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Monaco Thursday Notebook

Sam Smith’s notebook from Thursday at the third Monaco EPrix….

Photo: Sam Smith

***Some of the Monaco race track has been resurfaced recently and was still undergoing some work on Thursday. The section of track from Sainte Devote to the harbor hairpin has been resurfaced.

***NIO’s Oliver Turvey told e-racing365 that he expects the surface to be among the best and most consistent of the Formula E season at Monaco.

“I remember Season Three, the tarmac at Monaco was one of the smoothest in the whole season, so the quality of the surface is very good,” said Turvey. “The tires this season have been a bit sensitive to temperature changes so we will have to see what temperature we have on Saturday, but usually here it is usually fairly stable.”

***Race Director Scot Elkins told e-racing365 today that the decision taken to start last month’s Paris E-Prix under the safety car came after he walked the dummy grid:

“Once the cars got to the dummy grid I took a look at it and you could see that the entire right side that was covered by trees was still wet,” said Elkins. “From a safety standpoint and a common sense stand point we chose not to put that kind of risk out there.”

***Robin Frijns says that he had a “brief discussion” with Sebastien Buemi immediately after last month’s Paris E-Prix which saw the pair briefly clash while running first and second. Buemi’s race was compromised due to a deflating right rear tire after the Nissan e.dams driver was tagged by Frijns whilst trying to take the Attack boost.

“I went to him [Buemi] straight after the race,” Frijns told e-racing365. “It was just unfortunate and it screwed his race but it’s just the way the attack mode is and there it was just a few circumstances coming together unfortunately for him.”

***FIA President Jean Todt is said to have had a meeting with Hungarian ASN chief Gyarfas Olah recently about the prospect of a Budapest E-Prix taking place. The city hosted a Gen 2 demonstration run with Jerome d’Ambrosio last Wednesday.

***Panasonic Jaguar Racing will commence its Season Six test program this month with a run scheduled for the week before the Berlin E-Prix at an as yet undisclosed location.

***The Formula E Sporting Working Group met in Geneva last week to discuss a variety of topics including an update on next season’s calendar. The 2019-20 schedule is set to be officially revealed on June 14 at the FIA World Motorsport Council Meeting.

***Formula E Operations Ltd was revealed last week to have made a pre-tax loss of £22.6m between July 2017 and July 2018 which accounts largely for the Season Four period of the championship.

***Formula E’s revenue increased to £114.5m according to public available data. However, costs escalated to £38.4m as the all-electric series expanded significantly through 2017 and 2018 as it boomed with several big name manufacturers joining.

***A report in Singapore newspaper The Straits Times has reported that Formula E will race alongside F1 at the annual Grand Prix in September 2020. A senior Formula E figure told e-racing365 that the report was “erroneous and bizarre.”

***Formula E is facing a logistics headache for the Bern E-Prix in June. The issues stem from regulatory difficulties regarding remote operations and the policing of access and build procedures ahead of the event.

***Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird believes that a future World Championship status for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship will be a mere formality for Season Seven.

“Yes, a World Champion, it has a nice ring to it, but this championship is tough enough anyway. If you win it, you’ll be chuffed, regardless of what’s it’s called,” said Bird.

***Tom Dillmann says that his encouraging but ultimately fruitless Paris performance hinted in an upturn in fortunes for NIO which has largely struggled this season.

“We did a strong quali, the strongest result of the year for the team, so it was good. Then, the biggest surprise was actually in the race where I felt quite quick. Finally, I felt I could fight against the Audis and those types of car, so I was quite happy.”

***Mahindra Formula E team principal Dilbagh Gill completed a brief run of the ex-Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra M4Electro at Calafat last week. Completing nine laps, Gill said he had “three minor spins but was faster than Pascal [Wehrlein] in two corners, but that was when he was testing in the wet!”

***Monaco is hosting its first ever “Electric Week” including the Ecologic Vehicles Energies Renewables [EVER] Monaco initiative, which is taking place at the Grimaldi Forum and is hosted by H.E. M. Bernard Fautrier, the Minister & President for EVER.

***Jean Todt and Prince Albert of Monaco visited the event which also incorporated Nico Rosberg as its the ambassador.

***Reports in the Chinese media have suggested that NIO could be searching for a partner to develop and produce its new sedan model. NIO already has partnerships in place with JAC on its ES8 and ES6 models.

***The Aston Martin’s Rapide E model is set to have a demonstration run at the Monaco E-Prix on Saturday with Darren Turner set to drive. The all-electric car will also take part in a photo shoot in the Formula E paddock on Friday lunchtime.

***Former Aston Martin chairman David Richards attended the Paris E-Prix two weeks ago to start initial planning procedures for next July’s London E-Prix. Richards, who was instrumental in getting the London race confirmed, was working in his role as Chairman of Motorsport UK.

***Paul Belmondo will continue in his role as a driver advisor to the stewards this weekend. The French racer has an interesting history in Monaco having competed in the 1985 Formula 3 race and the 1994 Grand Prix. Additionally, he also became well-known in the early 1980s as the partner of Princess Stephanie of Monaco, the youngest daughter of Princess Grace.

***British actor Naomie Harris will be a VIP guest this weekend in Monaco. The star of Moonlight and Skyfall is currently shooting a new James Bond movie which has a working title of Bond25, which will be the 25th movie of the popular spy franchise.

***British TV presenter Georgie Barrat is filling in for Nicki Shields as the reporter for the host TV coverage this weekend. Barrat has previously fronted The Gadget Show on British terrestrial TV and also appeared on radio stations Talk Sport and BBC Radio 2. Shields is due to give birth to her first baby this summer.

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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