happen. It is believed that the proposed location of the circuit on the Chinese island was deemed unsatisfactory to host an event.

***Instead, both Shanghai and Singapore are now believed to be the favorites to take up the March slot on the Season Five calendar. A 13-race schedule is still believed to be the provisional target.

***Valencia has come back into the frame for a 2018-19 pre-season test. The run is initially penciled in for the week beginning Oct. 15, but will likely not start until the Tuesday to accommodate drivers competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship at Fuji on the preceding weekend.

*** Susie Wolff’s ‘Dare To Be Different’ initiative was held at the Berlin Tempelhof circuit on Friday. One hundred local schoolgirls aged between eight and 14 took part in various activities including technical workshops, karting and a guided tour of the pits. The event also included a meet and greet with Nico Rosberg.

*** Wolff is believed to have been approached by a Formula E team for a potential senior role and is thought to be involved in negotiations. Should an agreement be made, e-racing365 understands that a possible announcement is likely for the Zurich E-Prix next month.

***E-racing365 understands that Carlo Boutagy, the founder of the Formula 1 Fan Zone business, is likely to be involved in the promotion of the first Riyadh E-Prix, which was confirmed on Thursday.

***FIA technical director Gilles Simon told e-racing365 that he doesn’t believe brake-by-wire technology, which debuts next season, will have a big impact on the drivers. “The point was to try and catch a little more regeneration because right now we don’t have enough, and the only way to have a lighter battery was to find more regenerative power so that is where we are with it,” said Simon.

***Andre Lotterer reckons he can make progress from wherever he starts on the grid after receiving a ten-place penalty for causing a final-corner collision involving Sam Bird last time out in Paris. “It will make my life a bit harder depending on where I qualify but apparently it is a track you can overtake on,” said Lotterer.

***Maro Engel believes that a slight change to Turn 6, which sees the track length extended by almost 100 meters, will aid overtaking. “Now it’s a much straighter approach but we’ll see,” said Engel. “It should make an opportunity a little easier to execute.”

***Jerome d’Ambrosio wouldn’t be drawn on where he could be racing in Season Five when asked by e-racing365. The Belgian, who is an ever-present in Formula E for Dragon Racing, is understood to be a free agent at the end of the present campaign.

***E-racing365 understands that the planned ‘dress rehearsal’ test to run through a new race day format could be brought forward from its tentatively planned date at the end of October. It is possible that the rehearsal will only simulate the Season Five format and not an entire race day scenario.

***Immediate plans for an E-Prix in the UK city of Birmingham have been dismissed by city councilor Ian Ward, who told the BBC that West Midlands mayor Andy Street had “raced ahead of himself.” Ward went on to state that “the people of Birmingham would need to be consulted and any announcement before we have heard the views of citizens is premature.”

***Interested visitors in the paddock included Volker Strycek, who is the former head of motorsport at Opel and currently involved in the development of the German brand’s high-performance OPC models, and ex-Mercedes boss Norbert Haug.

***Formula E has launched a new competition for “bright young innovators”, in association with series partner Modis. The successful applicant will “design, implement and oversee a whole new software platform for the series” to be used in the 2019-20 season. Applications are open until July 1, while the winner of the six-month internship role will be announced on July 14.

Daniel Lloyd and Rene de Boer 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

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