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Valencia Tuesday Notebook

Sam Smith’s first notebook from the official Formula E pre-season test in Valencia…

Photo: DS Techeetah

***All 11 ABB FIA Formula E Championship teams took to the track together for the first time today as the pre-season test got underway at Valencia.

***E-racing365 understands that the new ‘attack mode’ format is being tested using an additional timing loop at Turn 5. The cars have a second transponder to detect and measure the extra boost when deployed.

***Some testing of the new LED lighting system which will inform TV viewers and spectators when drivers are using the new attack mode was trialled by some cars today ahead of a plan for all cars to use it during tomorrow’s running.

***Formula E investor and 2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg will be in attendance tomorrow to attend meetings with other partners and to conduct some filming.

***Several drivers made the long flight from Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship race at Fuji. Some, such as BMW’s Antonio Felix da Costa, didn’t arrive until the early hours of Tuesday morning. In total, 13 Formula E drivers were in action at either Fuji, the DTM finale at Hockenheimring or the Motul Petit Le Mans last weekend.

***Jaguar’s technical manager Phil Charles says that drivers will have an easier braking technique and application with the active system this season. “Both our drivers will have more power to shape the brake bias profile and they won’t have to manually follow the regen level with hydraulic brake bias changes anymore. It will be easier for them to drive the car,” he told e-racing365.

***Virgin Racing has indicated that it is likely to employ an official test and development driver soon. “We have some ideas, and we are working on it, but nothing is finalized yet,” team manager Sylvain Filippi told e-racing365. “That’s very much something to do post-Valencia, between Valencia and Christmas, for sure.

***Magneti Marelli is close to being sold to Japanese technology firm Calsonic. Currently owned by the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group, it was heavily involved in Formula E through its component supply to Andretti and Mahindra Racing last season. The deal is said to be worth $6.3 billon.

***Lagonda, which sits within the Aston Martin business as its zero emissions luxury brand, continues to keep track of Formula E and could make a decision on whether it becomes involved next summer. E-racing365 has discovered that several key personnel from Lagonda attended the Paris E-Prix in April.

***Sam Bird was tentative when asked about the approaches he is believed to have had from various parties over the spring and early summer, including BMW. “Whatever happened in my decision-making process has happened. I can dwell on who wanted what, and who was where, but I don’t really want to talk about it,” Bird told e-racing365.

***When asked about his goals for this week’s test, Bird says he’s targeting a fuller understanding of the new Audi powertrain. “The track here doesn’t really bear any resemblance to tracks that we go to, so [we want to] get some mileage under the belt and make sure everything is bulletproof,” he told e-racing365. “Me understanding the systems and software, more and more and more, and then we look forward to Riyadh.”

***Daniel Abt will have a new race engineer this season as Chris de Coninck replaces Daniel Grunwald at Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler. De Coninck worked with Maro Engel at Venturi last season.

***E-racing365 understands that there are several Asia-Pacific and Australasia possibilities in Season Six for possible Formula E races. As well as Seoul, there are also serious discussions regarding a proposed Auckland E-Prix in New Zealand.

***The plans to host a first-ever Japanese E-Prix in 2020 are still at discussion stage with the city of Yokohama continuing to be the current favorite to host a proposed race. Further discussions are due to take place with city officials soon.

***Recently confirmed F1 drivers Daniil Kvyat and Antonio Giovinazzi held extensive talks with Mahindra last summer, e-racing365 has learned. While neither tested for the Indian team it is understood that Kvyat in particular was close to inking a deal before his return to Toro Rosso became a reality in August.

***Jenson Button’s management team held brief talks with Virgin back in 2014 and 2015 about the prospect of a future seat at the team. E-racing365 has uncovered that some interest existed for Button, who was then in his penultimate season in F1, to try the all-electric formula.

***Yanni Andreopoulos, the commercial director of Formula E, will soak up the oversea sales, partnerships and hospitality portfolio aspects of outgoing chief commercial officer Sam Piccione. Piccione left Formula E in August to work with sports and live entertainments business Oak View Group.

***New Dragon employee Jakob Andreason is engineering Max Guenther this week. The former McLaren and Williams engineer holds an over-arching head of engineering role at the team but is likely to also work directly with Guenther should he firm up a race seat.

***One of the more remarkable stories in recent months concerns the fact that Emmanuele Pirro had a brief secret test drive in the Mahindra car at Imola last summer. The four time Le Mans winner had the run as part of an event at the Italian track in the summer.

***Katherine Legge is in discussions with Mahindra regarding the official Sunday test at Ad Diriyah in December. Legge, who will already be in Saudi Arabia competing in the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY, started two Formula E races at Beijing and Putrajaya in 2014.

***David Clarke is the new team manager at DS Techeetah after replacing Andretti-bound Campbell Hobson in August. Clarke has held several previous positions at Mercedes-Benz, McLaren and at the HWA DTM operation.

***Former Autosport and F1 Racing editor Anthony Rowlinson has recently joined ABB to be in charge of Formula E-related content for the championship’s title partner. Rowlinson was a regular in the Formula E paddock last season when he worked for Motorsport Network.

Jake Kilshaw 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 from 2014-17. Contact Sam



  1. Avatar


    October 16, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    The second and the last note are the same 🙂

    Other than that thank you for giving us news from the test week. Keep up the great work!

  2. Avatar


    October 16, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    The sooner FE dies the better.

    Get that cash into areas of the sport people care about rather than this politically correct BS.

    • Avatar

      Colonel Agile

      October 17, 2018 at 5:31 am

      Haters gonna hate, and at the end of the day, they are irrelevant in real life.
      But if that can help relieve your saltyness, go ahead, son !

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