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Monaco Friday Notebook

Sam Smith’s Friday notebook on the eve of the third Monaco E-Prix…

Photo: Envision Virgin Racing

***The latest Technical Working Group meeting was hosted earlier this week with manufacturers talking with Formula E and FIA officials regarding several key topics.

***Among these was the concept for the Gen 3 Formula E car which is being formed for a formal proposal and then a tendering process. The first details of the car and possible sporting formats could be unveiled at the pre-season test in October.

***The prospect of an E-Prix in New Zealand is still alive despite an original plan for a race in Auckland in Season Six having been put on the backburner earlier this year. One of the leading promoter figures behind the initial plans, Karl Budge, is still known to be working on bringing an event to the city.

“The America’s Cup is being hosted in New Zealand and the government has put a lot of money into it and developments into the port in Auckland,” Mitch Evans told e-racing365. “So it all came at a tricky time from a budget point of view but hopefully it can come together for Season Seven (2020-21) again.”

***A demonstration of a Gen 2 car will take place on the streets of Bern next Thursday. Sebastien Buemi will drive the car on the streets of the Swiss capital which will host the second Swiss E-Prix next month. Simona de Silvestro is also in line to make an appearance at the event.

***Envision Virgin Racing managing director Sylvain Filippi says that hiring a formal reserve driver will be addressed at the end of the season but is not “at the top of the list” for the Chinese-owned, UK-based team.

“We will look at it for sure,” Filippi told e-racing365. “But because we do not get a test allocation it means that it is not a big priority for us as it is for other teams.”

***Envision Virgin Racing is likely to again get some days of Audi’s 22-day allocation later this year for pre-season testing. Filippi stated that the agreement it has with its powertrain supplier is “flexible” and that some track testing is “possible again”.

***Filippi also confirmed that the team would increase its team slightly this summer. In addition there will be a new ‘in-the-loop’ simulator installed at its Silverstone base. The new capability should be operational later this summer.

***Simona de Silvestro says that she is keen to race again in Formula E in the near future. The former Andretti driver was at Monaco in her capacity as reserve and development driver Venturi.

“At the moment I am in the middle of the season in Supercars but for me I just want to try and get the best opportunity I can in Formula E and race here again,” she told e-racing365.

***GEOX Dragon technical director Nicolas Maduit confirmed that the uncertain driver strategy it has employed race-by-race since the Rome E-Prix last month is likely to continue in upcoming races.

“We are very happy with Max [Guenther]’s pace in the last events,” said Maduit. “Regarding the next races we will see but I cannot disclose right now what will be the situation as far as drivers goes.”

***Rahal Lanigan Letterman driver Bryan Sellers says that he would like to extend his Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY program to a second season. The American took a second eTROPHY victory in Paris last month and leads the title chase by five points.

“I would love to be part of this team again but the details of anything after this season have still to be defined,” Sellers told e-racing365. “To be part of it from the start feels quite special, so certainly from my point of view the intention and will is to do more, yes.”

***Plans for a new collective NIO race team headquarters are likely to be put on hold for the near future, e-racing365 has learned. The team was looking at new premises in the UK to galvanize its existing bases in London and its technical office near Oxford.

***Chinese manufacturer Guangzhou Corporation (GAC) has confirmed that its partnership with NIO will be announced next week. The joint project plans to produce several EV products for the Chinese market in the coming years.

***Former Dragon Racing partner Faraday Future has seen a significant investment secured in recent weeks. The Chinese-founded, American-based company is said to have gained a $225 million financial boost from asset management company Birch Lake.

***Polestar, the electric brand of Volvo, will establish a new R&D centre in Coventry next year. The facility will run alongside similar capabilities that already exist in Sweden and China. Polestar has sat on the Formula E Manufacturers Working Group association since 2015.

***Former Onroak Automotive team principal Philippe Dumas was spotted in the Formula E paddock today. Dumas is currently representing two-time Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring winner Pipo Derani who tested for Mahindra Racing team last August.

***Celebrities that will attend the third ever Monaco E-Prix tomorrow include actors Natalie Dormer and Luke Evans as well as models David Gandy and Toby Huntington-Whiteley.

***The Aston Martin Rapide was shown off in the Monaco pit lane this afternoon. Darren Turner, who has completed two tests with the marque’s first all-electric car at Silverstone, will conduct two 15-minute sessions tomorrow.

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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