While confident it could fight for victory in the first round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship, DS Techeetah admitted its race-dominating pace was a surprise in Saturday’s Ad Diriyah E-Prix.
Having built a comfortable lead early in the 45-minute plus one-lap race, Jean-Eric Vergne’s race was turned upside down when the Frenchman was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for a technical infringement.
The newly formed partnership, which has combined DS Automobiles with Techeetah, showed a significant pace advantage, which according to technical manager Xavier Mestelan-Pinon came as a bit of a surprise.
“We actually expected to fight for the victory because we believed we would be quick from the start, but not like today, so it was a little surprise yes,” Mestelan-Pinon, told e-racing365.
“Clearly for the job we did for this race it was really important to before the race itself with a completely new car.
Mestelan-Pinon referenced its in-house developed brake-by-wire system as part of the pace advantage shown, with the Chinese-flagged squad one of only two teams not utilizing the customer LSP system this season.
“We took the decision to go this way with brake-by-wire system because we consider that we can do better than what we can buy,” he said.
“I don’t know if we are the best on this point but we have a lot of experience in World Rally and what we did in the past.
“We did many systems like ABS and ESP in 2005 and 2006 time, so we have good knowledge which has been a benefit for sure.
“The brake-by-wire is a part of the package though and not the outstanding key only.”
Software-Related Power Spike Costs Victory
Mestelan-Pinon said a software-related error on both Vergne and Andre Lotterer’s DS E-TENSE FE19 cars cost the team a likely 1-2 finish.
From 100% to 75% state of charge the new McLaren Applied Technologies battery has a rating phase of power that shouldn’t be breached from the parameters set out in the Formula E Season 5 Battery Software Implementation Guide. This was issued by MAT to all Manufacturers and Teams in October.
DS Techeetah’s pace advantage, however, was such that Vergne fought back through the pack to trail winner Antonio Felix da Costa by just 0.462 seconds at the checkered flag.
“It was a silly mistake on the re-gen and it is our mistake. We saw it with a lot of people during the weekend,” said Mestelan-Pinon.
“It was a tiny spike and no advantage but these are the rules and we had to serve the penalty so this is a big disappointment for the drivers.”