Formula E newsroom: Channel 5, Jaguar, and season three tech

FIA Formula E Second Pre-Season Testing Event.
Donington Park Racecourse,
Derby, United Kingdom.
Photo: Alastair Staley / LAT
ref: Digital Image 580A5818

Channel 5 to broadcast Formula E live in UK

Channel 5 has been announced as Formula E’s live UK broadcasters for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. All races from Hong Kong through to New York will be shown live on Channel 5, with qualifying sessions broadcast on sister channel Spike and practice sessions covered via Channel 5’s social media.

Channel 5’s Mark Shurman called the deal “a fantastic opportunity” to promote Formula E’s technology and racing in the UK.

Jaguar sign Mitch Evans to final race seat

Jaguar Racing has completed its debut lineup by signing Mitch Evans alongside Adam Carroll. The 2012 GP3 champion drove for the team in the first pre-season test as part of a rota with Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell, but is the only one of the three to be retained for the second test.

Evans and Carroll, along with the team’s final race livery, are expected to be confirmed by Jaguar later this week.

Audi aiming for full works squad in season four

Audi has intensified its relationship with the ABT Schaeffler squad as part of a build towards running a full factory programme in the 2017-18 season. This follows comments last season from Lucas di Grassi that ABT needs greater involvement from Audi if it is to consistently beat Renault in the future, as well a commitment from Audi to make every fourth vehicle in their line electric by 2025.

Audi brand ambassador Allan McNish called it “the next step” for the marque: “We introduced the diesel injection back in 2006 and more latterly the e-tron hybrid. The next step in road car tech is electrification…so therefore there is an obvious synergy in what happens on the circuit to what happens on the road and Formula E is very important for the future.”

DS Virgin converts to single motor powertrain

DS Virgin has begun season three with a major change in design, running a new single motor DSV-02 powertrain in a bid to better compete with the likes of Renault and ABT. The team previously ran a twin motor setup last season but struggled to fully keep touch with its lighter, single motor rivals.

Conquering weight issues has also been marked as a key area in Mahindra’s summer improvements, with Nick Heidfeld calling the packaging of his new M3Electro “like night and day” compared to the team’s season two challenger.

Meanwhile, the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport squad has confirmed it will be continuing with the single motor and three-speed gearbox philosophy established last season.

James Matthews

Dixon Dominates at WGI

The Verizon IndyCar series returned to the iconic Watkins Glen International Raceway for the first time in 6 years this past Sunday.

With the IndyCar GP at the Glen being the penultimate round of the IndyCar championship battle, there was much at stake.

Simon Pagenaud’s season long points lead was down to 28 over Penske Racing teammate Will Power despite Power missing the first race of the season with what was determined to be an inner ear problem. Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan, and Ryan Hunter-Reay were still looking for their first win of the season. Josef Newgarden, the series’ biggest free agent was still looking to show he deserved a top ride next year.

The lightning fast repaved Watkins Glen was the perfect setting for a championship showdown.

And then Scott Dixon rolled his #9 Target Chip Ganassi Chevy powered Dallara off the truck and on to the track. It quickly became obvious the race would be for second place.

Dixon was fastest in every practice session, cruised (albeit with a little excitement) into the Firestone Fast 6 then blistered the track with the fastest lap ever at WGI and the second fastest road course lap in the history of IndyCar on his way to the pole.

Will Power was just a tick slower for a P2 starting spot, just missing out on a valuable championship point but still 5 spots in front of championship leader Pagenaud.

At the drop of the green flag, Dixon was gone. Power slid into P2 and Pagenuad, with an exceptionally bold move into turn one, snatched away P3. Dixon would go on to lead 50 of the 60 lap race, but the end was not without some drama.

Power’s championship hopes took a hit (as did Power himself) when he and Charlie Kimball got together coming out of the esses, pushing Power hard into the outside armco barrier and destroying his race car. Power was initially not cleared to drive fearing a concussion but has since been cleared to resume driving by Dr. Geoffrey Billows, IndyCar medical director, after the Team Penske driver successfully passed concussion testing protocol today.

Power’s crash set up a round of pit stops that allowed everyone to pack their fuel tanks full and get 4 new tires.

The green flag came out with 18 laps remaining, the exact number that had been determined to be the maximum anyone could stretch a fuel run.

Well, mere mortals anyway. A group that does not include Scott Dixon.

Dixon has almost a miraculous ability to save fuel while turning faster laps than anyone else. And when the green came out, he resumed his position at the front of the field and as his competitors dialed back their boost and coasted and clutched and STILL needed fuel, Dixon, out for a Sunday drive through upstate New York, won easily.

