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Bern Thursday Notebook

Sam Smith’s Thursday notebook from the paddock of the second Swiss E-Prix…

Photo: Sam Smith

***Ford’s Motorsport Director Mark Rushbrook has told e-racing365 that the Blue Oval is still weighing up what, if any, electric program it pursues in the future. The company officially ceased its Ford GT project at Le Mans last weekend.

“We want to be racing in an [all]-electric series but it’s got to be the right series,” said Rushbrook. “That doesn’t mean we’ll go jump into one that [already] exists. Part of it is waiting to see how those evolve or what other new ones that are in the works actually become a reality.”

***Rushbrook also stated that there was no further news on Ford’s possible activation of a Formula E project. The U.S. manufacturer has had discussions with existing entrants in the series including GEOX Dragon.

“No update,” said Rushbrook. “We try to influence all of those [series/discussions] to go in the direction that we want them to so they’re real options. Otherwise they are not options.”

***E-racing365 understands that a reduction in private manufacturer testing is set to be confirmed for the 2020-21 season. The regulation will also state that a 12-hour maximum is in place rather than a general ‘day’ stipulation.

***James Calado says that Formula E would be a “good option” for him in the future after recently testing the Jaguar I-Type 3. E-racing365 reported earlier this month that Calado was tested both the simulator and at two circuits as Panasonic Jaguar Racing continues to assess who will partner Mitch Evans next season.

“The car is good to drive and it suits my style a lot, and so far it’s gone really well,” Calado told e-racing365. “We’ll see for next year. It would be a good option to do Formula E as I see it improving in the future, and we’ll see where we are then.”

***Jaguar continued its 2019-20 testing last week with Evans completing two days of running at the Blyton test facility in Lincolnshire, UK. The team’s other current race driver Alex Lynn, who was on Aston Martin Racing duty at Le Mans, is expected to conduct some test work early next month.

***Mahindra Racing spent two days testing at Calafat last week with both Pascal Wehrlein and Jerome d’Ambrosio carrying out further pre-homologation testing with the Anglo-Indian team’s Season Six challenger.

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler also ran at the same venue last week and completed a full day of testing with Daniel Abt in the cockpit. Both Lucas di Grassi and Abt are scheduled to test again in the coming weeks.

***NIO tested at length after an initial shakedown run in the UK earlier this month. Tom Dillmann got his first run with some of the Season Six powertrain components in the NIO test car. Oliver Turvey was on promotional tour of New York City ahead of next month’s season finale double-header.

***Porsche continued its test program in the first week of June with both Neel Jani and Brendon Hartley adding miles to its development test car at the Majorca test facility. The German manufacturer is accruing days ahead of its first ever homologation run.

***Porsche’s decision on who will join Jani in the team has still not taken place and is unlikely to be made before the end of July. E-racing365 understands that it will simulator test at least two prospective drivers this month as it continues to evaluate possible drivers for its second seat.

***E-racing365 understands that the FIA is looking at using torque sensors to tighten up its policing of power management and limit rules in the near future. Suspicions have been raised on numerous occasions this season that teams have been one step ahead with software programs that have been rumoured to produce systems the equivalent of traction control.

***Gary Paffett believes that the extra 10 kW of Attack Mode boost which was recently sanctioned for use in next season’s races is much-needed.

“We have found it a challenge to overtake even on Attack Mode,” Paffett told e-racing365. “It is all geared to try and improve overtaking and we have seen this season that for whatever reason overtaking has been tougher than in other seasons. But there are still circuits where you can’t overtake on, like Paris.”

***GEOX Dragon driver Jose Maria Lopez says that a combination of mistakes from himself and the team have contributed to the poor points haul accrued this season.

“Some little mistakes for me, some mistakes for the team. It’s been a difficult season,” Lopez told e-racing365. “We are working hard, and I really hope that in these last three races that we can have the opportunity to show the potential that we have had sometimes.”

***A recent change in Oliver Rowland’s management structure has seen Nelson Piquet Jr.’s manager Steve Hewett join the Brit’s existing team as a key management advisor.

***Rowland is managed by Black Castle Sport Management, which also provides services for Williams Formula 1 driver George Russell. Black Castle founder Richard Diaz has been instrumental in Rowland’s career for several years.

***Sebastien de Chaunac, ABB’s head of communications and brand activation, will leave the company after the New York City Prix next month. The son of ORECA founder Hughes de Chaunac and a former professional tennis player joined the company from Rolex in April 2018.

***A large amount of Bern residents who live within the parameters of the circuit have been given free tickets to the event and a guided paddock walk of the Bern site.

***A pressure group named SP Bern Nord is planning to hold a demonstration lap around the track this week. The group has published material on social media under the headline of “Pull the Plug on Formula E”. The same group expressed similar sentiments at last season’s Zurich E-Prix.

***Toyota has announced that it will partner with Subaru to create an electric-powered chassis to be known as the e-TNGA. The product will feature fixed attachment areas for battery packs and electric motors. However, all other engineered areas of the vehicles can be fitted to meet the needs of the market.

***Mahindra’s new podcast Straight Torque episode is available for download. The latest episode features team principal Dilbagh Gill and his drivers Jerome d’Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein grilling Formula E TV commentator Jack Nicholls and e-racing365’s Sam Smith. Listen here.

***Roborace has confirmed an extension to its partnership with Michelin in the innovative series. The French company will continue to supply tires for the range of autonomous vehicle platforms which are designed, developed and operated by Roborace.

***As first reported by e-racing365 in April, the nascent Extreme E series has announced that the prototype electric SUV style car it will use for its maiden season in 2021 will make its first public appearance at the Goodwood Festival of Speed next month.

John Dagys and Jake Kilshaw 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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