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Zurich Friday Notebook

Sam Smith’s Friday notebook from set up day in Zurich…

Photo: John Dagys

***This weekend’s Zurich E-Prix will be the first time that a closed-circuit motorsport event has been held in Switzerland since the 1954 Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten. The 11-corner, 1.53-mile circuit runs around the Enge harbour area of Lake Zurich and marks the first Sunday race since Race 2 in Hong Kong.

***The decision to have the race on Sunday was made to reduce disruption in the area prior to pre-race shakedown on Saturday afternoon. The 45-lap race will start at a slightly later time of 6:04 p.m. local time in order to prevent a clash with the French Open tennis final in Paris.

***Swiss ePrix Operations AG, the event’s local promoter, expects close to 100,000 people in attendance. It includes 8,000 corporate guests, with additional hospitality suites and areas having been added to the infrastructure of the circuit.

***More than 300 concrete circuit barrier blocks will be moved into place from Friday evening through Saturday morning to minimize city disruption, eclipsing the 250 blocks that were moved into place for the inaugural Paris E-Prix in 2016.

***The wooden pit building (pictured above) that houses all 40 Formula E cars was designed and built using a sustainably sourced recycled wood. The top tier of the structure will be the home for 800 Julius Baer guests as they take in their home E-Prix. The Swiss financial services company is the title sponsor for Sunday’s race.

***The quirky cobbled pit lane will see a 30 km/h (18 mph) speed limit during all sessions. It’s not the only track to have a cobbled section, as the Baku F1 venue features large sections covered by insta-asphalt. The Paris E-Prix venue at Les Invalides also has some similar areas.

***Drivers will have to deal with numerous painted lines and also some tram lines, although it has not concerned Michelin, according to its Formula E Project Manager Serge Grisin, who cited previous examples.

***Grisin is also unfazed by the forecast for changeable weather during the weekend. “Our tire has provided numerous demonstrations of its versatility and the only big surprise the day could spring concerns the weather,” he said. “We have already had a wet track in qualifying in Formula E but we still haven’t had a wet race in almost four complete seasons.”

***Manufacturers continued testing their new Gen 2 cars recently, with several conducting days at the Calafat test track in Spain. As revealed by e-racing365, DS Performance ran both Jean-Eric Vergne and Andre Lotterer, while Jaguar is also understood to have been in action.

***Felipe Massa also got his first taste of the Gen 2 car with two days of running at the Ales test circuit in France, clocking a significant mileage in Venturi’s Season Five car.

***Massa, who will be in attendance this weekend, was a key note speaker at this week’s FIA Sport Conference in Manila. In his role as the FIA Karting Commission President, Massa outlined plans for electric karts to be part of the 2018 Youth Olympics, which will be held in October in Argentina.

***Among those also attending the conference was McLaren Applied Technologies’ Rodi Basso, who has overseen the new Gen 2 battery. The Italian spoke on the role of attracting young fans through new technologies.

***Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler used both of its gearbox jokers after last month’s Berlin E-Prix, where it scored its first-ever 1-2 finish, while NIO’s Luca Filippi took the opportunity to do likewise on his MGU.

***Jaguar is expected to release details of further entrants for the Jaguar I-Pace eTROPHY next month in New York. E-racing365 understands that several female drivers could be confirmed as competitors in the new single-make series.

***BAIC BJEV, China’s largest electric car maker, is planning to list itself on the Shanghai stock exchange this month. There are also believed to be plans to see a branch of technology giant ChengDu QianFeng Electronics purchase BJEV in an elaborate asset swap said to be in the region of 30 billion yuan [$4.7 billion].

***A joint venture between BMW and Great Wall Motors in China will soon be established in Changzhou. The city, which has a population of more than 12 million, will be the home of a new production facility that will produce a new electric Mini model.

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

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