Allan McNish on Audi’s Formula E manufacturer renaissance

Allan McNish on Audi’s Formula E manufacturer renaissance

The last time I sat down for an interview with Allan McNish was at the Geneva International Motor Show earlier this year. Months before our meeting at the world-famous exhibition, McNish was confirmed as the Team Principal at the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E Team – arguably a big jump for the hugely successful racing driver into managing a Formula E team. It is fair to say the start of the season for the team didn’t quite go to plan: disqualification, disappointment and disaster for then-series Champion Lucas di Grassi. Odds of winning the Constructors’ title seemed near impossible mid-way through the season, with McNish telling me that “the chances of winning the championship is a bit like a train that had already departed the station.” Fast forward just a little over seven months later and Allan and I reunited for another 1-to-1 interview. This time we are sat in the Audi Motorhome in Valencia as pre-season testing gets underway behind us. It is a very chilled environment, drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi continue to soak up laps during the three day test in a car that looks to be pretty competitive for season five, oh and Audi did the impossible and are the current Constructors’ champions.

“That sounds like a good analogy, doesn’t it?”, McNish begins with when I tell him of his ever-so slightly pessimistic attitude the last time we managed to sit down for an interview. “There was a few times when I look back and think, there is no way that that could ever happen,” he continued. “If you look at the points and where we were and the performance we had and the performance everybody else had, then normally, it wasn’t possible. I think it was partly due to, I would say, a reasonable car, because I do think the car was good. No, we knew the car was always good. We knew we could be competitive.

“Us taking advantage of every situation that came, I think that was one key factor. Another key factor was having two drivers that were competitive all the time. And that wasn’t the case with everybody in the pit lane. And the final one was, when it came down to it, we held our nerve, and not everybody did.”

Continue reading “Allan McNish on Audi’s Formula E manufacturer renaissance”

Exclusive: Wehrlein set to balance Mahindra FE drive with another series

Exclusive: Wehrlein set to balance Mahindra FE drive with another series

His name has been linked with the F1 Toro Rosso seat, as well as various Formula E drives, however ex-F1 driver and former DTM Champion Pascal Wehrlein was confirmed to be joining the Mahindra Racing line up for season five of Formula E yesterday.

His partnership with Formula E veteran Jérôme D’Ambrosio has impressed many and it’s hoped that the new duo can continue the impressive form the team has managed over the past four seasons with three wins to their name.

However, speaking to katyfairman.com, the Formula E debutant revealed that part of the influence of singing with Mahindra was because he could participate in another motorsport series in addition to his Formula E drive.

Continue reading “Exclusive: Wehrlein set to balance Mahindra FE drive with another series”

Vandoorne talks about his swap from F1 to Formula E

Vandoorne talks about his swap from F1 to Formula E

After the announcement last week that current McLaren Formula 1 driver, Stoffel Vandoorne, was to swap the world of F1 for the all-electric circus of Formula E, many motorsport fans were left in shock. However, the decision made to embrace electric has lead to him being part of one of the strongest team-mate pairings the sport has seen, with current DTM Champion Gary Paffett concluding the HWA Formula E Team line-up.

With his fresh commitment to Formula E, in addition to his existing racing contract with McLaren, Vandoorne only has two days of testing available to him in Valencia. A fact made even more unfortunate when his car suffered battery issues on the first day of testing, resulting in only a handful of laps being set all day.

“No, I don’t know what’s going on,” Vandoorne started when asked about his reliability woes on Tuesday evening to katyfairman.com. “It’s not been an easy day for us. I think it was always going to be a bit difficult for us. The whole team is new to this series, myself and Gary [Paffett] as well. We are all new. We knew that we would run through a few issues and I think it’s a shame not to be out there and be running but you have got to give us and HWA a little time. All the people working here are extremely competitive and extremely competent and I’m sure in the future, once we get up and running, everything will go well.”

Continue reading “Vandoorne talks about his swap from F1 to Formula E”

Hero to Zero: the reality of battery management in Formula E

Hero to Zero: the reality of battery management in Formula E

Managing your source of power in motorsport is vital. It can make or break a driver’s race weekend. Guaranteed, the actual act of running out of fuel during a race is something that has not happened in Formula 1 for many years, but in a sport like battery-centred Formula E, managing the power source until the end of the race is still a learning curve for some of the championship’s brightest talents.

With a new generation of Formula E just months away, pre-season testing for season five getting underway in October, the innovative second gen car will incorporate a battery that will last the entire race distance. For the first four seasons of the all-electric championship the cars had a capacity to last half of the race distance, resulting in a tense and often highly-strategic mid-race car swap. The new battery, developed by McLaren Applied Technology, will see the top power output increase to 250 Kw/h (335bhp) and an additional 50 Kw/h available to drivers during qualifying sessions.

Continue reading “Hero to Zero: the reality of battery management in Formula E”

Why Sam Bird is Formula E’s finest talent

Why Sam Bird is Formula E’s finest talent

Sam Bird has proved himself to be one of the fastest, highly competitive and most consistent drivers in the four season history of the Formula E Championship. Until Audi’s Lucas di Grassi won his first race of season four in Zurich, Bird had been the only driver to win a race in every single season of the all-electric championship. This consistency is what has lead Bird to be in with a mathematical chance of winning the drivers’ title at every single Formula E finale*: a pretty impressive statistic.

His seven Formula E wins places him joint-second with di Grassi in the ranking of most successful Formula E drivers, with 34% of his races in Formula E resulting in a win or podium finish for the British driver.

Continue reading “Why Sam Bird is Formula E’s finest talent”

The reality of being a woman in motorsport

The reality of being a woman in motorsport

The reaction of people when I tell them that I am a motorsport journalist is usually met with total surprise. Maybe it is my age, or the fact that I don’t “look” like I would be interested in motorsport, but usually it’s the fact that I am a woman. The responses are never negative though, normally a reference to Suzi Perry or Lee McKenzie and words along the lines of “wow, that is different.” I always find it funny though because, to me, my gender isn’t really relevant to how I do my job – it never has been and it never will be.

Continue reading “The reality of being a woman in motorsport”