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Hong Kong Friday Notebook

Sam Smith’s Friday notebook from the first day of the Hong Kong E-Prix weekend…

Photo: Sam Smith

***E-racing365 can reveal that a potential introduction of a minimum driver weight for Season Six is believed to have been discussed at last week’s Technical Working Group meeting in Geneva.

***Formula 1 currently employs a 80 kg complete driver weight rule and Formula E could be set to follow suit next season. Some Formula E drivers have recently called for such a rule, as some have been forced into radical diets and extreme training and sauna sessions.

***Next season’s technical regulations were completed last week. Teams had until the end of February to notify the FIA about their new powertrain designs before official homologation in June.

***Sebastien Buemi is believed to have recently re-signed to Nissan e.dams for next season. E-racing365 reported last month that the Season Two champion was likely to remain at the Japanese-entered, French-based squad for a further campaign.

***As well as DS Techeetah testing its 2019-20 powertrain at Calafat late last month, Jerome d’Ambrosio was also in action for Mahindra Racing. Teams have 15 days of private testing to use before Sept. 30.

***The issues regarding the policing of pass allocations highlighted by e-racing365 last month has continued at Hong Kong. Teams are being asked to limit blue designated team pass holders to just four personnel per garage this weekend.

***Intrigue and speculation as to the specific technical setup of the current Nissan e.dams cars has reached a significant level in recent races. Several rival drivers have commented directly to e-racing365 about the impressive drive of the cars, particularly out of low speed corners such as the two chicanes at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

***E-racing365 revealed last year that the Nissan e.dams IM01 is understood to feature a unique twin-MGU system. The team is believed to be using the UK-based Integral Powertrain company as a key supplier to its powertrain.

***Integral Powertrain has strong links with McLaren Applied Technologies with which it worked closely on the e-axle, named the Combined Traction Unit (or CTU-400) for road car usage.

***Formula E co-founder Alberto Longo held a meeting in Seoul on Tuesday with the Mayor of the South Korean capital Park Won-soon. In addition to the official promoter of the planned race JSM Holdings, the meeting was also attended by Chairman of the Korean Olympic Committee, Lee Kee-heung. Seoul is set to host its first ever Formula E race next March.

***Talks between Alex Lynn’s management team and Panasonic Jaguar Racing are still ongoing regarding a possible future role with the team. E-racing365 revealed last month that Lynn was invited to the in-season test in Mexico but could not attend due to a prior Aston Martin Racing commitment.

***Nelson Piquet Jr.’s crashed Jaguar I-Type 3 monocoque was sent to Dallara in Italy straight after the Mexico City E-Prix for evaluation. The team is understood to have initially thought the tub was undamaged but further analysis discovered some front bulkhead damage. It currently remains unclear on whether the monocoque can be used again.

***Michelin’s Serge Grisin says that the trend of some drivers electing to use just one set of tires for the duration of an E-Prix weekend will again be evidenced in Hong Kong this weekend. “It is quite possible we will see drivers opt to use only half their allotted tire allocation, a move we have already seen since the beginning of Season Five,” Grisin told e-racing365.

***Envision Virgin Racing chairman Franz Jung says that Envision is still evaluating whether it will become a future powertrain manufacturer in its own right.

***“Everything is possible, nothing is impossible, including going in this direction” Jung told e-racing365. “At the moment we see this as a learning process, seeing how others do things, increasing our understanding and what we can take from this experience.”

***Lucas di Grassi has countered any criticism of the end of the Mexico City E-Prix which saw some cars either managing critical energy levels or, in Nissan e.dams’ case, run completely out.

***“I think many, many times in the history of motorsport people run out of fuel. Remember the turbo days in F1?” di Grassi told e-racing365. “You have to manage what you have and you have and you have to take risks and margins and that’s what I say to people.

“My energy didn’t run out. We did the job that we had to do and, of course, if you try to win and you’re not managing energy. You see what happened with Wehrlein.”

***Venturi technical chief Franck Baldet travelled straight to Hong Kong from the site of Venturi’s Antarctica project testing in British Colombia this week. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, Prince Albert of Monaco, Venturi’s North American president Xavier Chevrin and CEO Gildo Pastor were all in attendance at the testing.

***The project is seeking to make available zero-emissions transport to be operated in extreme conditions to the scientific community in the harsh environment of the continent.

***The BBC will show its first ever live E-Prix this weekend with coverage being shown on BBC 2 from 7.30 a.m. GMT on Sunday. Jennie Gow and sometime NIO tester Jamie Chadwick will present coverage of the race as part of BBC’s deal with Formula E to broadcast races throughout its various platforms this season.

***Former Minardi F1 driver Alex Yoong will be the FIA drivers’ steward this weekend. The Malaysian previously served in the role at the 2018 Santiago E-Prix.

***In addition to its announcement with new partner Acronis, DS Techeetah announced another deal today after entering into a partner agreement with AFEX, one of the world’s largest non-bank providers of foreign payment solutions.

***“As an international racing team operating globally, we’re always dealing in various currencies throughout the year so to have a partner on board that can facilitate and ease our transactions is really fantastic,” said DS Techeetah Chief Commercial Officer, Keith Smout. “We are focused on winning on track but also building our Business to Business platform.”

***The Jaguar I-PACE won the Car of the Year award at the European Car of the Year awards at the Geneva International Motor Show last week. Jaguar Land Rover’s director of design Ian Callum received the award from the COTY president Frank Janssen on Monday.

***Carlos Ghosn, the former head of Nissan and Renault, has been released from custody in Japan after being detained for three months on suspicion of financial misconduct. Ghosn was freed on a $9 million bail but is not allowed to fly out of the country.

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 from 2014-17. Contact Sam

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    March 8, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Sam, I recently came across this page and I like it so far, put it to my RSS feed, so coming back regularly.
    I would like to let you know that these notebook articles are great, but I hate the format with those ***. It is really hard to read, please consider better formatting.

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