Josef Newgarden nursed his car home to the second step on the podium, and Helio Castroneves took P3 by driving as hard as he could and stopping for but 2 seconds of fuel.

It was heartbreak for the second week in a row for James Hinchcliffe as his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda coasted to a stop on the backstretch, out of fuel. Hinch lost in Texas last week to Graham Rahal by 0.008 seconds on a last lap, last corner pass.

Pagenuad didn’t take as much advantage of Power’s crash as he could have but still managed a seventh place finish, building his points lead to 43 heading into the double points, season finale in two weeks at Sonoma Raceway in northern California’s Napa Valley.

Click here to see the full run down.

Eric Barnes @ebarnes442

Formula E testing roundup: Renault still ahead as midfield closes in

The first week of public Formula E testing has concluded, with Renault e.Dams once again staking their claim as the team to beat in the 2016-17 season

Although Renault only topped the timesheets once – defending champion Sébastien Buemi ended day one seven tenths ahead of the field on a 1:30.143s – the French marque appeared on ominous form all week, with Buemi and Nicolas Prost logging a total of five out of a possible six top ten times across the three days.

By comparison, their season two rivals ABT had a quiet few days. Loitering comfortably but not outstandingly within the top ten, the German team’s performance would suggest their ABT Schaeffler FE02 package will again focus on consistent race form over qualifying pace.

The other takeaway from this first test is that many of the midfield teams appear to have closed up over the summer – if not to Renault then certainly to the likes of ABT and DS Virgin.

New entrant Techeetah were perhaps the biggest surprise, with Jean-Éric Vergne finishing fastest on day two after breaking the Formula E lap record around Donington Park, and almost doing the same on Thursday by being the only driver to lap below 1:31s in the wet afternoon conditions.

Swedish debutant Felix Rosenqvist made a strong start to his Formula E career with Mahindra, spending most of day two at the top of the times before being pipped by Vergne. Also showing pace was two-time race winner Jérôme d’Ambrosio in his new Penske-powered Dragon car, and was one of only four other drivers – Buemi, Heidfeld, Abt and Bird – to end each day within the top ten.

For the much-anticipated Jaguar team, this first week was a modest beginning to life in Formula E – the British marque ended day one sixth and ninth with Alex Lynn and Adam Carroll respectively, but managed no more than thirteenth fastest across the remainder of the week.

However, headline-grabbing times were hardly to expected just yet as the team look to bed in their new I-Type 1 powertrain and evaluate drivers for the season ahead. With that in mind, the fact that the team suffered no fatal technical issues and were not left propping up the timesheets hints at real promise for the future – and may even give teams like Venturi and NextEV something to worry about.

…To be continued

11 weeks ago on June 11 the Verizon IndyCar series had just wrapped up a double-header in Detroit and was looking to the high banks and high speeds of Texas Motor Speedway and the Firestone 600.

Mother Nature had other ideas.

First rain delayed the scheduled Saturday night race to a Sunday afternoon start.

71 laps into the 248 lap race, it became a washout.

With the field behind the pace car after a huge crash involving Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden, the skies opened and the race was postponed until this Saturday night.

It marked the first time since Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2011 that an IndyCar race started on one day and would be completed on another. That one wasn’t quite 3 months!

James Hinchcliffe was leading the race when the red flag came out.

The cars will restart the race in Saturday nbight in the same order in which they were scored at the completion of Lap 71. The big deal in all of this is that Josef Newgarden, currently 3rd in the IndyCar Series points battle, and fastest car on the circuit when he crashed, will not be involved since he was taken out of the race prior to the red flag in the horrifying crash with Daly.

Feelings on the topic were mixed. Many drivers wanted to just restart the race from the green flag and run the full 248 laps. This would have allowed both Newgarden and Daly to compete. But with Newgarden being so strong in June and last week at Pocono and dominating the short oval at Iowa, the other key players in the title chase, Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, and Helio Castroneves, as well as Scott Dixon from Target Chip Ganassi Racing may end up thankful that IndyCar officials decided to pickup where they left off.

Not to mention The Mayor of Hinchtown, who will start as the leader.

Regardless we know that the remaining 177 will be action packed. TMS is a great track for IndyCar always producing wheel to wheel racing at 215+MPH.

The schedule will be incredibly condensed on Saturday with the cars hitting the track for their only warmup from 5:30 to 6:00PM CDT (10:30 – 11:00PM GMT) and the race resuming at 9:15PM CDT (2:15AM GMT)

The race most likely will have a major impact on the points battle. Simon Pagenuad’s crash combined with Will Power’s win at Pocono last week tightened the battle between P1 and and P2 to but 20 points.

