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Marrakesh Thursday Notebook

Sam Smith’s notebook from Thursday at the Marrakesh E-Prix…

Photo: Sam Smith

***BMW i Andretti Motorsport team principal Roger Griffiths believes that Alexander Sims can case-study Andre Lotterer’s debut season as he gets to grips with Formula E races. “I think once Alexander is going to get a little bit more experience under his belt, we will be in a strong position,” he told e-racing365. “Lotterer took a better part of the season to come up to speed so he can look at that and know what can be achieved.”

***Griffiths also told e-racing365 that he believes Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler will be a stronger force this weekend than it was in Saudi Arabia last month. “The Audi guys will come back fighting as they are a bit wounded right now I’m sure,” he said. “I’m surprised that they didn’t go better than they did but as I say you can’t right those guys off at all.”

***Felipe Nasr, who is strongly rumoured to be testing for GEOX Dragon this Sunday, was on-site at the circuit today. The former Sauber F1 driver is expected to be announced by the team tomorrow as joining Antonio Fuoco in its test lineup.

***Neel Jani is spending this season as a commentator and pundit for the Swiss MySports broadcaster before driving for Porsche when it joins the series next season. “It’s cool because I can see it from every angle and get a different feel for the races which is a good thing,” he told e-racing365.

***Jani is expected to be on-site at the Bern E-Prix in June which is just 20 minutes from his home. The Porsche Formula E team last week received its hardware for the development car with which it is now entitled to track test.

***Porsche is aiming to boost its overall profits by €6 billion by 2025 as it focuses on EV technology and digital developments. The targets are believed to be achievable through cost cutting and increasing manufacturing efficiency, although CEO Oliver Blume told German magazine Automobilwoche that the company’s 32,000 employees would be unaffected.

***Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein reckons that he will hit the ground running as he makes his long-awaited Formula E debut this weekend. “I always adapt quite quickly in new series and be fast straight away in a new environment and a new car,” Wehrlein told e-racing365. “I’ll just keep my head down and work hard, then I am sure it will all fall in to place.”

***Sergey Sirotkin will test for Mahindra on Sunday but it won’t be his first experience in a Formula E car. The Russian had a day of testing the Gen 1 development car run by Spark Racing Technologies at the Valle del Templi track in Sicily back in March 2016.

***Along with Max Guenther, Gary Paffett is the only other driver taking part in this Saturday’s Marrakesh E-Prix who took part in last January’s rookie test. “As such, I have a little more experience than in Riyadh, at least as far as the circuit is concerned,” said Paffett. “We have all learned from the first race and are now looking to gain more experience in Marrakesh.”

***Nissan e.dams tester Jann Mardenborough also says that his objective is on breaking into a Formula E race seat in the future. “It is certainly a goal of mine in the future to be involved in Formula E,” he told e-racing365. “The spotlight is on it at the moment so it is very much a championship I have my eyes on.”

***The FIA has allowed Formula E competitors to adjust bodywork for fitting purposes on their Gen 2 cars for the coming season.

***Article 3.1, which is part of the Homologation Criteria of the 2018-19 Technical Regulations, states: “All carbon fibre bodywork parts except the survival cell, the front impact structure and the rear impact structure can be trimmed, adjusted and re-drilled to improve their fitments only in a zone at 50mm maxi from their respective leading edges.”

***In further technical rules clarifications, the FIA has also detailed changes to topics surrounding the ramp plate and carrier into which the differential ramp angles. The FIA reserves the right to strip the diff that finished a race and check ramps are in the position declared in the homologation anyway.

***E-racing365 understands that the FIA had some concerns that some manufacturers left multiple ramp options in their race diffs. In theory, with seals on the gearbox it shouldn’t be possible to get the diff apart to rotate them between races. As per homologation competitors must nominate coast and drive angles.

***BMW i Andretti Motorsport has released details on the design of its non-spec rear-end structures on the BMW iFE.18. The German manufacturer has devised the so-called Generative Design to design, develop and produce components.

***BMW has produced aluminium components using a 3D printing procedure. Experience possessed by BMW i Motorsport engineers in the development and production of fibre-reinforced plastics was also implemented in to the design of the rear-end structure.

***Former Trulli driver Vitantonio Liuzzi will again be the FIA driver advisor this weekend. The Italian has filled out the same position on six previous occasions.

***The first practice session at the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan on Saturday has been put back 15 minutes and will now start at 8.15 am. The reason is a change in the original decision to do away with winter time [GMT +1] which the government originally announced back in October.

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

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Old Trombone

    January 10, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Jani lives 20 minutes away from the Bern race? How will he commute there? I reckon he should use one of these:

    Haibike Flyon
    Specialized Levo S-Works Fattie
    Stealth H52
    Hi-Powered Cycles Revolution.

    It won’t be 20 minutes.

  2. Avatar

    Kris G.

    January 11, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Great Sam.
    Any rumors about the Attack Mode Activation Zone for this weekend race?

    • Avatar

      Sam Smith

      January 11, 2019 at 2:49 pm

      General feeling is it is much better than Riyadh. It is at T3 and after doing a lap in BMW Safety Car today it looks like a sensible place. Thanks

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