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Sanya Thursday Notebook

Sam Smith’s notebook from Thursday at the first ever Sanya E-Prix on the island of Hainan…

Photo: e-racing365

***DS Techeetah sporting manager Pedro de la Rosa says that that the Franco-Chinese team protested the sanction against Sam Bird because it believed it to be too lenient.

***“We thought Sam got away with a very light penalty considering he hit, punctured and made André retire from the race he had been leading for 28 laps,” said de la Rosa. “However, we fully accept the final decision from the FIA and look forward to Sanya.”

***The provisional calendar for Season Six of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is almost in place, e-racing365 has learned. New races in Seoul and the UK will be part of the draft which is expected to consist of at least 13 venues and 15 rounds with double-headers planned for the opening and closing races at Ad Diriyah in Dec. 2019 and London in July 2020.

***The traditional three-day pre-season test at Valencia is set to continue this fall. A date of Oct. 15-18 has been provisionally drafted for the official test days which again are likely to run from Tuesday to Friday with one day kept free for media asset collation and other pre-season preparation events.

***The test will be the first public appearance for both the Porsche and Mercedes EQ teams as they join the championship for Season Six. Mercedes EQ is believed to be planning its first development day test in the coming weeks, while Porsche will continue its running in Spain next month.

***Nissan e.dams team will begin its first Season Six on-track development shortly, according to technical director Vincent Gaillardot.

***“It will start soon,” Gaillardot told e-racing365. “I think it was important to have some better feedback from the first races of this season. Like all the other teams we have dyno test sessions, etc we can do before hand and it makes sense to try to move the track test right to the end of the allocated period.”

***Sebastien Buemi says that he will continue fighting for Season Five honours despite registering just 15 points from the first five races so far.

***“I’m going to fight for anything, for the championship, until it’s there but you have to be realistic,” Buemi told e-racing365. “We have seen what Audi did last year, it was a bit the same. I believe the day it starts to go well, it will go. But [for now] the races are going on and on and we don’t score.”

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E Project Leader Tristan Summerscale says that an 80 kg minimum driver weight limit should be brought into force “as soon as is possible.”

***”It is a subject which is being raised more and more often and it makes sense to align with other series on this subject so light drivers don’t have an advantage,” Summerscale told e-racing365.

***NIO’s technical chief Paul Fickers says that his team welcomes the planned Season Seven update to the current Gen 2 cars.

***“From a spectators’ or TV point of view it makes sense to do a refreshment in a similar way we did from Season Two to Season Three. The rules are defined so I don’t think it will be anything drastic, more cosmetic stuff really,” Fickers told e-racing365.

***On-board footage made available after the Hong Kong E-Prix shows that Robin Frijns did hit the back of Sebastien Buemi’s Nissan exiting Turn 2. However, it is believed that Buemi’s suspension failure occurred just prior to the contact. Both drivers said after the race that neither felt there was significant contact between the cars.

***Several drivers crammed in simulator sessions to learn the new Sanya track between last weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races at Sebring and leaving for Hainan this week.

***Alexander Sims, Antonio Felix da Costa, Sebastien Buemi, Sam Bird, Jose Maria Lopez and Felipe Nasr were all in action in Florida last week.

***GEOX Dragon drivers Lopez and Nasr took the opportunity to use the fresh in-the-loop simulator hardware at the team’s new Silverstone HQ earlier this week.

***DS Techeetah owner and Formula E investor Sheng Li will make a rare visit to the paddock this weekend to support his team. Li recently featured e-racing365’s ‘Power 12’ article. He will be joined by Alec Ho, the GM of DS China who will also be on-site.

***Roger Penske has publicly congratulated Formula E for its emergence as a major championship in recent years during a recent Motor Sport magazine podcast.

***“Jay was one of the early adopters and I am seeing him grow that and he is very enthused with that,” said Penske. “I’m glad to see we have one car now and they are not jumping from car to car which I think makes a big difference. I’m quite excited to see it and I congratulate on where the series is going.”

***DS Techeetah has announced another team partner for the weekend. The Atlantis Sanya luxury hotel will welcome 150 team guests who will enjoy the race from its 48th floor, the only location that the full track can be viewed from.

***NIO has announced a new two-race partnership with Miba, one of the world’s leading strategic partners to the engine and automotive industry, effective for this weekend and next month’s Rome E-Prix.

***Volkswagen has said that it could leave the German Association of the Automotive Industry [Verband der Automobilindustrie] next year. The move comes after VW’s CEO, Herbert Diess, criticised the VDA and called for it to act now on creating a “true electromobility master plan” for the industry.

***The Hozon New Energy brand, a parent company of NETA EV, a significant EV brand in China, is opening its new design centre in Beijing today. Delegates and designers from the company recently visited the Hong Kong E-Prix.

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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