Power will restart in P4 while Pagenaud is down in P15. Here is how the field will line up for the restart:

  1. James Hinchcliffe
  2. Ryan Hunter-Reay
  3. Mikhail Aleshin
  4. Will Power
  5. Ed Carpenter
  6. Gabby Chaves
  7. Helio Castroneves
  8. Charlie Kimball
  9. Carlos Munoz
  10. Juan Pablo Montoya
  11. Sebastien Bourdais
  12. Graham Rahal
  13. Alexander Rossi
  14. Scott Dixon
  15. Simon Pagenaud
  16. Tony Kanaan
  17. Takuma Sato
  18. Marco Andretti
  19. Max Chilton
  20. Jack Hawksworth
  21. Conor Daly
  22. Josef Newgarden

On thing for sure…it’s gonna be fun!

Eric Barnes @ebarnes442

Introducing: Felix Rosenqvist

Mahindra Racing enter the 2016-17 season with a revised lineup, pairing the stalwart Nick Heidfeld with young Swedish rookie Felix Rosenqvist. During testing, we grabbed a quick word with Felix to get to know Mahindra’s newest signing a little better.

Born in Värnamo, Sweden, 24-year-old Felix Rosenqvist made his single seater debut in regional Formula Renault, taking titles in the Asian, Swedish and NEZ Formula Renault 2.0 series’ between 2008 and 2009. International recognition came with a third-place finish in his maiden European Formula 3 campaign in 2012 and victory in the prestigious 2014 Macau Grand Prix.

In 2015, Felix took the European F3 title in dominant fashion, finishing more than a hundred points over second-placed Antonio Giovinazzi and racking up a run of 15 consecutive podiums – including eight victories – and a second Macau win to tie off the season. After stints in DTM, Blancpain GT and IndyLights – the latter yielding three wins – Felix was called up by Mahindra to replace Bruno Senna for the 2016-17 Formula E season.

TPCO: Is Formula E’s preference for street circuits a big part of its appeal for you, given your strong history at tracks like Macau?

FR: Yes, it sure is. It’s a big reason why I considered to join Formula E. I love every street circuit and I always had good results on them so for me it made perfect sense.

TPCO: Considering the unique technical challenge of Formula E, how much of a confidence boost is it for a rookie driver to make their debut with a team as solid as Mahindra?

FR: For sure it helps me a lot to join a team that has been here since the start of the championship. Even with my teammate Nick being very experienced and a good team leader it feels like I’m in good hands.

TPCO: Are you aiming for any particular results this season, or is the focus just on finding your feet for now?

FR: For now I don’t really know where I am when it comes to the performance. Obviously the first test went well but I think it’s way early to judge lap times for now. I think I will just prepare in the best possible way and then I guess we will see in Hong Kong!

TPCO: How do you feel going up against a teammate as experienced and highly-regarded as Nick – is it a little daunting, or do you enjoy the challenge?

FR: I think it’s first of all very helpful to have Nick as he’s a great teacher when it comes to leading a team – something that takes a long time to learn as a driver. He’s easy to work with and I hope I can push him as well!

TPCO: Speaking of teammates, is there any current driver, from Formula E or beyond, against whom you’d love to test yourself?

FR: I think in the last seasons I had the opportunity to put myself up against very good drivers around the world, a couple of weeks ago I tested the same car as Scott Dixon and I was very impressed with him. I would love to try to go against Hamilton!

TPCO: Who would you regard as the toughest rival so far in your career?

FR: I think Esteban Ocon is a very good driver, and the one that impressed me the most when he won his rookie F3 season in 2014, and also won GP3 the following year as a rookie as well.

Shivraj Gohil / Spacesuit Media

TPCO: Which location this season are you most looking forward to racing in? And is there any location not on the calendar that you would like to visit with Formula E in the future?

FR: I look forward to Buenos Aires and Mexico as I’ve never been to South America. I think the championship should visit Stockholm for sure, and also come back to London.

TPCO: What are the most difficult, and most rewarding, parts of racing all over the world?

FR: The most difficult is the fact that you’re always a bit jet lagged and tired, and also your private life becomes a bit compromised when it comes to meeting family and friends. The rewarding part is that you get to do what you love every day, and as a young guy it’s nice that you can really go for something instead of being home drinking beer every weekend.

TPCO: How do you like to unwind after a race weekend?

