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Cautious Praise from Competitors on New Car

The new ‘Gen 2’ Formula E car has been met with a variety of opinions by competitors after being digitally launched today…

Image: Formula E

The new ‘Gen 2’ Formula E car has been met with a variety of opinions by competitors after being digitally launched today.

The striking new model is set to run for at least three seasons between 2018 and 2021 and feature some notable departures from a traditional single-seater design.

However, some have expressed an opinion to e-racing365 that the car doesn’t go far enough in matching up to the expectations of the second generation car.

Mahindra’s Nick Heidfeld shared some of these reservations but said he would wait for his ultimate opinion to form after driving the car.

“If I am honest I think they could have gone further in the design,” said Heidfeld ahead of today’s unveil.

“I think from what I have seen it looks cool in some areas but I think not having a rear-wing takes some getting used to. I can’t say I like this too much and it obviously means less identity for the actual team partners, colors, etc,”

“Overall, at least it is different and distinctive. I will reserve more judgment until I have driven one of these cars,” he said.

DS Virgin driver Alex Lynn told e-racing365 he was “excited about the new package as a whole”, adding: “I think the extra power and brake-by-wire will make drivers be more on the limit.

“I think being able to attack the car and race track more than we do now will be great for us and the fans too.

The large diffuser on the rear of the car is familiar to Lynn who will drive an Aston Martin Vantage GTE-Pro car, which has a similar feature to the ‘Gen 2’ car, in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

“Ground-effects are the best way of producing closer racing I believe,” said Lynn.

“Naturally as the cars get faster there will be more aerodynamic wake so if we can reduce that by having some good downforce coming from the floor it should also improve the show.

“I think a big diffuser looks cool too so I think it is a big positive.”

Most drivers were publically effusive in their praise of the new car on social media, including recent Formula 1 racer Felipe Massa.

Brake-by-Wire Needs Caution, says DS Performance Tech Boss

DS Performance Director Xavier Mestelan-Pinon believes that the new car is an overall aesthetic improvement on the existing model, but has also stated that the design “could have had a better shape.”

“Everyone can say they like or dislike it but I am sure that once they see it on the track they will [like it],” said Mestelan-Pinon.

“Maybe we could have had a better shape but it is a good start and much better than the current shape. But I really want to see it run on track first.”

Mestelan-Pinon also believes that despite the extra power at drivers disposal, the new package will ultimately be easier to handle.

“I think it will be easier [for the drivers] because everyone knows the series now,” he said.

“The geometry, the center of gravity and weight distribution will be different but the brake-by-wire system will also be very important.

But Mestelan-Pinon warned that the advance of brake-by-wire systems, which are being developed by manufacturers, could detract from some of the challenges of Formula E.

“We need to be careful about systems like the brake-by-wire,” explained Mestelan-Pinon. “We need to be sure that the cars look aggressive on the track. It is good for the drivers and engineers but it can kill ‘the show’.”

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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