Formula E co-commentator Dario Franchitti believes that the electric championship will offer a different challenge to drivers this season as it debuts the much heralded Gen 2 car.
Franchitti, who along with lead commentator Jack Nicholls has been calling Formula E races since the very first event in 2014, told e-racing365 that the feedback he has received from drivers indicates a more popular car to drive.
“What I have heard from speaking to the guys who have driven the car against the Gen 1 car is that it’s maybe more of an intuitive racing car, so it’s more like driving a [traditional] racing car,” said Franchitti.
“The Gen 1 car was very much out on its own, in terms of what it needed, how it drove that sort of thing,” said Franchitti.
“So I think the new car is more like a normal racing car despite it not looking like it, so that should make things interesting.
Despite its unique aesthetics, Franchitti says that the car will be more familiar to drive for the drivers largely due to the active braking system on the rear axle.
“It’s starting to come out over the off-season just how important both the active braking and the software updates are. These are crucial areas for the teams,” he said.
“Formula E is really a mental challenge for the drivers. I don’t think that is to be underestimated and this season it will crank up another level as the championship grow and grows.
“It’s a different tire again and that’s obviously going to be a key topic and you will have to get the new chassis to work.
“There’s going to be little tricks here and there, the usual stuff really. What do the aerodynamics like, does it like a lot of rake, does it like a low ride-height, latest springs, how do the dampers work, etc.
“it is just going to be incredibly intense and It will be utterly fascinating to see who comes out on top.”
Vandoorne Out to “Prove Several Points”
Franchitti believes that the Season Five crop of drivers contains “no weak links” and that the standard is higher than it has ever been.
The three-time Indy 500 winner thinks that drivers are coming to Formula E now to prove points and to enhance their reputations in one of the strongest fields in world motorsport.
Several new drivers to Formula E will debut in Saudi Arabia this weekend with the highest profile ‘rookies’ being Stoffel Vandoorne and Felipe Massa at HWA Racelab and Venturi, respectively.
“Vandoorne is a driver I rate incredibly highly and he’s going to want to prove several points after the last few seasons obviously,” said Franchitti.
“Felipe Massa is coming in and he is going to want to prove something too I guess.
“I think it is harder as you get a bit older, but I think Felipe has all the talent to do it. The big question will be if he’s still got the will.”