FR: Normally I love just being home for one day doing nothing, then I feel ready to go again – as long as I get this day I’m good!

TPCO: Any predictions for the season – for yourself, for Mahindra, or for Formula E in general?

FR: It’s way too early to judge, at the moment we are just looking at ourselves and focusing on our programme. I think the team has done a very impressive job during the off-season and I can’t wait to see our final product in Hong Kong! For myself, I can just prepare as well as possible and then see how it goes I guess 🙂

Introducing: the 2016-17 Formula E grid

The Race.
Mexico City e-Prix, Mexico, Central America.
Saturday 12 March 2016
Photo: Adam Warner /LAT/FE.
ref: Digital Image _L5R9302

As public testing commences at Donington Park, we’ve taken a proverbial walk down the 2016-17 grid to help you get to know Formula E’s Class of Season Three.

The sharp end of the championship looks much the same this season, with Renault retaining defending drivers’ champion Sébastien Buemi and race winner Nico Prost, and ABT fending off advances from Jaguar to keep Lucas di Grassi alongside Daniel Abt.

Loïc Duval and two-time ePrix winner Jérôme d’Ambrosio will return as well for a second full season together at Dragon Racing. The American team should be one to watch this season, entering for the first time as a powertrain manufacturer in its own right under a technical alliance with Faraday Future.

NextEV, the last of the teams to field an unchanged lineup, could potentially be another dark horse challenger provided they can overcome the issues that kept them propping up the back of the grid last season – particularly if Oliver Turvey can keep up the superb qualifying form shown in the last few races of 2016.

Race winner Sam Bird remains at DS Virgin, but his season two teammate Jean-Éric Vergne is off to join Techeetah, the Chinese outfit who bought up the Team Aguri entry at the end of last season.

How competitive the Techeetah team will be is hard to tell – despite being the only team this season not to be linked in some way to a major manufacturer, they do at least have the benefit of heavy investment from Chinese Media Capital and a supply of Renault’s class-leading powertrains. Nevertheless, Techeetah may struggle to fully realise the potential of their package, if previous performances from Vergne and the returning Ma Qinghua are any indication.

By contrast, Techeetah’s rivals Andretti will be fielding perhaps the strongest lineup of the grid, having poached Team Aguri’s star driver António Félix da Costa to partner their own Robin Frijns. With two of last season’s hottest talents on board – and with reported involvement from BMW to boot – the 2016-17 season should be a strong showing for MS Amlin Andretti – perhaps even yielding the American team’s elusive first win.

Vergne’s vacant Virgin Racing seat will be taken by two-time WTCC champion José María López. The Argentine may not have raced single seaters since his 2006 GP2 campaign but comes with plenty of racing pedigree as a Citroën factory driver, and should bring DS Virgin the boost they need to consistently battle the likes of Renault and ABT.

López is joined on the grid by four fellow rookies: GT World Cup winner Maro Engel enters the sport alongside Stéphane Sarrazin at Venturi, whilst Mahindra have replaced Bruno Senna with 2015 European F3 champion Felix Rosenqvist.

The last of the rookies come courtesy of the much-anticipated Panasonic Jaguar Racing team. Blancpain GT racer Adam Carroll – who narrowly missed an outing with Team Aguri in Berlin last season – joined the team early on after completing a series of private tests earlier in the year, and is joined by 2012 GP3 champion Mitch Evans, who was chosen after outperforming Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell in a pre-season shootout. Chinese single-seater stalwart Ho-Pin Tung also joins Jaguar as test and reserve driver, returning to the series after a brief but unsuccessful stint with Team China in season one.

Full 2016-17 Formula E grid:

Renault e.Dams: Nico PROST (8) / Sébastien BUEMI (9)

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport: Lucas DI GRASSI (11) / Daniel ABT (66)

DS Virgin Racing: Sam BIRD (2) / José María LÓPEZ (37)

Faraday Future Dragon Racing: Loïc DUVAL (6) / Jérôme D’AMBROSIO (7)

Mahindra Racing: Felix ROSENQVIST (19) / Nick HEIDFELD (23)

Venturi: Stéphane SARRAZIN (4) / Maro ENGEL (5)

MS Amlin Andretti: Robin FRIJNS (27) / António Félix DA COSTA (28)

Techeetah: Jean-Éric VERGNE (25) / MA Qinghua (33)

NextEV NIO: Nelson PIQUET JR (3) / Oliver TURVEY (88)

Panasonic Jaguar Racing: Mitch EVANS (20) / Adam CARROLL (47)

©2014-2024 ThePitCrewOnline