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New York City Thursday Notebook

Sam Smith’s Thursday notebook from the New York City season finale…

Photo: Envision Virgin Racing

***A first ever Formula E race in Japan could take a significant step closer next week as senior city chamber of commerce officials meet in Yokohama to discuss the possibility of a race in 2021.

***E-racing365 can reveal that the meeting will take place on Tuesday and that it could give an initial green light to a formal feasibility study to be carried out close to the Nissan Motors headquarters in the port area on the banks of the Katabira River.

***Nissan’s global motorsport director Michael Carcamo has stated that Sebastien Buemi’s incidents in Santiago and Sanya, where the Swiss driver suffered unusual braking episodes that caused accidents, were not related to the manufacturer’s unique twin-MGU powertrain design.

“No, I wouldn’t say that at all,” Carcamo told e-racing365 when asked if it was a contributing factor. “I think that each case was individual and I don’t think we can attribute it to the system architecture.”

***Formula E is still looking to again run a rookie test next season although a venue for is still to be finalized. The 2019-20 in-season testing will likely be reduced from three days to one, and it is understood that Mexico City would be the likely venue for such a test. It remains unknown if Formula E will continue with its female test drive initiative which took place in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, in December.

***Porsche driver Neel Jani believes that the recently confirmed raft of sporting and technical regulation changes for 2019-20 will only aid the German manufacturer as it embarks on its first ever all-electric race program.

“The more regulation changes there are for next year, the better for us. It’s quite simple I would say, because everyone else needs to start from zero too,” Jani told e-racing365. “From that point of view, it doesn’t really harm us that much, or hurt us, because anyway we don’t have any [race experience].”

***Mahindra Racing is believed to be close to re-signing Jerome d’Ambrosio for a second season with the Indian team with negotiations understood to be at an advanced stage. Pascal Wehrlein is set to likely continue as d’Ambrosio’s teammate.

***BMW DTM driver Joel Eriksson tested for Andretti in a Gen 1 car last year after completing a shakedown test for the team. Eriksson also took part on the season four rookie test at Marrakesh in 2018 where he drove for the DS Virgin Racing squad.

***GEOX Dragon driver Max Guenther says that racing in Formula E next season is his ‘highest priority’ as he readies to complete his rookie season this weekend. The German is in discussions with several teams about a drive for Season Six.

“Obviously I want to be in Formula E again next year and this is absolutely [my] highest priority and I want to race in this championship for the next few years, clearly,” Guenther told e-racing365. “I haven’t signed anything for next year. It is all open and I will see after New York what will happen and where I end up.”

***Envision Virgin Racing Is still undecided on whether it will employ a formal test and reserve driver next season. Managing director Sylvain Filippi says that a third driver is not “vital” due to the team’s lack of testing opportunities as an Audi customer.

“We are in the position where it is not vital because of few testing chances,” Filippi tolde-racing365. “Our simulator will come on stream this summer so potentially we could have someone use that for added data but we haven’t really seriously discussed anything quite yet.”

***The countdown procedure for Full Course Yellow periods has been expanded slightly for next season.

***The regulation now states that: “there will be a five-second countdown by radio from race control to drivers and teams. When the countdown is at zero, the FCY boards and flags will be shown on the track and all cars must immediately slow down. The maximum time to reduce speed to 50 km/h is five seconds.’

***There will be also a five second countdown from FCY back to green flag and only the speed (not the distance between the cars) will be policed by race control.

***In other additions to 2019-20 regulations, there has also been clarification on the order of cars that will be classified. All cars must now cross the finish line on track to be classified.

***The FIA has decreed that ‘charging the RESS [battery] under Parc Ferme conditions can only be carried out with express authorisation granted beforehand by the technical delegate and the stewards.’

***An MGU has been clarified in the new set of technical regulations issued by the FIA after manufacturers requested a clear definition following the twin-MGU saga involving Nissan e.dams.

***The new regulation stipulates that an MGU is: “a rotating electromechanical power converter with one stationary element (stator) and one rotating element (rotor). It transforms electric power into mechanical power and vice-versa. An MGU is for power conversion and not energy storage.”

***A new procedure for the allocation of team passes has been mandated to return to a similar system as used in the first few seasons. This comes after some teams used elaborate swapping techniques between different departments in order to maximize some areas of expertise within their squads.

***Several teams and drivers appeared at last weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Mahindra ran most of its Season Six powertrain with former hillclimb record holder Nick Heidfeld, while Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler drivers Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt also both attended over the weekend, as did BMW driver Alexander Sims.

***Journalist Mark Hacking will drive the VIP Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY car this weekend. Hacking has previously competed in VLN and Ferrari Challenge races.

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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