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Mexico City Thursday Notebook

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

Photo: Sam Smith

***E-racing365 has learned that former Virgin Racing driver Alex Lynn is in discussions with teams to make a return to Formula E in the future. The current Aston Martin driver is yet to test a Gen 2 car but could make appearances in private testing ahead of next season, which is expected to begin for most teams in the spring.

***Discussions on the possible use of rapid charging equipment for Gen 3 Formula E cars are set to continue shortly. Plans are being explored to implement the infrastructure during pit stops for Season Nine in 2022-23.

***“For sure it’s going to be an important topic on the road, so form theory, yes, it’s something that could be interesting,” Gass said to e-racing365 about the technology.

“But it’s a matter of how we can introduce it in a reasonable way into a racing situation. You’re always going to have a discussion if it’s going to be common fast charging or everybody is going to do his own.”

***E-racing365 has learned that Formula E’s head of technical operations Carlos Nunes is set to begin a new role shortly with Extreme E. Nunes will be heading up the logistics and event planning team for the new championship.

***It is believed that Nunes’ role will be taken by the experienced Rob Arnott who held the role of team manager at the Andretti Formula E team for several seasons. Arnott has previously worked for DAMS and Status GP and is on-site in Mexico City as he is phased into his new role.

***Plans to host the first ever Seoul E-Prix are understood to have reached a major commercial milestone recently. A race in the South Korean capital city is likely to take place in March 2020.

***As revealed by e-racing365 last week, the 2019-20 season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is likely to begin on Friday, Dec. 6 in Ad Diriyah. In addition to a possible double-header format incorporating a dusk or night race, larger concerts with global stars are also in the early stages of planning.

***Former GEOX Dragon race driver Maximilian Gunther has not travelled out to Mexico City. The German, who the team appears to have now made official reserve and test driver in place of Antonio Fuoco, was initially planned to be in attendance this weekend.

***Gerry Hughes has described the prospect of official NIO reserve driver Ma Qing Hua making another cameo appearance for the team in an E-Prix as “highly unlikely.”

***“Ma probably won’t get to drive the car in normal circumstances this season,” Hughes told e-racing365. “But it is nice to have him back in the team as he is a great guy and is a great ambassador for the sport and NIO in China.”

***Venturi’s Felipe Massa says that although he has raced on the F1 configuration of Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, he has had maximum simulator time ahead of the race on Saturday.

***“I know the last corner and the straight, that’s it, so there will be lots of sim work!” Massa told e-racing365. “Other corners I need to learn. Having a better car helps, so I really hope we can understand a lot of things to make the car even more competitive there.”

***GEOX Dragon is phasing in a move to new premises close to Silverstone later this month. The team has had its operational and assembly base at the original Donington Park facility since 2014.

***Dragon’s move will ensure that the only inhabitant now at Donington is NIO, although the Anglo-Chinese operation has its design office and R&D center close to Oxford.

***Alexander Sims and Antonio Felix da Costa travelled to the BMW competence center for electric drivetrains earlier this week to meet technical staff behind the iFE.18. The base also develops the drivetrains for the BMW i production models.

***“I find the technology behind our drivetrain fascinating and take my hat off to all the employees here for the job done,” said Sims. “Without them we wouldn’t be able to enjoy such success in Formula E. It feels fantastic to give it my all for them in every race to thank them for their great work with good results.”

***Sims told e-racing365 that he will seek out Edoardo Mortara in Mexico after watching and studying images and film of the incident at last month’s Santiago E-Prix which saw the Venturi car spin and lose positions.

***“The fact remains that in the cockpit I felt nothing but watching it back I am sure the way he lost control that there was contact,” said Sims. “Initially I thought the track break-up could have contributed but I plan to see him to apologize for suggesting there was not contact when I spoke after the race.”

***Beitske Visier will be in attendance this weekend in her role as test and reserve driver with BMW i Andretti Motorsport. BMW is one of the few teams that is bringing nominated test and reserve drivers to races this season. The Dutch driver though will not take part in Sunday’s test.

***Michelin’s Formula E manager says that the Mexican track will again test the teams with a lack of relative grip in the early sessions due to the infrequent use of the circuit and the recent hot and humid conditions.

***“Grip levels aren’t all that high and the surface, in addition to being very bumpy in places, can be quite dirty to begin with,” said Serge Grisin. “The heat makes big demands of tyres but Pilot Sport’s ability to get up to its ideal working temperature very quickly means the drivers don’t have to worry about this parameter.”

***Formula E race director Scot Elkins was a key speaker at the annual race director seminar in Geneva last week. Elkins was joined by his well-known counterparts from many other FIA championships including Charlie Whiting (F1), Eduardo Freitas (FIA WEC) and Tony Iddon (FIA ETRC).

***The official FIA drivers’ steward this weekend is former Arrows F1 driver Enrique Bernoldi. The Brazilian returns after undertaking the same role at last month’s Santiago E-Prix.

***Audi held its traditional training week camp at a resort in Lanzarote last week. Lucas di Grassi, Daniel Abt, Nico Mueller and Robin Frijns were joined by Audi and ABT management in fitness programs and special team building tasks, one of which included building a wooden shed.

***Nissan is offering an update on its software for LEAF models with a 40 kWh battery as a solution to the DC charging issues that occurred under the so-called ‘Rapidgate’ controversy last year.

***Nissan has said that models produced between December 2017 and May 2018 are eligible for the update. LEAFs produced after that date have the updated software already applied.

Photo: Sam Smith

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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