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Piquet “Looking Forward” to Tire Management Challenge

Michelin’s softer tire could produce better racing this season, according to Nelson Piquet Jr…

Photo: Michelin

Nelson Piquet Jr. believes the new Michelin tires could produce better racing in the upcoming ABB FIA Formula E Championship season.

The Panasonic Jaguar Racing driver admitted to e-racing365 on several occasions last season that the harder tire used since Season Three was ill-matched to his driving style.

This season’s compound, which has to complete the entire race distance with no pit stops, is softer than the outgoing tire.

“We are closer now to what we had in Season One, tire-wise,” Piquet told e-racing365.

“The tires in Season Three and Four, for me, were just too hard, too sensitive on temperatures.

“There were some weird things happening, you were seeing some slow out laps in qualifying, which doesn’t then make it exciting.”

Most teams have completed race simulations during testing in order to evaluate how best to manage the new Michelin Pilot Sports over an entire race distance of 45 minutes plus one lap.

The new tires are between 2-2.5 kg lighter than their Season Four predecessors, amounting to a weight saving of 9 kg, or almost 20 percent, per set.

“I think having these new tires with a wider window of performance is going to make qualifying more interesting and it is going to make the field a bit closer,” said Piquet.

“Plus the fact that they are softer is going to make the drivers have to be more careful during the race, which is a good change in my opinion. It will make the drivers think and not push it too much.”

Jaguar was one of many teams to carry out pre-season testing at Calafat before the Oct. 1 deadline, and Piquet revealed that it carried out race sims on both the old and new tires.

“We did a race stint the other day with the old tire and then with the new one,” he explained.

“So I did the first with the old tire, the track was clean, but after the end of the second one with the new tires the pieces of rubber all around the track was crazy.

“But that’s good, because in the race you will not only have to manage the energy, but you also have to manage the tires and I’m looking forward to that.”

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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