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Rome Friday Notebook

Sam Smith’s notebook on the eve of the second Rome E-Prix……

Photo: Nissan NISMO

***Nissan’s Michael Carcamo said that the Nissan e.dams team will continue to give the FIA access to its current powertrain and data after recent discussions between the FIA and manufacturers regarding the application of Nissan’s twin-MGU powertrain set-up.

***Responding to a question posed by e-racing365 today in the pre-event Press Conference, Carcamo said: “We’re very happy with the process and we have been following up with any questions about the homologation process, the powertrain has been homologated and we will continue that access and continue to innovate.”

***Carcamo would not answer the question of whether Nissan would be forced to revert to a single motor for the future should dual-MGU set-ups be outlawed, as requested by rival manufacturers recently. The topic of how Nissan is applying its Gen 2 powertrain is known to have been discussed at length once again during the regular manufacturer meeting held at races on Thursday evening.

***Pascal Wehrlein said he felt a “real amazement” when his Mahindra was overtaken by Sebastien Buemi’s Nissan despite being on the attack mode while Buemi was shown to be on the regular 200kW power figure.

***Wehrlein told e-racing that “the Nissan was on another level and clearly they have something different. There is nothing you can do on the straights, it just goes and goes”

***Dilbagh Gill says that he is “in the market for drivers to be part of the Mahindra squad” for next season. Current driver Wehrlein is believed to have an exit clause in his contract should a Formula One opportunity become available.

***Panasonic Jaguar Racing team boss James Barclay wouldn’t comment to e-racing365 on an incident which is believed to have taken place at a testing facility in Italy last summer which damaged one of the then pre-homologated powertrains.

***E-racing365 reported on, but did not specify the manufacturer that suffered the incident, in June. It remains unknown if this occurrence significantly affected the team in the first phase of the current season due to any knock-on consequences.

***The local weather forecast remains variable for tomorrow in Rome with some local reports indicating a 70% chance of showers between the race time of 4-5pm.

***HWA Racelab Team Principal Ulrich Fritz told e-racing365 that the team still has some reservations regarding the multiple driveshaft issues it has faced in recent events.

***The driveshafts, which are externally sourced from a third party supplier, meant that the team were “not sure if we can directly sort things out for this race already,” said Fritz. “But we are working on it, we think we have found one of the reasons. We think we have eliminated it but we are not sure if it is enough.”

***The new Michelin Pilot Sport tire has never raced in Rome, but Michelin’s Formula E project leader Serge Grisin said that “the data we have collected so far this season, and from what we saw last year in Italy, suggest that wear rates will be quite low and in keeping with those seen at the majority of the circuits visited by Formula E.”

***E-racing365 can reveal that the GEOX Dragon team suffered chronic issues that curtailed its previous outing at the Sanya E-Prix. Felipe Nasr suffered a DCDC electrical failure on his car, while Jose-Maria Lopez is believed to have had a terminal Controller Area Network [CAN] problem.

***CAN issues are effectively aspects of the car’s software not corresponding with each other. With the cars having travelled direct from Sanya to Rome, the team has a limited amount of time to try to fix the issue ahead of on-track activity.

***ABB chief Ulrich Spiesshoffer says that the championship partner considers Southeast Asia as a key area of growth for Formula E in the future. “We are well positioned in South America, but Southeast Asia is another place [to look at]. If you think about markets like Indonesia and Australia, they are all very interesting for us [in the] long-term,” he told e-racing365.

***Formula E has engaged the services of well-known signage specialist and former GT team owner Hexis for a new sustainable branding and trackside signage at race events, working together with global branding supplier CSM Live – using non-PVC material to reduce plastic production and waste.

***Trackside signage issues in recent wet events have seen some of the banners peel away from walls. In addition, some cars have tagged the banners by clipping perimeter walls, with Mitch Evans getting one tangled in his cockpit area during the early stages of the Sanya E-Prix.

***His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco got behind the wheel of Venturi’s ambitious ‘Antarctica’ vehicle last month. The first ever electric polar exploration vehicle completed 42 kilometres [26 miles] in British Colombia.

***Speaking of the experience, the Prince said: “I found the Antarctica an absolute pleasure to drive: it responded very sensitively to changes in power or direction, and the traction was really good. We are on the right path in terms of developing the vehicle for its future uses.”

***Former technical director of the Aguri Formula E team, Peter McCool, returned to the paddock for the first time since the end of Season 1. McCool went on to establish his own technology company called SHAPE Machining which provides precision composite machined tooling to the motorsport, automotive and aerospace industries.

***Denis Coderre, who was instrumental in bringing Formula E to Montreal in 2017, hosted parts of the FIA Smart City Forum which e-racing365 attended today.

***Coderre was joined by Mayor of Brussels Philippe Close, who gave a Key Note speech on the Policies for Cities of the Future.

***Former NIO driver Luca Filippi is doing media work for the Mediaset broadcaster tomorrow. Fillipi, who completed several Gen 2 test days for NIO last August, will be a special pundit and pit lane reporter during the sessions.

***Award-winning actor Ewan McGregor will be a guest at the Rome E-Prix this Saturday. The Scot is a noted motorsport enthusiast and has filmed several motorbike adventures over the last two decades including The Long Way Round and The Long Way Down with Charlie Boorman.

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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