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Marrakesh Rookie Test Notebook

Sam Smith’s notebook covering Formula E’s rookie test after the Marrakesh E-Prix…

Photo: Nissan

***BMW factory driver and two-time DTM champion Marco Wittmann echoed many of the rookie Formula E drivers’ thoughts on the Gen 2 car today by expressing his opinions on the complexities of driving the cars.

*** “Especially from the outside it always looks a bit easier, especially as a spectator on TV,” Wittmann told e-racing365. “But there’s quite a lot to do as a driver as well as in race simulations and the race itself, so it’s not easy to adapt yourself to the car.”

***Jaguar’s James Barclay says that Harry Tincknell’s experience as a factory sports car driver was an overriding reason as to why the team brought him back into the fold for testing duties in Marrakesh. Tincknell previously tested the first iteration of Jaguar, the I-Type 1, back in September 2016.

***”For a guy who has a lot of experience of big events and big programs and is also so young is really important,” Barclay told e-racing365. “We are really pleased he is here testing with us in the Gen-2 car and having a guy like that is really important as we continue to develop the car.”

***DS Techeetah tester Tatiana Calderon set the fastest sector two time on her way to second fastest in the morning session at Marrakesh yesterday.

***Benoit Treluyer had his first public single-seater outing for a decade as he ran through an extensive data collection program for Envision Virgin Racing.

***The three-time Le Mans winner conducted four days of testing for Spark Racing Technologies in the autumn of 2017 in the initial battery testing in the prototype Gen 2 Formula E car.

***HWA Racelab tester Raffaele Marciello says that won’t consider downscaling his GT3 racing for a permanent Formula E role.

***”I don’t want to leave GTs because I love the Nordschleife, Spa, all the big races,” the Mercedes contracted driver told e-racing365. “Formula E is really nice because you can two programmes. You can do Formula E and some endurance races, this would ideal.”

***Jamie Green said he enjoyed his first run in a single-seater for 15 years as he took over Lucas di Grassi’s car in the test yesterday. The British driver completed a total of 99 laps during the course of the day’s running.

*** “I enjoyed it but it is not easy to drive these cars and very different to what I am used to,” said Green. “There was more power than I expected and less grip. I had a spin at the end of the day while I was finding the limit but other than that it was a really good day.”

***Venturi collected valuable test miles with its Young Driver Academy member Arthur Leclerc and development driver Norman Nato. Leclerc ended the test an impressive 10th fastest despite having only raced at Formula 4 level so far in his career.

***Marrakesh E-Prix winner Jerome d’Ambrosio had little time to enjoy his success on Saturday as he was required to head back to the team’s UK base to conduct sim testing for the Santiago E-Prix later this month.

***The Belgian is conducting work today through to Wednesday before Pascal Wehrlein undertakes his sessions on the ‘in-the-loop-simulator’ on Thursday and Friday.

***Formula E Race Director Scot Elkins confirmed to e-racing365 that the reason there was a delay to clearing Antonio Felix da Costa’s crashed BMW in Saturday’s race was a combination of the stricken electric-powered car being in ‘red mode’ and broken suspension, which prevented marshals from pushing the car away.

***NIO tester Jake Hughes said he took to the Gen 2 instantly after the opening session yesterday morning. “I had a lot of confidence in it straight away, which is good,” Hughes told e-racing365. “I mean obviously compared to the other cars I’ve driven it’s slower but at this track, Marrakesh, it’s a very good sense of speed so I’ve really enjoyed it so far.”

***NIO remained positive despite another disappointing E-Prix after Oliver Turvey saw his initial seventh position in the early stages slip away as the race progressed, finishing an eventual 16th.

***”Oliver had a fantastic opening lap, which meant he was able to run in P7,” said Team Principal Gerry Hughes. “But it became evident that we were going to struggle pace wise this afternoon.”

***GEOX Dragon’s compromised test session, due to the Felipe Nasr contractual dispute, saw the American-entered team lose 50% of its in-season test running. Antonio Fuoco completed all of the test duties in Jose-Maria Lopez’s race chassis, setting the third fastest time overall.

***Media were not granted access to speak with Fuoco during the day and the Italian did not attend the media pen session organized by Formula E. The media restrictions on the driver are believed to have been implemented by Ferrari with which he is an Academy driver.

***Venturi was conducting detailed analysis of its powertrain after energy regeneration spoilt its race on Saturday. Edoardo Mortara and Felipe Massa suffered similar issues during the race and fell to eventual 13th and 18th finishing positions respectively.

*** “In the race, I couldn’t regenerate energy efficiently and my engine was not giving the same power as it should have,” said Massa. “I lost many positions because of this. We need to work hard now on analyzing all of our weaknesses from the race and the development of the car ahead of the next race.”

***The Attack Zone area at the Santiago E-Prix later this month has not yet been made public to the teams. The new track is around the historic Parque O’Higgins, close to last years’ original layout which was a mile north of the new venue.

***Formula E’s Senior Manager of Commercial Development, Alexander Jakobi, has left his position with the company. Jakobi, the son of well-known driver manager Julian Jakobi, is believed to have left to work with his father’s business interests.

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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