Having entered Formula E after a 12 year absence from motorsport, the excitement levels and expectations for Jaguar’s return were high. Joining the all-electric championship from season three onwards resulted in a disappointing first year but season four has seen their performance go from strength to strength. Currently fourth in the team standings half-way through the season, Jaguar have earned over three times as many points in their campaign this year as they managed all of last season.
Whilst at the Geneva International Motors Show last month, I met up with one of their drivers, Mitch Evans, to hear his thoughts on the season so far, what we can expect from the remaining six races this year and his views on the newly-unveiled Gen2 Formula E car.
“Obviously, I would have loved to experience the podium but we still have the silverware to prove it,” Evans begins, discussing his and Jaguar’s first Formula E podium which was awarded after a post-race disqualification for race winner Daniel Abt at the second Hong Kong ePrix. “It was nice to tick that off for the first time,” he continues.
“That was a big weekend for us for many reasons. Getting the podium but also our first Superpole and our first weekend of being properly competitive in the championship. Since then we have got some [championship] points but we have also had issues that we have got on top of.
“Nelson [Piquet Jr] has had a pretty smooth run but on my side there have been a few issues that we are fixing. So hopefully from now on we will be seamless and qualify at the front and race from there, because I think once we earn track position, we will be in a strong place.
“The last few races, I have had to recover from all the way back, but we have been very competitive in practice. It is just the 200kw we have got the issue with and that is being resolved. The race pace is strong and qualifying pace seems to be our forte we just haven’t been able to show that yet, which I am hoping to do in the rest of the championship.
“I think podiums are realistic for us. We weren’t really sure at the start of the season but I think after a few races, we are in a position to score podiums and hopefully wins.”
As Formula E now makes its way to Europe, it will revisit many of the same street circuits as well as introducing new locations such as Switzerland and Italy.
“I loved Paris [last season], it was a good event and a good circuit and I had a good race there but I am looking forward to going to Rome and Zurich.
“I think those are going to be really stand-out races this year for different reasons, well actually cause they are both going to host the first race of their kind: the first race in Rome and the return of racing in Switzerland for a long time. I love the challenge of a new circuit and I feel like I get on top of new circuits very quickly like in Santiago.”
Earlier that day, before I met up with Mitch, the FIA had unveiled the new season five Generation 2 Formula E car, also known as the ‘Gen2’. Complete with LED halo and futuristic aerodynamic design, the car was subject to its first public viewing.
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“I think it is great. The car looks very different, it is very futuristic and is the right direction that Formula E and the FIA have taken with the championship. I am looking forward to driving it [in April at the second official test in Calafat] but I don’t really know what to expect. It is more power, completely different software with the brakes and a new aerodynamics package. Let’s see how it is, everyone is very excited to get in them, from both a team point of view and a driver to see what they are capable of doing!
“It will be my first time driving with the halo and I am sort of on the fence. It doesn’t look overly elegant to be honest. From a visibility point of you I am not sure how it is, whether it is limiting. The F1 guys don’t seem to be complaining about it too much but you know if it saves lives in the future then I think it will be a good addition but at the moment I feel like they could have come up with something different. A canopy would have been my preferred choice.
“Fortunately, they have integrated the halo well with the car but it just doesn’t look right at all. I just feel if you are going to go down that route you could have been a little more patient with the design.”