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Berlin Thursday Notebook

Sam Smith’s notebook from setup day at the Berlin E-Prix….

Photo: Audi Sport

*** FIA technical chief Gilles Simon has told e-racing365 that he is targeting to confirm the Gen 3 ABB FIA Formula E Championship car concept in the fall. “We have different options, but the big concept is not yet fixed so it is in discussion and we will speak of that later,” said Simon. “I believe we should have the concept by the end of this [championship] year, maybe September, October time.”

***The latest round of Technical and Sporting Working Group meetings took place earlier this month in Geneva. The race format for Season Five is believed to have been completely agreed and will now be formalized for a written set of regulations before going to the FIA for approval and ratification.

***2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg will demonstrate the Gen 2 car in Berlin’s city center on Friday, following a route that passes near the iconic Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie areas before driving into the paddock at Tempelhof. This run will precede the already announced demonstration planned for Saturday afternoon.

***Formula E CEO and founder Alejandro Agag will sample the new Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY car for the first time during a familiarization session on Friday afternoon. Agag will then conduct a public run on Saturday just prior to the start of the E-Prix.

***Paul di Resta was in the paddock at Tempelhof today visiting Panasonic Jaguar Racing, which he tested with at Marrakesh in January. E-racing365 understands that the Scot is in discussions with some teams about a potential Season Five seat.

***Andretti Formula E has parted company with team manager Rob Arnott, who was with the team since the start of its electric racing program in 2014. The vastly experienced Arnott has previously worked for DAMS in Formula 3000 and the Status Grand Prix outfit in GP2 and GP3.

***Arnott’s role is being jointly filled on an interim basis by team principal Roger Griffiths and chief mechanic Julian Greenhalgh in Berlin.

***Venturi driver Maro Engel will pull double duty this weekend, competing in his home E-Prix before flying immediately over the UK for the Silverstone round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. Engel will share a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the three-hour contest with Yelmer Buurman and Luca Stolz.

***Michelin’s Pilot Sport EV2 tire was one of the key stories of last years’ Berlin races due to the quirky nature of the track surface at Tempelhof airfield. “Berlin is a unique track because of its concrete-based surface which can be quite hard on tires, especially early in the day. It is effectively the hardest-wearing circuit on the calendar,” said Michelin Formula E program manager Serge Grisin.

***HWA CEO Ulrich Fritz, who is the anticipated team principal of the new HWA Formula E team, will not be in attendance at the Berlin E-Prix tomorrow as he is overseeing the team’s involvement in the DTM weekend at Lausitzring. However, several Mercedes executives are expected to attend on Saturday, with HWA’s partnership with the manufacturer’s Season Six entry now confirmed.

***Ex-Formula 1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi will be the Drivers’ Advisor to the Stewards for the next two race weekends at Berlin and Zurich. Alexandre Premat will take duties for the New York City double-header.

***Formula E has scooped the ‘Best Short Film’ at the Positive Planet Foundation awards in Cannes this week. The film depicts a race between Jean-Eric Vergne’s Techeetah Formula E car and a cheetah. Vergne and Alejandro Agag were on hand to receive the award on Tuesday evening.

***13-time Grand Prix winner David Coulthard will sub for Dario Franchitti in the official Formula E commentary box this weekend. Franchitti is busy in his role with Chip Ganassi Racing for practice and qualifying at the Indianapolis 500.

***Coulthard is one of the founders of TV production company Whisper Films, which is owned by UK terrestrial broadcaster Channel 4. Rumors have circulated for several months that Channel 4 will become the main UK broadcasting channel for Formula E in the near future.

***Another ex-F1 driver, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, will also commentate on the Berlin E-Prix this Saturday with the German ARD station. Frentzen sampled a Season One Formula E car at Donington Park in the summer of 2014.

***Well-known model Emily Ratajkowski will be a guest of Formula E at Berlin this weekend. The star of music videos ‘Blurred Lines’ and ‘Love Somebody’ is also believed to be in line to demo a Formula E car.

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 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Old Trombone

    May 18, 2018 at 10:22 am

    A grid girl and Engel has to fly a jet with open-fuel nozzles to get to another race…

    FE, I had hoped your 21stC approach would be all-encompassing. Unfortunately, your 20thC is showing, badly. F1 is a fierce competitor, Liberty’s move to end gender flaunting on the grid is far more subtle a sign of their intent then Agag understands.

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