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Marrakesh Post-Race Notebook

Sam Smith’s post-race notebook from the Marrakesh E-Prix…

Photo: Formula E

***E-racing365 believes that the draft Season Six Formula E calendar could be issued earlier than usual. Typically, a first draft is revealed in June but it’s possible that the calendar will be seen in May at the Berlin E-Prix.

***The watchword for the 2019/20 schedule “aims to be continuity and stability”, according to a Formula E insider. Additional races in Seoul and St Petersburg are likely to be added to the schedule with an initial aim of 14 or 15 events.

***Marrakesh race winner Jerome d’Ambrosio said of the last lap sprint to victory that “you never know what can happen with Robin [Frijns] behind you!”. D’Ambrosio locked up heading into the final corner but managed to hold on for his first win since 2016. “I’ve known him since he was 12 or something like that and he’s a guy who never gives up,” he said.

***DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne described the pace of his car as “unreal today” after he fought from last to fifth place overtaking 15 cars. “I came back to just five seconds behind the leaders before the Safety Car, so there are still big positives to take,” he told e-racing365.

***Audi’s Lucas di Grassi said he experienced a mysterious drop off in pace in the second half of yesterday’s E-Prix. “It just felt like I had to lift much more than them and using more energy. I sensed we had much more pace in the opening phase,” di Grassi told e-racing365.

***Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird believes that his team was perhaps a little “too conservative” during the race. “We’re still learning,” Bird told e-racing365. “We are not there yet. I think that again we are maybe being a bit too conservative on some things, but we are learning well.”

***Despite being among a number of drivers affected by the knock-on of Jean-Eric Vergne’s spin at the first corner, Sebastien Buemi maintained positivity about the pace shown by the Nissan IM01 despite some powertrain issues which affected his race. “Today we had the pace to be on the podium which wasn’t necessarily the case in the opening round,” said Buemi, who finished eighth.

***The HWA Racelab squad’s disastrous race was compounded when it was fined €5000 ($5,700) for breaking the daily 11.30 p.m. to 6.30 a.m. curfew by opening its garage doors before the curfew ended.

***GEOX Dragon were also fined but for the separate offence of both Jose-Maria Lopez and Maximilian Guenther missing the official autograph session prior to the race.

***The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 team’s chief strategist James Vowels spent the Marrakesh E-Prix with HWA Racelab today. Vowels is believed to have been on a fact-finding trip for the future Mercedes EQ team as it continues to prepare for its series debut next season.

***Robin Frijns scored his best result in Formula E with second position in Marrakesh. The Dutch driver’s only other podium visit was back in 2015 when he took third place for the Amlin Andretti squad in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

***E-racing365 understands that the next Formula E Technical Working Group meeting will take place at the end of February. Further discussions around the concept for the Gen 3 car are believed to be again at the forefront of the agenda for the event.

***Mahindra was fined €1000 after practice when Pascal Wehrlein’s HALO LED light was found to have not been working. The issue is believed to have been due to a faulty battery in the component which is illuminated when drivers arm and deploy their attack mode systems.

***Dilbagh Gill described Pascal Wehrlein’s early exit from the race as: “Very disappointing and it was clearly not his fault that he got hit by di Grassi,” Gill told e-racing365. “But I thought Pascal was damn good in qualifying and he also had a good start and just got rammed. But he will come back strongly from this.”

***The Indian team has devised its own podcast known as Straight Torque which will showcase news, features and insights from Mahindra Racing drivers, key staff and paddock personalities. Subscribe to the podcast HERE.

***Three teams were fined after practice for not respecting Software Implementation Guidelines dictated by the battery supplier McLaren Applied Technologies. GEOX Dragon (Jose Maria Lopez), NIO (both drivers), DS Techeetah (Andre Lotterer) and Mahindra (d’Ambrosio) were all fined €1000 ($1146) after it was found that the “level of charge power available is progressively increased as the pack discharges from 100% SoC, as described by the figures (5.21 kW with a SoC of 95.2%).”

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler and Envision Virgin Racing suffered issues with their water pumps in the second practice session yesterday. An Audi spokesperson confirmed to e-racing365 that the issues were “attributed to the same specific part.”

***Jake Hughes spent time in the NIO pit garage on Saturday as he prepared to test alongside Jamie Chadwick at the team today. E-racing365 revealed last week that the British driver had tested for NIO last year and was a late confirmation to run at the rookie test.

***US electric vehicle sales saw an 81% increase in 2018, according to industry website InsideEV. The data also confirmed that December was the 39th consecutive month of sales gains for plug-in vehicles.

***Multiple karting champion Jorrit Pex travelled with Max Verstappen to Marrakesh this weekend. E-racing365 understands that Pex is in discussions with several Formula E teams about future simulator and development possibilities.

***Verstappen, who e-racing365 revealed was working with the Marrakesh stewards as part of a ‘public service’ order, said that Formula E was “a cool series” in a statement issued by the championship last night.

***”I’ve of course followed Formula E a bit on TV but I’ve never been in the paddock, and I really enjoyed the day,” said the Red Bull F1 driver. “First of all, it was a really exciting race. The championship is clearly growing and there are a lot of manufacturers here, so I think it’s a cool series.”

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

  1. Avatar

    Kris G.

    January 13, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Red Bull Engineering was one of the companies that participated in the last battery contest if I’m not wrong. Would be interesting to see them aligning for a FE race in the future…

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