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Paris Friday Notebook

Sam Smith’s notebook from the Les Invalides circuit on the eve of the Paris E-Prix…

Photo: Audi Sport

***Felipe Massa lightly damaged his Venturi VFE05 during the shakedown session held this afternoon. The Brazilian locked his front wheels at Turn 10 and glanced the wall damaging his front bodywork section.

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler will embark on a three-day test of its car for next season at the Mallorca test track next week. Lucas di Grassi will conduct at least one of the days in what is believed to be the first time the Season Six powertrain has run in its entirety.

***Daniel Abt has already carried out some work on aspects of the fresh powertrain but will not attend the Mallorca test next week. Benoit Treluyer could also be commandeered for the test which begins on Thursday.

***Abt believes that next season will see the cars get even closer on pace. “I think the level we have already is so high, the technology is so advanced, the software is so advanced, even the teams that in Season Two or Three were a bit behind, they’re all on the same level so it’s very hard to make a difference,” he told e-racing365.

***A new CEO for Formula E could be announced before the Monaco E-Prix. A search for a new leader, which was initially undertaken by the Spencer Stuart Inc. company in Chicago, has been ongoing since Alejandro Agag took up the role of chairman in December.

***Tim Malyon, a former trackside engineer for BMW Motorsport in Formula E, has been appointed as the FIA’s head of research. The new role, within the safety department at the FIA’s Geneva office, has been created to oversee the growing number of safety research projects undertaken by the FIA.

***Malyon will also be responsible for the FIA’s research groups and associated working groups, with a specific brief centered around accident investigation.

***Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird says that accidents early on in the last two races will not affect his thinking heading in to the Paris E-Prix tomorrow. “I’ve been involved in two incidents in the last two races which weren’t my fault but this happens in motor racing sometimes, so it is what it is,” he told e-racing365.

***Subtle changes to the Paris track have been made compared to the previous setups at Les Invalides. Slight changes to the definition of the walls at the final corner means more of the inside curb is available. Some of the braking boards have also been moved from right to left as well.

***Adapted connector boxes being used by teams at the front of their Gen 2 chassis have appeared in recent races. At the front of the car the “trunk” of the wiring loom has to branch out to become individual leads to the various sensors used by the teams.

***Teams are terminating the sensor looms in the compact mountable box and plug sensor leads into it. The boxes are not a spec part but something each manufacturer produces. Venturi, HWA Racelab and Audi are known to be using them.

***Stoffel Vandoorne will head from Paris to his FIA World Endurance Championship debut at Spa with SMP Racing next weekend. The HWA Racelab driver told e-racing365 that his former Formula 1 teammate Fernando Alonso contacted him last week by way of congratulation.

***Vandoorne said Alonso told him “that the [WEC] events are nice and he has found it really enjoyable”. “I am looking forward to racing in my first WEC race at Spa,” Vandoorne added.

***Carlos Tavares, the CEO and Chairman of the PSA Group, will be on-site in Paris tomorrow. Tavares himself has extensive experience in rallying and some circuit racing stretching back to the 1980s.

***Nissan e.dams team principal Jean-Paul Driot visited the paddock yesterday for the first time since Marrakesh. The founder of the highly decorated French team DAMS has been fighting serious illness in recent years.

***BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt says that he is not overly concerned by the ongoing situation regarding Nissan’s alleged application of its powertrain in Season Five so far.

“There is nothing really from our side that we have to do other than believe in the FIA and first of all their capabilities and secondly to ensure that, as in any series that you compete in, it is done in the right way. But so far, I have not seen with the FIA anything that would really make me worry,” Marquardt said.

***Archie Hamilton, the grandson of famed 1950s Jaguar factory driver Duncan Hamilton, will make his Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY debut in the VIP car tomorrow.

***Hamilton said he was “eager to get out there because the racing is pretty fierce and you need a different attitude. It will be flat-out from the get-go really so I am looking forward to the experience.”

***Wet weather that was predicted for Saturday has since dissipated with now only a 20 percent chance of showers between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. in the Les Invalides area on race day.

***However, of more concern is forecast of strong winds which could affect track conditions with many overhanging trees in the first sector in particular. Additionally, the temporary bridges around the circuit are subject to strict health and safety guidelines.

***Formula E and Virtually Live have announced a pioneering new racing game called Virtually Live Ghost Racing: Formula E. The game sees players able to race Formula E drivers in real time via “innovative telemetry technology.”

***Markus Tellenbach, Virtually Live’s CEO, said: “It was our vision to create an immersive racing experience far beyond what existing racing games offer. Together with our partner – Formula E – we accomplished a quantum leap in gaming full of innovation, including the world’s first in-game live race commentary laying the foundation for Virtually Live’s success in the fast-growing esports industry.”

***Several drivers were spotted in the Paris paddock today including former DTM driver Adrien Tambay, ex-LMP2 driver Jonathan Cochet and Venturi test driver Norman Nato.

***Former Trulli Formula E driver Vitantonio Liuzzi is back on driver steward duties for the first time this season. The Italian has performed the role on four previous occasions in Seasons Three and Four.

***German actress Diane Kruger is scheduled to be a VIP guest tomorrow. Kruger has appeared in several blockbuster movies including Troy, Inglourious Basterds, National Treasure and the movie based on racing-themed comic book Michel Vaillant.

***NIO’s Tom Dillmann spent time with children at the Armand Trousseau Hospital in Paris yesterday. Dillmann distributed souvenirs and talked to the kids about his role in Formula E.

Photo: NIO

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

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Mr. KnowItAll

    April 27, 2019 at 8:13 am

    I wonder why you didn’t mention that HWA and Venturi switched from carbon fibre to steel driveshafts following the recent reliability problems.

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