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Marrakesh Rookie Test Notebook

Notebook from the first ever ABB Formula E Rookie test in Marrakesh…

Photo: Formula E

***The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler rookie duo of Nico Mueller and Nyck de Vries had an enforced delay to their Formula E debuts. “After yesterday’s issues [with Lucas di Grassi’s car] we tried something out to prevent it [from] happening again so we lost about an hour but I only got a few laps in before it drizzled. So, I got my first taste of Formula E in damp conditions and it was special,” said the Audi DTM driver.

***Mercedes factory driver Gary Paffett noted the heavy steering and new aural sensations as standout points of his first sample of Formula E with Venturi today. “The steering took a bit of getting used to because for a car with a relatively low amount of grip it made controlling the car in the corners much harder than I’m used to. Also, the buffeting and wind around the cockpit, as well as the fact you can hear everything is initially quite unusual.”

***New BMW DTM driver Joel Eriksson made an impressive impact on his first Formula E running with DS Virgin and placed P3 and P5 in today’s sessions. ”I really enjoyed it and was actually surprised as it was quicker than I expected, especially with the instant torque,” he said. “I got used to it quite quickly and I loved working with the team. I would like to have a future in Formula E in the future and it worked with my driving style.”

***Bruno Spengler climbed back into a single-seater for the first time since 2004 in Marrakesh today and the Canadian professed to find the experience “good fun.” The BMW DTM driver lost time in the morning with a technical problem but said he was “attracted” to Formula E because it is so new and different.

***Ex-Formula 1 racer Paul di Resta said his first run in a Formula E car dispelled some of the fears other drivers had given him about the series. “I enjoyed it way more than people had led me to believe I was going to as a racing driver, given what I’ve driven in the past,” he said. “I’ve liked what I’ve saw, I’ve liked what I feel. I’m definitely very open and would enjoy racing it I think.”

***One of the biggest challenges for Formula 2 youngster Alexander Albon was fighting against his usual racing instinct. “It’s almost like you have to keep telling yourself ‘no, no, there’s a different way of driving this car’, but it was really good fun,” he said, before adding he would be open to a future in the championship after his maiden test.

***Both Antonio Giovinazzi and Pietro Fittipaldi admitted they were surprised by the amount of power a Formula E car offers after their first tests. “Actually the first power is quite big,” Giovinazzi said. “It’s a lot different from an F1 car or Formula 2. Braking is not like a Formula 1 car. You have less grip, less speed, so it’s completely different. But it was fun to drive.”

***Fittipaldi added: “There was actually quite a good amount of power, so that was surprising. The car runs really well, especially on a street circuit, it’s smooth over bumps and curves and stuff so you can really murder the curves with this car, it’s quite good.”

***Frederic Makowiecki was definitely the most experienced of the Formula E rookie runners as he conducted several days of testing and development of the current Spark Spark-Renault SRT_01E chassis in 2014. The Michelin-favorited test driver said he felt the the advancement in the powertrains was a “huge step” from the original spec powertrain.

***Makowiecki survived an incident in the afternoon session when briefly lost control of his car at Turn 2 and touched the tire wall dislodging his rear wing.

***Techeetah team principal Mark Preston said Makowiecki’s previous experience as a Formula E test driver came as one of the main determining factors in bringing the Porsche factory driver in for the test.

***The new Global Advisory Board, which was established late last year to evaluate the long-term sustainability of the ABB formula E Championship, will meet for the first time the day after the Paris E-Prix in April. “The agenda will look at long range topics over the next 10 and 20 years and how Formula E will be then,”championship boss Alejandro Agag told e-racing365

***Well-known driver manager Enrico Zanarini was spotted in the paddock today, looking after his client Giovinazzi, with ex-Formula One driver Mark Blundell also present. Blundell manages Tom Blomqvist, who scored points in his Formula E debut with Andretti on Saturday.

***Sunday’s six hours’ of running was interrupted by five red flags. Bruno Spengler, Mitsunori Takaboshi, Michael Benyahia and Andrea Caldarelli were responsible for one apiece, while the fifth was called when a dog entered the circuit.

Luke Smith 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 Motorsport.com from 2014-17. Contact Sam

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