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Valencia Tuesday Notebook

Sam Smith’s first notebook from Valencia, site of this week’s pre-season Formula E test…

Photo: Marc Calvo

***Nyck de Vries’ running on the first day of testing was compromised after an issue on his Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 caused a blown RESS fuse. The team worked on the car throughout the afternoon and De Vries made a brief return to the track before further work will be carried out this evening.

***Neel Jani’s Porsche 99X Electric underwent a chassis change this afternoon after he glanced the wall at the first turn. The spare tub was being built up this evening as a precautionary measure.

***Antonio Felix da Costa got his first cockpit time with DS Techeetah when he ran at Calafat ahead of the FIA World Endurance Championship race at Fuji earlier this month. The Portuguese driver, who replaces Andre Lotterer in the team, took part in a filming day prior to running at Valencia today.

***David Ladouce will serve as da Costa’s race engineer. The former DS Performance development engineer was previously race engineer for ART Grand Prix and da Costa’s former BMW Team MTEK squad in the 2018-19 WEC season.

***TAG Heuer Porsche has confirmed to e-racing365 that Neel Jani will be engineered this season by Kyle Wilson-Clarke. The British engineer has been involved in Porsche’s Formula E project since day one and was the lead engineer in the 919 Hybrid LMP1 project from 2015-17. Wilson-Clarke was also a TV pundit on British TV during the second and third seasons of the all-electric championship.

***Nelson Piquet Jr. completed a simulator test session for Porsche last June just prior to the team signing Lotterer. The inaugural Formula E champion is still believed to be in contact with teams about the prospect of returning to the championship in the future.

***Mercedes-Benz EQ has confirmed to e-racing365 that Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries will be engineered by Marius Meier-Diedrich and Albert Lau respectively this season. Lau worked with Edoardo Mortara at Venturi team, while Meier-Diedrich worked with Vandoorne at HWA Racelab.

***Lau has been replaced at Venturi by Laurent Fedacou, who joined the Monegasque team over the summer from the Audi Sport Team Phoenix’s DTM operation where he engineered Mike Rockenfeller.

***Jerome d’Ambrosio will have a new engineer this season after Andres Castillo departed Mahindra Racing along with several other QEV Technologies-contracted personnel. The Belgian will now be engineered by Juan Ramirez, who has worked for Mahindra since 2017 as a head of simulation. Prior to that, Ramirez worked for the Manor F1 team and Toyota Motorsport GmbH.

***Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s engineering team this season sees Mitch Evans continuing to work with Josep Roca, while Phil Ingram will engineer new signing James Calado. Ingram joined Jaguar as a performance engineer in 2017 after previously majoring on vehicle dynamics for Red Bull Racing, McLaren and then Williams Advanced Engineering.

***James Calado is the only Formula E driver who competed in Saturday’s Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. The Brit took his Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE to the GT Le Mans class win alongside Alessandro Pier Guidi and Daniel Serra.

***The FIA has released further details on the use of the procedure which will see 1 kWh per minute subtracted from the total race energy available during a Full Course Yellow or safety car period.

***According to article 39.1 of the new sporting regulations, “the calculation will be made in full minutes and no partial minutes will be calculated. 1 kWh = 1 minute of FCY or SC = 1 kWh. The energy reduction will be sent to the FIA logger in real time and the amount of energy reduced will be displayed on the timing monitors.”

***Additionally, if the race finishes under FCY or SC conditions no energy will be subtracted and race director Scot Elkins will have the full discretion to cancel the energy subtraction.

***The availability of Attack Mode boost is expected to be shaken up for the technology’s second season in competition. The extra 25 kW of power was made available on two occasions for four minutes each at all races last season apart from the New York City finale when three activations were allowed. This season, the boost will give drivers a further 10 kW of power, totalling 35 kW over their standard race allowance.

“Whilst I don’t want to say that we are going to do it more often in Season Six, based on the historical data that we now have we have the ability to [vary the activations] a little bit faster than what we did in Season Five,” race director Scot Elkins told e-racing365.

***A new regulation detailing the procedure in which suspended races are restarted has been added to the new draft sporting regulations. Article 40.2 states that after a red flag is called, “All cars which entered their garage will be placed at the end of the re-start order.”

***It then goes on to state: “The order of the these cars shall be determined by the time of day in which the cars notify via communication to the race director that they have entered the working lane.”

***Envision Virgin Racing will benefit from having its own on-site in-the-loop simulator, which was made fully operational last month at the team’s Silverstone headquarters. “I think our understanding of the chassis, the tires, everything has come on leaps and bounds compared to last season,” Sam Bird told e-racing365.

“We have had the new simulator commissioned, so I am doing maybe two days a week on that. We are in so much better shape than we were this time last year.”

***Jaguar confirmed earlier this month that Mark Turner has become the new championship manager for the Jaguar I-PACE eTROPHY. Turner has previously served as series manager for the Audi R8 LMS Cup, Formula BMW Pacific and SEAT Sport UK.

***Faraday Future’s founder and former CEO, Jia Yueting, voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on Sunday. Jia says that he is “filing for restructuring to address his personal debts and not those related to Faraday Future”. An official statement outlined that “this matter will not affect FF’s normal operations. Faraday Future, under the leadership of CEO Dr. Carsten Breitfeld is continuing its fundraising efforts with the goal of releasing its first production vehicles in Fall 2020.”

***Lucas di Grassi and Felipe Massa attended a special publicity event organised by Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport in the Italian city of Trento. The event saw both Brazilian drivers conduct brief demonstrations on the streets of the northern Italian city.

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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