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Concerns Raised Over ‘Mission Control’ Use

The FIA is looking closely at limiting the use of data transfer and ‘mission control’ facilities….

Photo: Formula E

The use of so-called ‘mission control’ facilities by manufacturers needs to be addressed now before it becomes “extremely difficult” to stop, according to BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt.

Marquardt told e-racing365 that he would be happy to ensure remote data transferring and strategy management in real time from bases is not used.

He cited Formula 1’s propensity to engage large teams to remotely manage, validate and influence races as an added resource that Formula E could do without.

“I think they had a TV show the other day where there were 50 people at Mercedes HQ in Formula 1 back at their base [during a Grand Prix],” said Marquardt.

“It is the kind of thing we need to look closely at the attractiveness for the spectators and the people, because we are, at the end of the day, doing it for the people.

“Honestly speaking if we do things that are invisible to them, that absorb really huge amounts of money and resources I don’t think that we are doing the right thing.”

E-racing365 understands that several Formula E entrants used small-scale remote teams last season, to try to maximize how races are run.

Facilities such as full track replay, seven-post test rigs, software simulations and powertrain data analysis are believed to have all been utilized by some manufacturers.

BMW Would Support Mission Control Ban

Marquardt says that BMW supports Formula E’s emphasis on cost-effectiveness and its willingness to cap areas of technical development until at least the Gen 3 era.

However, it remains to be seen precisely how the FIA could police such a ban on manufacturers running remote teams during events.

BMW is known to have capabilities at its base that can house a significant number of people to engage with the race team in real-time.

“If it has already started and you want to go somewhere else, when the plane has already left I think that it is going to be extremely difficult,” said Marquardt.

“But if something like that [a ban] comes into place then I would be definitely supporting it.”

E-racing365 understands that all current entrants have at least some option for running a ‘mission control’ program and do use it.

With a limit of 20 on-site operational staff allowed for each entrant, the extra teams working back at manufacturer headquarters are known to be attractive and beneficial.

“Yes, we have a system like that available to us, not at all to the extent that some others do,” said Marquardt.

“For some test events it is really helpful that you can be more efficient and also on some races when you have a very short format you can be more effective like that.”

E-racing365 believes the FIA is currently discussing options on how to limit and police the transfer of data and of extra personnel working for teams.

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 Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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