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Hong Kong Saturday Notebook

Sam Smith’s Saturday notebook from the Hong Kong E-Prix…

Photo: Audi

***The shakedown session took place on a damp but drying track on Saturday afternoon as all 22 drivers sampled the Hong Kong harborside circuit at the regulated 110 kW maximum power during the 30 minutes of running.

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler will begin its Season Six test program in “the next couple of weeks”, according to Formula E project leader Tristan Summerscale who told e-racing365 that he expects most manufacturers to have an evolutionary approach to Season Six.

***Audi will continue to use its favoured facility in Mallorca, in addition to anticipated runs at its own Neuburg proving ground and Calafat.

***E-racing365 has discovered that the concept finalization for the Gen 3 rules set, which will be introduced in Season Nine (2022-23), is targeted for this September. Tenders are then expected to be released by the FIA in January 2020.

***Benoit Treluyer is the nominated reserve driver for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler this weekend. The three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner is rotating the role with Nico Mueller this season. Treluyer took part in the rookie test session for Audi’s powertrain customer Envision Virgin Racing in January.

***HWA Racelab Team Principal Ulrich Fritz would not pinpoint a specific date for the start of Mercedes EQ’s on-track testing to commence. It is anticipated that the team will undertake its first running with its Season Six development car in the coming weeks.

***”It’s good that we’re already working on it and starting to make progress there,” Fritz told e-racing365. “I think we’re on a good path but to be honest, but it’s not something that we would like to discuss with the press. I think we’re getting there and making good steps forward to be ready.”

***BMW i Andretti Motorsport team principal Roger Griffiths says that the energy management capabilities of different teams are still the determining factor in Gen 2 Formula E when it comes to challenging for the big points-scoring positions.

***“The field may be close under qualifying conditions or in the free practice times, but then we do see that it tends to separate once you get into the energy management phase,” Griffiths told e-racing365.

“This is because whilst the powertrain performance may be very similar, the energy management capabilities and how much you can save and not save to make a lap time start to show up. So, I think that is where there’s a bit of a separation in the field.”

***Envision Virgin driver Sam Bird says that had he not received a penalty in last year’s first race at Hong Kong he would have won the race by a record margin. He was given a drive-through penalty for hitting both personnel and the outer pit box after locking up on the dusty pit apron.

***“I watched that race back last week and if we had not have got the penalty for the incident at the car swap then we would have won it by over 30 seconds which could have been unprecedented in Formula E,” Bird told e-racing365.

***NIO is likely to repeat its testing strategy of waiting until later this summer to track test its Season Six powertrain according to the Chinese-entered, British-based team’s Performance Program Engineering Director Paul Fickers.

***”We have a slightly different philosophy to other teams because typically there is always something that changes in the rules so we prefer to use the maximum time at the end before we go to homologation,” Fickers told e-racing365.

***Tom Dillmann says that NIO will not write off its Season Five campaign to concentrate on future campaigns despite it being largely cut adrift of the top ten so far this season.

***“What you develop now in terms of software and control systems is development for the future too, so you keep pushing and learning, this is the big spirit we have and we are racers so we will fight for every point this season until the final lap,” Dillmann told e-racing365.

***Susie Wolff has told e-racing365 that Venturi’s post-race debrief in Mexico City got to the bottom of the error which saw Felipe Massa given wrong energy target information. The Brazilian ultimately lost out on a possible podium position and finished eighth.

***“We are absolutely clear on what happened and we are clearly it won’t happen again,” said Wolff. “There are measure in place to make sure it won’t happen again. It was a very strange situation when the red flag came out and we heard it was going to be re-started for a different time. It was a small error on the process and we will learn from it.”

***Envision founder and chairman Lei Zhang had planned to attend this weekend’s race but will now not be on-site due to business commitments. He is instead expected to attend the Sanya round later this month in Hainan.

***The latest edition of Mahindra’s Straight Toque Podcast is available featuring Dilbagh Gill, Lewis Butler, Alberto Longo and Pascal Wehrlein. Click here to listen.

***Caca Bueno went quickest in Free Practice for the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY this afternoon, lapping 0.078 seconds quicker than Bryan Sellers.

***This weekend marks the 50th ever Formula E race. Lucas di Grassi, Daniel Abt, Sam Bird, Jerome d’Ambrosio and Nelson Piquet Jr. are the only five drivers to have been entered in every race held so far. Sixty-three drivers in total have started an E-Prix since the first race at Beijing in September 2014.

***“I am delighted that in Hong Kong we will celebrate our 50th race,” said Formula E Founder and Chairman Alejandro Agag. “The championship is in great shape and we have more manufacturers than ever, with Porsche and Mercedes joining next season.”

***Ben Padley, who held the position of Marketing and Brand Director at Formula E Holdings Ltd., has left the company. Padley joined Formula E in 2016 from the Victoria Plumb bathroom fitting business.

***Celebrities attending tomorrows race will include One Direction singer Liam Payne and supermodel Naomi Campbell.

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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