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Santiago Post-Race Notebook

Sam Smith’s post-race news and notes from the first-ever Santiago E-Prix…

Photo: Formula E

***Race winner Jean-Eric Vergne said his success in the inaugural Santiago E-Prix justified his signing for Techeetah in the summer of 2016. “When I first joined the team everyone said I was mad and crazy for leaving DS Virgin Racing,” he said. “We built this team from scratch so it is very satisfying as I put a lot of energy in to this team.”

***Third-placed Sebastien Buemi has described Nelson Piquet Jr’s lunge at Turn 3, in which the Brazilian locked-up and gently nudged the tech-pro barrier. “[He was] not calculating the risk he was taking,” the Renault e.dams driver said. “He braked so late I had to open the door and he went straight into the wall and I was quite shocked by the move.”

***DS Virgin’s Alex Lynn told e-racing365 that a gearbox issue curtailed his race while he was sitting in a comfortable seventh place just after teammate Sam Bird went through to sixth position. The issue is suspected to be similar to that which affected Bird’s car during both the Hong Kong and Marrakesh weekends.

***Bird bemoaned a lack of straight-line speed in his DS Virgin DSV-03 and believed that had he enjoyed more clear air he could have challenged for victory. “I just can’t get close enough in a straight line, we just don’t have the ability of the other cars,” he said. “It is abundantly clear that is our weakness.”

***Allan McNish has explained that Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler does not yet know the details of the problem which stopped Lucas di Grassi’s car on the out-lap. “There is always a question mark until you know the answer,” he told e-racing365. “There were no warning and it just shut down. Either way, it is a problem we have no obvious answer for right now.”

***Luca Filippi started from the pit lane in a tactical move after his qualifying was compromised by a trip down the escape road when he locked his brakes. The Italian’s race was affected by an ill-judged move on Tom Blomqvist which led to him mirroring his qualifying excursion.

***Filippi’s NIO Formula E Team teammate Oliver Turvey lost power exiting the pits after his car swap and was forced to complete a full reset on his car. It was the second race in succession that the British driver has suffered a reliability issue while in a potential points-scoring position.

***Not only did Jean-Eric Vergne take pole and win the race, but he and his crew set the fastest ever car swap time in the new format in which there is no minimum pit time.

***E-racing365 understands that a third group manufacturer test for the new ‘Gen 2’ Formula E car is being considered by the FIA. Two tests are currently scheduled in Spain at the Monteblanco and Calafat tracks.

***A possible third test would likely be a Michelin tire test and is something that the FIA was originally proposing to teams when it started to form its test strategy last year. Another group test a month before the start of Season Five, which is likely to be early December 2018, could also still take place.

***Plans for the future of the current cars beyond their racing life are still undecided. It seems increasingly likely that most of the leased cars will be offered to teams and their partners for their own promotional or personal collection purposes.

***Some teams have admitted to e-racing365 that they will increase the use of coded messages in their pit-to-car communications. The move comes after the series has increased the amount of material used in a highly-popular highlights video centered around the comments and analytical conversations made by engineers and drivers during the race.

***Some Porsche personnel were spotted in the Santiago paddock, including former LMP1 team manager Amiel Lindesay. The German manufacturer is currently forming its team ahead of making an announcement regarding a more detailed timeframe of preparations and development for its Season Six entry into the championship.

***The Santiago event and circuit came in for widespread acclaim from the drivers over the course of the event. “I think in general it has been one of the best circuits and venues we have visited,” Mitch Evans told e-racing365. “It was a great challenge and a track that was very rewarding when you got it right.”

***Former DS Virgin driver Jaime Alguesuari was back in the paddock working for the Fox Sports network. The Spaniard also did some broadcasting work for UK TV in Season Two.

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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