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Hong Kong Post-Race Notebook

Sam Smith’s post-race notebook after Sunday’s Hong Kong E-Prix…

Photo: Formula E

***Hong Kong E-Prix winner Edoardo Mortara deferred his flight home on Sunday night so he could celebrate his and Venturi’s first ever Formula E race win. “They’ve changed my flight,” Mortara told e-racing365. “We need to celebrate this win with the team!”

***An angry Andre Lotterer disagreed with Sam Bird’s comparison of their penultimate lap incident with his own collision with Jean-Eric Vergne at last year’s Santiago E-Prix.

***“I don’t get that, because I didn’t destroy his car and the circumstances were very different that day so it is not comparable to me,” Lotterer told e-racing365. “Different cars, different race format, there is nothing to compare for me.”

***DS Techeetah protested the amended provisional result on the grounds that Sam Bird’s five-second penalty was “not severe enough”, according to an official bulletin. Several points by both DS Techeetah and Envision Virgin Racing regarding the incident were detailed.

***The protest was dismissed and the stewards detailed that: “the ability to protest the provisional results should not be used by a competitor in a manner so to circumvent the regulations where certain penalties are not subject to appeal.”

***Lucas di Grassi said it is “too early” to make any significant championship predictions. “It’s too early in the championship,” he told e-racing365. “Of course, Sam [Bird] will be there. [Jerome] d’Ambrossio also has a good car, [Pascal] Wehrlein, Edo [Mortara] is doing a good job. You just have to do your own races at this stage. We have two more races than last year.”

***Di Grassi made his 29th podium appearance from 50 starts in Hong Kong. The Brazilian has actually appeared 31 times on podiums but two of these at Berlin in Season One and at Mexico City in Season Two were later retracted due to disqualifications.

***Sebastien Buemi said that there “there was nothing, no touch” by Robin Frijns after something on his rear suspension broke, leading to a third consecutive race retirement. It was initially believed that Frijns had tagged the back of the Nissan IM01 while pair were battling for sixth position.

***“We are investigating, we know,” Buemi told e-racing365. “I could already hear a bit of noise [from the suspension] three laps before. We know what happened, it’s suspension and it will not happen again.”

***Oliver Turvey claimed his and NIO’s second points-scoring position after a relatively incident-free race.

***“Qualifying was a struggle for us but we never give in,” Turvey told e-racing365. “I had a really good first lap and managed to get up to 13th and gave us the chance of points after we kept out of trouble.”

***Gary Paffett took HWA Racelab’s first racing points in Formula E with 8th position yesterday but the British driver was slightly disappointed after slipping down the order from fourth position on the starting grid.

***”We were not able to gain any experience in the dry here, which made it a tough race,” said Paffett. “However, we made it to the finish, I scored my first points in Formula E, and the team also picked up its first points.

***Mahindra suffered a disastrous weekend with both Jerome d’Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein eliminated after they were caught up in Felipe Nasr’s accident on the second lap.

***“It was ridiculous, this guy Nasr had something wrong with his car, it was obvious,” d’Ambrosio told e-racing365. “He needs to get a penalty for the next race because two cars are out for nothing. It is just poor standards from him and also the team who should have reacted to his issue.”

***”It was a snowball effect,” Nasr told e-racing365 when asked about the accident from his perspective. “Until then, lap one I just had contact from everywhere and then, the front wing just went underneath my car. I braked for Turn 2 and I went straight into the barriers.”

***Nelson Piquet Jr. continued his run of poor results after retiring from the race with suspension damage from contact. The Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver has now logged just two points scoring positions in the last 12 Formula E races.

***The future of the Hong Kong E-Prix faces a crucial few weeks with meetings between Formula E, regional organizers and city officials taking place over the weekend and this week to try and secure a new layout.

***The Hong Kong harborside circuit designer Rodrigo Nunes told the Hoje Macau newspaper yesterday that “there are viable solutions (to the current 1.1-mile circuit) that have been presented and ideally a new-look track should be around 1.5 miles in length.”

***Several members of the Porsche Formula E team travelled to the city fresh from the manufacturer’s first test at its proving ground in Weissach last week. Head of Volkswagen Group Motorsport Fritz Engineer and recently announced team manager Amiel Lindsey were amongst those in attendance.

***HWA Racelab chief Ulrch Fritz has made it clear that Raffaele Marciello’s test with GEOX Dragon was an independently organized run for the factory Mercedes driver. Fritz also stated that Marciello’s initial run in a Formula E car at Marrakesh in January was a reward.

***“The test with Raffaelle when he tested the Gen 2 car with us was just a reward for what he did with the Mercedes brand in customer racing,” Fritz told e-racing365. “This is not a bigger role. You know that our test driver is Dani Juncadella and nothing has changed here.”

***Further clarity on the phrasing of the allowance of 15 test days is understood to have been discussed recently. The present wording in the FIA manufacturer private testing registration only specifies a ‘test day’ rather than any detailed times of when it can start and finish.

***The move comes after some manufacturers are believed to have run a full 24-hour testing cycle to maximize their track testing. Teams are only allocated one set of tires per day by Michelin but have no limits on the mileage they can achieve with them.

***Formula E Founder and Chairman Alejandro Agag confirmed to Austrian daily newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten that he will be talking to Michael Ludwig, mayor of Vienna, about possibilities for the Austrian capital to host a Formula E round, possibly in the 2020-2021 season.

***Austrian company Voestalpine, title sponsor of the separate classification for the European leg of the Formula E calendar, is known to be keen on having a race in its own country. A press conference for the start of the European part of the series is scheduled to take place in Vienna on April 4.

***Jackie Chan DC Racing co-owner David Cheng was in the Hong Kong paddock at the weekend. Cheng met up with sometime teammate and current leader of the FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 class Ho-Pin Tung who is Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s official reserve driver and now a resident of Hong Kong.

***Tung is one of several people to fly from Hong Kong to Sebring for next week’s combined WEC and IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship weekend. The Dutch-born Chinese driver had his first experience of the circuit at the former airfield in Florida during a tire test for Dunlop last month.

***“It rarely happens that you have a track where the access roads are in a better condition than parts of the circuit,” Tung told e-racing365. “Unbelievably how bumpy it is there, but it is great to be able to race at such a famous circuit, of course.”

***Three I-PACE eTROPHY drivers have been given grid drop penalties for the next race in Sanya. Sergio Jimenez will lose two grid positions for causing a collision with Simon Evans on the last lap, while Yaqi Zhang will lose three positions as a result of his contact with Celia Martin.

***Zhang’s China Racing teammate Qi Lin will be given a three-place grid penalty at his next race for ignoring the black flag with orange disc which was shown to call him into the pits for damage. However, it’s not clear if Lin will return next race, as he has been substituting for Wang Tao at the last two rounds.

***International Women’s Day was marked over the weekend with many of the female staff that work in the paddock posing for a photograph in pit lane.

Photo: Rene de Boer

Rene de Boer and Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report.

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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