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Rome Post-Race Notebook

Sam Smith’s post-race notebook after the first ever Formula E Rome E-Prix…

Photo: Formula E

***The investigation into Lucas di Grassi’s pit stop saw no further action taken after the race. The stewards were initially concerned that the crotch belts were fixed in place prior to the Brazilian entering the car. This though was proved not to be the case after video was examined and the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler team gave a demonstration of how they conducted the maneuver to strap di Grassi in.

***Alex Tai talked of his satisfaction with the all-round package that Virgin and DS Performance has this season despite the fact that other teams such as Audi and Panasonic Jaguar Racing have radically different powertrains compared to Season Three. “I’m very proud of the work that DS has done for us and the systems we have now are very robust and efficient. We have made the best of what we have got,” Tai told e-racing365.

***Andre Lotterer says he “learned a lot” in today’s first ever Rome E-Prix. The Techeetah driver scored his second podium in just his seventh ABB FIA Formula E Championship start and believes there is more to come in the final races of the season. “I’m still trying to gauge myself a little and I think I could be a bit more aggressive in the middle of races,” he said.

***Sebastien Buemi doesn’t know the problem that caused him to be down on pace in the second half of the race. “It’s just difficult to know why I didn’t have any pace in the second car,” the Renault e.dams driver told e-racing 365. “Maybe the car did not regenerate properly, we’ll now look at the data.”

***Tom Blomqvist’s race was compromised by early contact with Luca Filippi’s NIO car on lap two after the Andretti lost positions at the first corner. “Filippi tried to pass me in to the first corner and spun me around and I went backwards in to the wall,” he told e-racing365 after eventually finishing 15th. “So I came back last and tried to stick with the strategy but I ended up having to save a lot of energy and I actually ran out coming in to the pitlane.”

***Filippi described the contact with Blomqvist coming after “a fair move” from the NIO driver. Filippi finished 13th in his home E-Prix and was not affected by the incident. “Maybe it was a little bit aggressive but I was totally alongside and I don’t think there was anything really unfair in that move.”

***Jerome d’Ambrosio was penalized for crossing the finish line twice at the end of his qualifying session, and will serve a two-place grid penalty at his next race. In addition, he has received one penalty point and a fine of 1000 euros (c. 1235 USD). D’Ambrosio revealed that he had been told to ignore the first checkered flag.

***Antonio Felix da Costa was also been reprimanded for the qualifying incident that took he and Jose Maria Lopez out of the running. The Andretti driver exited his pit box as Lopez was passing, damaging both cars before they had even taken to the track.

***The Portuguese driver will be forced to serve a ten-place grid drop in his next race while the team has been issued a 10,000 euro (c. 12,348 USD) fine.

***The start of the fifth season of Formula E now looks set to start on December 15 with the inaugural Riyadh E-Prix in Saudi Arabia. The date could be confirmed by Formula E Holdings shortly before the calendar is submitted to the FIA at the World Motorsport Council which is to be held at Manilla in the Philippines this June.

***Toyota will not consider a Formula E entry until battery technology is opened up, according to one senior Formula E figure. The Japanese company, which is committed to the FIA World Endurance Championship until mid-2019, is expected to at least look at the third-generation concept of Formula E when it is formed. “They could be interested but they absolutely need to evidence technical excellence particularly in the battery,” the source told e-racing365.

***Porsche’s Andreas Seidl was in the paddock today as he and the Porsche Formula E team continue preparations for a Season Six entry into the series. It was the second E-Prix visited by Seidl after he also attended the Monaco race last May. “This event is impressive and exactly where Formula E should be. You get the sense of a great occasion in an iconic city, so I guess we can’t wait to be part of it all,” Seidl told e-racing365.

***Felipe Massa is still keen to race in Formula E in the near future. The former Ferrari and Williams Grand Prix winner was in attendance today as a guest of the championship. “I am still evaluating what I will do in racing but it is clear Formula E is a strong option for me. I will see what might be possible but for now no news,” Massa told e-racing365. Massa briefly tested for Panasonic Jaguar Racing in February 2017 at the Racalmuto test track in Sicily.

***Some manufacturers are staying in Rome until Monday to attend the Manufacturers Advisory Board which discusses future motorsport and automotive topics. Among those taking part will be Magneti Marelli and Volvo through its performance arm Polestar.

***The first ever Global Advisory Board meeting is scheduled to sit at the Paris E-Prix later this month. Alain Prost, Christiana Figueres, Alejandro Agag and other leading Formula E figures are part of the mission to identify and provide input and expert advice on topics such as sustainability, media and business.

***Frederic Espinos, Formula E Championship Manager for the FIA, will become Formula E Holdings Sporting Director and replace Benoit Dupont. Espinos, who has extensive experience in motorsport, is expected to have a more expansive role than Dupont had. It is, as yet, unclear when Espinos will begin his new position.

***Luca Filippi and Gerry Hughes received awards at the inaugural Confartigianto E-Motion Motori Awards in Rome over the weekend. Hughes received his for his lifetime contribution to engineering while Filippi got the Drivers’ award for his achievements in professional motorsport.

***Formula E partner Allianz screened a new documentary about the future of mobility at the E-Village on Saturday evening.

***Among the VIPs at the first Rome E-Prix today were Albert II, Prince of Monaco, and Rupert Stadler, Chairman of Audi. Stadler was taken for a handful of laps in the new Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo.

Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report

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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