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Valencia Friday Notebook

Sam Smith’s notebook from the final day of Formula E testing at Valencia…

Photo: Formula E

***Panasonic Jaguar Racing covered the most ground over three days of testing at Valencia with a total of 876 miles completed.

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler had the second-highest distance of 821 miles, ahead of DS Techeetah on 755. Meanwhile, series debutant HWA Racelab accumulated 544 miles in its first-ever running with the Venturi VFE05 package.

***Williams Formula 1 test driver Oliver Rowland, who e-racing365 revealed as Alexander Albon’s Valencia test replacement, completed 49 laps on Friday afternoon for his first seat time in the No. 22 Nissan e.dams IM01 at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

***Nissan Global Motorsport boss Michael Carcamo stated that the team did have reserve drivers available but wouldn’t disclose precisely who they were. “We actually had several reserve drivers but it just wasn’t anticipated at the time, as it happened very late,” he said.

***Nissan has a week to nominate a full-season replacement for Albon should the Thai-British driver leave the team, as expected. Albon, who is currently second in the FIA Formula 2 standings, was originally announced as a Nissan Formula E driver four weeks ago.

***Dragon is the only other squad that is yet to complete its Season Five lineup. The American team is expected to confirm either Maximilian Guenther or Antonio Fuoco early next month.

***Three in-season tests are set to take place in Season Five at Ad Diriyah, Marrakesh and Mexico City. The first will be open to female drivers on December 16, while the annual rookie test will again take place in Morocco on January 13. A third test is likely to be scheduled for February 17.

***Filming days apart, Formula E teams will be unable to test between Valencia and first practice of the Ad Diriyah E-Prix in December. The cars and freight for the Saudi Arabian season opener are scheduled to leave on November 20.

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler is using the same active brake supplier the German manufacturer used for its LMP1 program. The Munich-based LSP Innovative Automotive Systems GmbH company now supplies the Formula E team’s IBSe ‘brake-by-wire’ system. Although the LMP1 system was hydraulic compared to the electronic package used in the Audi e-tron FE05, some of the software is believed to be similar.

***Most Formula E manufacturers are believed to be using the LSP-supplied IBSe package. Only DS Performance is known to have developed its own bespoke in-house brake-by-wire system.

***E-racing365 understands that Formula E is in talks with the BBC and YouTube about showing races next season. The BBC talks, which are likely to come to a conclusion by the end of this month, are understood to be about coverage on the British broadcaster’s ‘red button’ option.

***Formula E has announced that Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) will continue to broadcast each round of the championship for a further two seasons across the Indian sub-continent, reaching homes across multiple countries including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

***New Envision Virgin Racing signing Robin Frijns has been reunited with Chris Gorne, his former engineering head at the Andretti team. Team principal Sylvain Filippi described Frijns as “an extremely driven and motivated guy. Don’t be fooled by his sometimes super-chilled attitude because he is very driven.”

***A dedicated Audi Sport engineer is working with the Envision Virgin team at Valencia this week. E-racing365 understands that Audi’s Formula E project manager Tristan Summerscale has a technical overview of the Silverstone-based team’s progress.

***NIO team boss Gerry Hughes believes Tom Dillmann has “injected a new level of energy into the team.” Dillmann gets his first full-time opportunity with the Chinese squad this season after sporadic outings for Venturi in seasons three and four. “Tom is intelligent, articulate and naturally quick and makes a really good pairing with Oliver,” said Hughes.

***NIO has confirmed that it delivered 1,766 of its ES8 electric road cars last month. The Chinese manufacturer’s CEO Xie Dongying indicated to Chinese media yesterday that 10,000 could be delivered by the end of 2018. Another NIO model, the ES6, is scheduled to be revealed in mid-December.

***Britsh Formula Three race winner Jamie Chadwick was an interested observer at Valencia on Friday. The 20-year-old, who was present as a guest of NIO, is known to be speaking to several parties about taking part in the Ad Diriyah test in Saudi Arabia.

***Rebellion Racing LMP1 driver Thomas Laurent is known to be looking for a seat at the Marrakesh rookie test in January. The 20-year-old French driver has no single-seater experience as he transitioned to sports cars direct from karting, but he quickly forged a strong reputation by finishing second in class at Le Mans last year.

***Single-seater racer David Beckmann was also in attendance at Valencia talking to teams about a potential test drive in Marrakesh. The German driver currently sits fifth in the GP3 Series points after claiming three wins for the Trident team.

***E-racing365 understands that Dragon is still evaluating a potential factory move from its existing Donington offices to a new base at Silverstone. A move is likely to be made early next year as it continues to build up its team after a significant staff overhaul since the end of Season Four.

***The Fisher Stevens-directed film about Formula E is aiming to premiere at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. The movie, featuring Oscar winner Leonardo di Caprio, was shot over the course of Season Four.

