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Marrakesh Friday Notebook

Sam Smith’s packed notebook from the Marrakesh paddock on the eve of Saturday’s E-Prix…

Photo: Formula E

***The Marrakesh E-Prix will see the introduction of a mandated winglet on the roll hoop of all cars. The addition comes after some teams lobbied Formula E so they could free up space on the side of the hoop itself for commercial partners.

***NIO is understood to be considering running GP3 race winner Jake Hughes as a second driver for the Marrakesh rookie test on Sunday. E-racing365 believes that Hughes has been scrambled to the track this weekend and will now take part after a late change of plan by the Chinese manufacturer.

***The Porsche Formula E team has taken delivery of its test and development car this week. The team will use the coming weeks for assembly and further powertrain test bench testing before embarking on a track test program in March.

***The commercial and technical tenders for the third generation of Formula E cars will begin in the fourth quarter of 2019. As first reported by e-racing365 the present iteration of the car will have its working cycle extended until the end of the 2021-22 season.

***The FIA’s Director of Circuit Racing Championships, Frederic Bertrand, says an update to the present Gen 2 model is planned for Season Seven, which begins at the end of 2020.

“This Gen 2 car will run for two seasons as it needs to be stable and then there will probably be a ‘second life’ of the car where we renew the look of the car,” Bertrand told e-racing365.

***The proposed ‘‘Extreme E’ concept is expected to be officially communicated at an event in London on Jan. 31. It’s understood that Extreme E will be logistically based on an ex-Royal Mail super-container ship. This is set to be present at the London launch event on the River Thames next to HMS Belfast.

***E-racing365 believes that the intention is to start with an initial season in 2021. It’s also understood that the series will take the form of a post-production  TV series rather than carrying live coverage of the events.

***Along with Alejandro Agag, the other founding father of Extreme E is Gil de Ferran, who is currently sporting director of the McLaren Formula 1 team. It’s understood that de Ferran could be announced as chairman of the Extreme E initiative which he developed along with Agag at the beginning of last year.

***HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne says that he enjoyed his debut race in Formula E despite finishing outside the points.

“I know so many people in this championship from previous programs so it is a nice environment to come in to, enjoyable I’d say,” said Vandoorne, who is aiming to have a long-term career in the formula. “Electric racing is so new that you feel part of something special.”

***IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champion Felipe Nasr, who is set to test for GEOX Dragon Racing on Sunday, says that he has sought the council of friends and colleagues about the Gen 2 Formula E car:

“I have a couple of friends I have spoken to, yes,” Nasr told e-racing365. “[Felipe] Massa [and] even my IMSA teammate Pipo [Derani] himself had a test with Mahindra recently, so they all described the car and the systems, the background, which is useful.”

***Venturi boss Susie Wolf believes Edoardo Mortara’s braking issues in Saudi Arabia have been identified and fixed. “We have some brilliant engineers in our team and I have no doubt that the structures and procedures we have in place will get it sorted,” Wolff told e-racing365. “It was actually a change we made prior to Riyadh that meant we had an impact over the Riyadh weekend.”

***Oliver Turvey says that his enforced two-month lay-off last summer was frustrating but did not adversely affect his future in Formula E despite significant interest from other teams. “NIO has been improving each season and I think there is huge potential here,” Turvey told e-racing365. “Also what NIO is doing on the road is impressive too so I was happy to stay here.”

***Saturday’s race in Marrakesh is expected to be the first real efficiency test of the season, largely due to the nature of the 1.86-mile circuit configuration. “There will be much more lift and coasting to do I think,” Andre Lotterer told e-racing365. “So there should be a clearer picture of the true order. It will be interesting for sure.”

***Jim Wright has left his position as Mahindra Racing’s commercial manager. Wright, who is in Marrakesh for his role as secretariat of the Formula E Teams & Manufacturers Association (FETAMA), will continue working in the position with Jaguar’s James Barclay who is chairman of the organization.

***Mahindra team principal Dilbagh Gill praised Wright’s contribution in his time with the team, which began in the summer of 2016. “I would like to thank Jim for his service to Mahindra Racing over the last two seasons and wish him all the very best for the future,” Gill told e-racing365.

***NIO’s head of vehicle performance, Rod Nelson, has confirmed that plans for the Gen 3 Formula E car are progressing. Nelson was speaking at the Motorsport Industry Associations Energy Efficient Motorsport Conference in Birmingham on Wednesday.

***The FIA has clarified the power usage parameters during Saturday’s free practice sessions. A technical bulletin issued stated that “the maximum total power going out of the RESS shall be 200kW” and that “each race number will be authorized to run a maximum of two laps, one with the maximum power coming from the RESS being limited to 225kW and one with the maximum power coming from the RESS being limited to 250kW.”

***The directive which came via a bulletin to technical heads of teams also confirmed that each car is allowed to “activate the FanBoost mode only one time” during the practice sessions.

***Harry Tincknell’s role as a simulator driver at NIO is understood to have come to an end. The factory Ford and Mazda sportscar driver, who will test with Panasonic Jaguar Racing on Sunday, is known to be pursuing a future full-time role in the series to complement his endurance activities.

***The Omologato watch brand has become a new partner to the DS Techeetah team for this season and the next. “Watches are synonymous with motorsport and as we continue to build the DS Techeetah brand it’s exciting for us to have our own team watch that we’ll be wearing, and that we will make available for the public this season,” said the team’s chief commercial officer Keith Smout.

***A new documentary shot by award-winning Mexican director Eugenio Derbez is being made during the 2018-19 season. Derbez has previously worked on films such as The Grinch, Mulan and Beverley Hills Chihuahua.

***Celebrities on-site this weekend include British actress Liz Hurley and Justin Theroux, the actor and former husband of Jennifer Anniston.

***Also spotted in the paddock were ex-Lotus and McLaren F1 team principal Eric Boullier, and current Renault F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

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

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