This weekend’s Berlin E-Prix will be the toughest of the season for the new iteration of Michelin tires according to the company’s Formula E manager.
Serge Grisin expects the unique concrete surface of the former airport track to prove challenging for drivers to manage their tires, but believes the rejigged event timetable will help teams prepare for the race conditions.
The event will run to a unique timetable so the TV coverage does not clash with the build-up to Saturday evening’s DFB-Pokal Final soccer match in the Berlin Olympiastadion, played between RF Leipzig and Bayern Munich.
Two Free Practice sessions will take place on Friday afternoon while qualifying moves to Saturday morning ahead of a 1 p.m. local time race start, instead of the usual 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. kickoffs.
“One change that can help the drivers will be the special timetable of this race, with FP1 on Friday in the afternoon, more or less at the same time than the usual timing of the race,” Grisin told e-racing365.
“The Friday afternoon’s Free Practice is consequently likely to be representative of the race conditions, if the weather is stable over the two days, and better than the usual timetable when FP1 is on at 7:30 a.m.
Grisin also stated that the track surface will have a significant baring on the running at Tempelhof, with just one set of tires now available during the race itself unlike previous seasons.
“The surface is particularly abrasive, so we expect this will be the toughest round of the campaign in terms of wear,” said Grisin.
“This is the first season when the drivers have just one set of tires for the entire race, but we feel reasonably confident about the Michelin Pilot Sport’s ability to deliver lasting performance.”
The Michelin tires’ pressure and temperature were the center of a protest by Mahindra Racing in the last round at Monaco earlier this month.
E-racing365 understands that the minimum pressure could again change for the on-track running this weekend.
Michelin would not be drawn to provide comment on the rules, which are mandated by the FIA throughout the season.