***Di Caprio, an investor in the Venturi team, is also involved in the co-production of the initiative with his company Appian Way Productions.

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



  1. Avatar


    October 19, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you for the excellent coverage of testing Sam. Really looking forward to your coverage of the upcoming season and the next podcast episode!

    • Avatar

      Sam Smith

      October 22, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      Thank you very much, it is very much a team effort. We are hoping to continue the podcast next season but as an independent entity we have to make it pay. We are working hard to get it back though. Enjoy the continued coverage. Regards, Sam.

  2. Avatar


    October 20, 2018 at 4:06 am

    Good news about the BBC and youtube. I checked BBC iPlayer and I could see red button sport content showing in there so for a streamer like me there might be some very good options for watching the next season 🙂

  3. Avatar


    October 20, 2018 at 4:11 am

    If BBC won’t show it on one of the two channels, then it should go with YouTube. What happened with Channel 4 discussions?

    The series seems to have struggled in the U.K. because the country has been unable to break out of this closed minded attitude that is so pervasive. So many people who are scared of change and want to act out. When they start to understand, up pop the next group in their place. It appears to be endless. I’d really like to know what they’re thinking over at FE HQ about this. What does Alejandro make of it?

    • Avatar

      Sam Smith

      October 22, 2018 at 1:39 pm

      Hi Chris. We are hearing there is still a lot to be decided but that talks with C4, BBC and Youtube are progressing. I guess it is a case of just ‘watch this space’.

      Am sure you’ll be able to see some great coverage though as the host broadcasters and productions teams are top notch.

  4. Avatar


    October 20, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Yeah agreed, most of us Brits still don’t like the idea of electric cars, we are petrol heads through and through, electric cars sound like food blenders or super chargers and that high pitched whine is not a nice noise, I will take a screaming Lamborghini V12 any day.

    Another issue that Britain had was the Battersea Park venue debacle, the track was too narrow, no overtaking and completely unfit for car racing, and Battersea council, in fact none of the local London borough councils wanted to close roads to have a race, because they didn’t want to lose the business revenue, which was considered more important, so the race was exiled to Battersea Park, then after only two races it was dropped and I can’t see another race in the UK anytime soon. When the idea was proposed for an Fe race in London, it was against the law to host motor racing events on public roads, that has now changed, but the other problem is local opposition, which always wins against motor racing, so if Formula-e wants a race in the UK it’s going to have to overcome a lot of local and political opposition.

    That being said I am a big fan of Formula-e, why? because I feel that Formula 1 is going in completely the wrong direction and Formula-e is a wonderful change!

    • Avatar


      October 20, 2018 at 9:04 am

      Well there are a lot of people like me who love racing but are over petrol and have been driving EVs for a couple of years or more. A lot of EV fans tend to be racing fans as well because we love the tech and engineering involved.

      I personally love the EV sound and everything about them. Very few ICE cars excite me these days.

      But as I said, the message hasn’t got through to the general public. As with climate change and air pollution, I’ve watched countless shows, and videos and so on about EVs and all their positive aspects. It’s the same small group watching everything and joe public stays clueless, sceptical and scared. Rather than excited and ready to embrace the better way.

      And it does seem to be particularly bad in this country.

      • Avatar


        October 20, 2018 at 3:26 pm

        We’ve to give credit to Elon Musk as he proved not just to the general public but more important, to the automotive industry as a whole, that EVs can be desirable and better than ICEs.
        Teslas became as desirables as Apple products and those buying them today where those buying Germans (Audi, BMW and Mercedes) in the past.

    • Avatar


      October 20, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      In 2012, less than 4,000 EVs where sold in the UK.
      In 2017 more than 130,000 EVs where bought by British people.
      That’s a huge increase.
      Information presented by Fith Gear (Series 27, Episode 7).
      Do you still believe in your statement?

      • Avatar


        October 21, 2018 at 2:03 am

        And how many of those 130,000 are full EVs? The percentage of PHEV sales is higher here than in the rest of Europe by far. And that goes along with my assessment of the U.K. mentality by and large. And I’m not suggesting a lot of people aren’t buying EVs. I’m saying the hardcore petrol head mentality is more prevalent here than elsewhere.

        • Avatar


          October 21, 2018 at 9:00 am

          Reason why I always preferred the American term ‘GearHead’ instead of the PetrolHead used here because people connect a good driving experience with a car having a petrol engine which not necessarily is always the case…

    • Avatar

      Sam Smith

      October 22, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      A lot of valid points there. For sure FE want a London race but it is unlikely until 2021 at earliest. Lots of things have to be ironed out, most of them which you mentioned. Let us hope they can.

      • Avatar


        October 25, 2018 at 11:31 am

        and what about the race in BHAM? Was the idea scrapped?

        • Avatar

          Sam Smith

          November 3, 2018 at 9:55 am

          It is my understanding that it was never really a serious option and if anything was used (by council people) as a bit of a political football, sadly.

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