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Rome Post-Race Notebook

Sam Smith’s post-race notebook from round seven of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship…

Photo: Michelin

***Brendon Hartley conducted his first test for the Porsche Formula E team earlier this month as the German manufacturer continued to put miles on its development car ahead of its Season 6 debut.

***The two-time FIA World Endurance champion will conduct more testing later this week in Spain alongside Neel Jani, who was announced as the team’s first driver last December.

***Mark Webber got his first look at Gen 2 Formula E in Rome yesterday. The Porsche ambassador told e-racing365 that the cars “looked the part, really aggressive, cool and a good handful for the drivers in the varying conditions especially.”

***Mahindra’s Jerome d’Ambrosio re-took the lead of the drivers’ championship after claiming four points for eighth position yesterday. The Mahindra driver leads Antonio Felix da Costa by a point, while Andre Lotterer now places third and Mitch Evans fourth after the Jaguar driver’s victory. A mere 13 points covers the top nine drivers in the latest points standings.

***In the teams’ standings, DS Techeetah took over the lead from Mahindra and Envision Virgin Racing which were previously tied for the top spot. Envision Virgin drops to second after Rome, while Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is now joint-third with Mahindra.

***The final race classification from Rome is still subject to an additional technical check on race winner Mitch Evans’ Jaguar I-Type 3 this week.

***A wishbone from the car will be taken to the FIA in Geneva for what technical delegate Laurent Arnaud described as “dimensions to be checked with reference with the element used at the homologation time during the bulking load test, and with the homologation form.”

***BMW i Andretti Motorsport was handed several penalties over the course of the Rome E-Prix. Alexander Sims suffered a damaged powertrain after hitting the track’s notorious ‘jump’ before Turn 9 on his qualifying lap. The resulting damage meant he took a converted 10-second penalty into the race for changing his inverter, motor and gearbox.

***Antonio Felix da Costa saw his race compromised by a 5-second time penalty for his battery’s state of charge being only 96.7 percent on the dummy grid. This was 0.3% away from the regulatory-specified 97 percent.

***Despite ruing his car being damaged in the opening lap by Jose-Maria Lopez’s GEOX Dragon Penske, Sam Bird paid tribute to his Envision Virgin team after they changed an entire rear suspension assembly on his car during the subsequent red flag.

***Bird, who finished in 11th position, said: “the incident with Lopez could have ended our race if it wasn’t for the red flag and I have to give a huge thanks to all my mechanics for what they did to get my car back on the road and give us the opportunity to still fight for points.”

***Maximilian Guenther said he was “happy with his performance” after qualifying fifth and racing for most of the Rome E-Prix within the top 10. The GEOX Dragon returnee eventually finished in 19th place after taking penalties for speeding under Full Course Yellows and not using his second mandatory Attack Mode.

***Mahindra’s Pascal Wehrlein saw his 9th-place qualifying effort pushed back to a 14th-place grid start after being caught speeding under a red flag in Free Practice 2. The German driver finished the race in 10th position.

***The chances of Sao Paulo finally getting a slot on the Formula E schedule are believed to still be alive. A party of officials visited the Rome E-Prix this weekend is understood to have held discussions about a possible Season 6 event.

***Should a race be scheduled in the provisional calendar, which is expected to be issued by the FIA World Motor Sport Council on June 4, a Brazilian race is likely to make up a South American double-header with Santiago next January/February.

***Newly-appointed managing director of the Mercedes EQ Formula E Team, Ian James, says that the final team structure is still being worked on for Season 6. “We’ve got some time around that and we will start to crystallize that after some more testing,” he said.

***Petronas Mercedes Formula 1 Team Principal and CEO, Toto Wolff, has a directorship with the Mercedes-Benz Formula E Limited company that was set up back in 2017. Mercedes Marketing chief Jens Thiemer, credited as being instrumental in Mercedes coming to Formula E, no longer holds a directorship.

***BMW i Andretti Motorsport will commence its first Season 6 test “very shortly” according to BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt. “Soon we will hit the track with our Season 6 package, we are close and we are on schedule,” Marquardt told e-racing365.

***GEOX Dragon technical director Nicolas Maduit confirmed that the team’s testing program for next season is likely to begin in July. “All our parts are in manufacturing and we are going to receive it soon to assemble the car and start testing on the track in July when we will start,” he said.

***Although Maduit would not be drawn on the team’s key suppliers, e-racing365 understands that GEOX Dragon has recently stopped working with MGI Consultancy which is owned and run by former F1 designer Mike Gascoyne.

***The on-going saga of pass allocations and access to and from team pit garages continued in Rome with strict enforcements and checks throughout the event. E-racing365 reported in February that some teams were rumoured to have become creative with their allocations.

***An official FIA bulletin issued by Pit Lane Delegate Karl-Heinz Stegner stated: ‘Only Staff with operational passes [yellow] are allowed to work on the car (and in relationship to the car) in the garage working area.’

***The Volkswagen Group is looking at purchasing a significant stake in Chinese automotive giant JAC Motors. The Reuters news agency reported last week that VW, which is the largest non-Chinese manufacturer in the country, is looking to boost its ownership within the world’s largest car market in the coming years.

***The Guangzhou Automotive Corporation and NIO have confirmed that they are planning a round of funding of the EV company they founded together in 2017. Known as GAC NIO New Energy Automotive, the alliance plans to sell cars under a fresh EV company name.

***Six-time Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Sir Chris Hoy drove a Gen 2 car in Rome on Saturday. Hoy finished 17th in the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours with the Algarve PRO team and is currently competing in the Caterham UK championship with the new 420R.

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

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Pete

    April 14, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Is the technical check on Mitch Evan’s car just a routine thing or because a problem was found post race?

    • Avatar

      Sam Smith

      April 14, 2019 at 12:11 pm

      Unclear at present. It sounds like a routine thing. Last season similar things were done but mainly on dampers – Vergne at Paris and D’Ambrosio after Zurich. We will keep our ear to the ground.

      Regards
      SS

  2. Avatar

    Kris G.

    April 15, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    What about that rumor that Ford and Dragon would be partnering for season six or seven? No words about Ford involvement in the championship anymore…

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