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New York City Saturday Notebook

Sam Smith’s Saturday notebook following Race 1 of New York E-Prix weekend…

Photo: Formula E

***Jean-Eric Vergne celebrated his first drivers’ championship since claiming the British Formula Three title in 2010. The Frenchman achieved it with three victories, two additional podium finishes and a 100 percent record of finishing inside the points in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

***Vergne told e-racing365 that teamwork and utilizing the teams’ simulator facility in France were key to him becoming the fourth different Formula E champion in as many seasons. “We have worked so hard this year it is incredible,” he said. “We have done more than 70 days in the simulator but when you win it and get success it feels worth it and incredible.”

***His title clinch came on Bastille Day, which his Techeetah team honored by putting the French flag on the rear wing of Vergne’s TECHEETAH Renault Z.E. 17. Sunday is also a crucial day for France, which faces off with Croatia in the FIFA World Cup final.

***Sam Bird was subdued about losing out to Vergne in the drivers’ title following his 9th place finish on Saturday, his lowest points-finishing position of the season. “We knew that this race distance wouldn’t be our race and it just went to show. I don’t have any regrets about the season, honestly it has been a great year,” the DS Virgin driver told e-racing365

***Bird’s teammate Alex Lynn triggered a late-race safety car period after crashing heavily at Turn 5: “We need to do a bit of analysis but it was just a disappointing day in general for the team,” Lynn told e-racing365. “The car is better than it looks [after the accident] actually and we will just swap the casing and put the internals back in.”

***Panasonic Jaguar Racing registered its second non-score of the season after front-row starter Mitch Evans suffered a suspected broken driveshaft off the start line. Evans’ teammate Nelson Piquet stopped immediately after his pit stop when he lost all power, which is believed to have involved a software issue.

***Tom Dillmann told e-racing365 that his career-best finish on Saturday of fourth will help his search for a potential Season Five drive but that it won’t be with Venturi. “”It is done there, so I will talk to other teams and of course today was a good way to prove what I can,” he told e-racing365.

***Mahindra has been given a €2,500 fine for Nick Heidfeld’s unsafe release from his pit during the race. Ironically the German forced his teammate Felix Rosenqvist to stop in the middle of the pit lane to avoid contact. While Heidfeld took his second consecutive sixth place finish, Rosenqvist came home 14th after losing significant time while restarting his car.

***Former Ferrari Formula 1 team principal Marco Mattiaci was an interested visitor to the Brooklyn paddock today. Mattiaci has been linked to a position with Virgin Racing as he currently works as a consultant for Envision Energy, the new majority shareholder of the British-based outfit.

***The penalties given to both Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer for going over the allocated 200kW in qualifying were down to a software error, according to Techeetah team principal Mark Preston. “We made a small update to the code for reliability reasons and that’s what has caught us out just by a very small margin,” Preston told e-racing365.

***E-racing365 understands that some teams have employed a mini ‘cooling house’ system for aiding the preparation and temperature of its Michelin tires this weekend. Techeetah is known to be one of the teams utilizing air-conditioning blowers fed in to gazebos at the rear of its garages.

***The tire cooling process is not in violation of any regulation according to an FIA spokesperson, with the advantage believed to come from attempting to achieve colder minimum pressures prior to use. Techeetah believes it could possibly have been a contributory cause of Jean-Eric Vergne’s qualifying issues in Zurich last month.

***DS Virgin drivers Lynn and Bird raced with new helmet designs on Saturday. Renowned street artist D*Face has also produced a signature Formula E car livery as a show car.

***Techeetah has announced two new partners. Efacec, a global technology company in the field of energy, environment and mobility has joined the team as a new official partner in a three-year deal, while electric vehicle and technology manufacturer ElectraMeccanica has also firmed up a long-term agreement with the Chinese squad.

***The official pre-season test is tentatively scheduled for the week of Oct. 15, with the likelihood of it running from Tuesday to Friday, with a potential media day in the middle of the. The Tuesday start is understood to accommodate FIA World Endurance Championship drivers coming from the Six Hours of Fuji the previous weekend.

***Battery swapping on production cars have begun to accelerate in China recently, with both NIO and Beijing Auto Industry Corporation through its BJEJ subsidiary unveiling plans for battery swap options on all-electric models including the new NIO ES8.

***The concept, which was initially proposed by Tesla as an alternative to charging stations, has been shelved in the U.S., with a greater focus instead on rapid recharging methods.

***Two Chinese automakers have revealed plans to produce EV cars in the coming years, with Zotye and Qoro Autos planning to produce 31 new EV models within the next five years.

John Dagys contributed to this notebook

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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    July 15, 2018 at 2:54 am

    Maybe Dillmann could be a potential candidate for the second Nissan seat, especially since he’s currently racing in the Super Formula championship this year.

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