HWA Racelab’s head of Formula E operations says the team’s public debut in Valencia earlier this month will strengthen the Mercedes-affiliated squad’s preparation ahead of its maiden campaign in the all-electric series.
Franco Chiocchetti believes that, despite several problems during the test, the team will be on target for a competitive debut in December.
The team completed 544 miles at Valencia, with race drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Gary Paffett, as well as recently announced test and reserve driver Daniel Juncadella.
“It was the first of everything for us, but we are reasonably content with how things went,” Chiocchetti told e-racing365.
“The preparation went fine but it was hard. The test was tough and we had a lot of issues but it is nothing we cannot solve.”
Although Chiocchetti attended the Berlin, Zurich and New York races with the Venturi team last season, the Ad Diriyah season opener in December will be the first time he has been actively involved in a senior engineering position since the Marrakesh E-Prix last January.
He was immediately tasked with the role of leading the German operation’s Formula E program and spent the summer organizing the team and attending the private test days afforded to powertrain supplier Venturi.
“We are coming here with a very experienced motorsport team but not an experienced Formula E team,” said Chiocchetti.
“Even if the cars have changed from Gen 1 to Gen 2 the basic principles of how to work with the car, operate certain systems, et cetera, has not changed.”
Chiocchetti also emphasized his and the team’s determination to ensure it can become a force in Formula E as it gears up to become a full Mercedes entry at the end of 2019.
“We are racers and I am a racer, so you never really are happy,” he said.
“You always want to be better and you always want more to strengthen everything. That’s what really makes people that work in this sport.”
HWA, Venturi “Complement Each Other”
Chiocchetti expressed his opinion that Venturi and HWA have a useful mix of attributes as they embark on their second season under their official partnership but their first as defined supplier and customer.
“Venturi has a wealth of Formula E experience which is an area where we do not have a lot of experience,” he said.
“They don’t have as much pure motorsport experience as HWA has, so I think the mix we have is quite a nice one.
“We’ve been able to bring the racing part and they’ve been able to bring their Formula E expertise, so we complement each other very well.”
HWA Racelab is expected to undertake a filming day for further system checks next month ahead of making its Formula E debut in December at the first round in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 15.