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Marquardt Weighs in on Data Transfer Debate

BMW’s Jens Marquardt weighs in on ongoing track-to-HQ data transfer ban debate…

Photo: BMW Motorsport

The debate of the role of additional personnel working out of manufacturers’ bases during race weekends should not distract from Formula E sticking to its cost-efficient ethos, according to Jens Marquardt.

The BMW Motorsport director has explained to e-racing365 that the FIA and championship promoter Formula E Holdings Ltd. attempted to stop data transfers during races last season but were blocked by teams.

The row concerns manufacturers using extra staff working remotely during ABB FIA Formula E Championship events, with data transfer between the on-site teams and remote crews helping from manufacturers’ bases.

A move to change the sporting regulations and ban track-to-HQ data transfer was blocked shortly before the start of this season, as a late change to the rulebook required unanimous support.

It is believed that one manufacturer was able to block the move by activating a little-known stature in the FIA’s international sporting code.

Article 19.2.3.a of the ISC dictates that: “changes to sporting rules and to all regulations other than those referred to above are published at least 20 days prior to the opening date for Entry applications for the Championship, cup, trophy, challenge or series concerned, but never later than 15 December each year.”

The proposed Article 27.10, which would have banned data transfers, was subsequently scrapped from the final set of 2018-19 Formula E sporting regs which were issues in early December.

Marquardt believes that the championship should eventually stop the possibility of data transfers, in order to stick to its cost-efficient philosophy.

Although not at the forefront of the debate, the BMW Motorsport boss has been fully informed of the fast-paced developments in the rulings which took place throughout November.

“We had thought about our best possible setup and I think, especially in the situation that we are in right now, that it’s most effective to have the maximum expertize and the best possible level of expertise here [at the event],” he told e-racing365.

“Nobody really cares about an army of engineers sitting in cold Munich or wherever in the world and working on things back there, because you can’t really transfer any of that onto the spectator and to the customer.

“At the end of the day the customer is what we are doing this for.”

Marquardt stressed the importance of policing a potential data transfer ban, saying that making the rules fair for everyone is the key priority.

“I have my own opinion, but obviously you have to forge it into a regulation which applies to everybody in the same way and is also enforceable,” he said.

“I think that is probably where much of the problem came from and everybody has to review how they take the best out of that.

“Fighting should be on track and everything else off track should be really together.”

E-racing365 understands that the topic will be revisited by the FIA and championship organizers ahead of the 2019-20 season.

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

1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Old Trombone

    December 29, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Can’t transfer that to the spectator or customer? GM is touting OnStar with a full marketing budget. RTTI is also becoming very cool. Personally, I’d love instant access to advice on anything – “I hear a sound in the back wheel, what is that?”

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