Pedro de la Rosa says Techeetah’s new partnership with DS Automobiles is making a “massive difference” behind the scenes as the team prepares to defend its ABB FIA Formula E Championship drivers’ title.
The DS Techeetah sporting and technical advisor told e-racing365 that additional resources now available to the Chinese squad will accelerate the development of its DS E-Tense FE. 19 car.
Techeetah formed a partnership with French constructor DS after winning the Season Four drivers’ crown with Jean-Eric Vergne as a Renault customer operation.
It has retained both Vergne and three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer as its drivers for the new campaign, which gets underway in Saudi Arabia on Dec. 15.
“We’re working with such a strong OEM, we have to be close to them [DS],” De la Rosa told e-racing365.
“The first decision that was taken was that we have to be under the same roof with them. It makes a massive difference, taking decisions on development and general efficiency of the team.
“They [DS] have a great simulator, great laboratories where we can work together on many areas that we hadn’t explore before because we were a private team.
“This gives us the opportunity to develop the car a lot quicker.”
The former McLaren, Arrows and Jaguar F1 driver also thinks that the introduction of the Gen 2 car has made it difficult to identify a teams’ hierarchy going into Season Five.
“This is a new partnership, we’re extremely excited,” he said.
“I think it’s very important for us, coming from a private team. It allows us to do a lot more things that we weren’t able to because of the regulations.
“However, we know that it’s a challenge as well and we’re not sure how competitive we will be because it’s a new generation of car.”
Formula E “The Right Place to Be” Now
De la Rosa admitted that he was initially skeptical about the all-electric formula before he began his role with Techeetah earlier this year.
However, the Spaniard said the fact he now spends the majority of his professional life in Formula E rather than F1 demonstrates how the former is beginning to come of age.
“When Formula E started, I didn’t want to join. I thought it’s not going to develop but now I want to come to Formula E,” he said.
“This also sends a message. I had been a Formula 1 guy all my life and now I believe that the right place to be is Formula E because it’s growing, and manufacturers are coming in.
“It is extremely interesting to see how it’s changing and will change. This is what I like about Formula E. I love the fact that drivers can make a difference as well.
“The racing is extremely close and there is no clear dominating driver.”
Piotr Magdziarz contributed to this report.