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”
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”
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”
It is well documented that this weekend FIA Formula E were to make motorsport history, hosting the first motor racing event in Switzerland in six decades. The all-electric racing series has taken to the bumpy streets of Zurich to break this ban that was imposed after a horrific accident at Le Mans in 1955.
The 2.465m track offered a series of long straights, 90 degree corners and a top speed of 215km/h. It brought us drama, unexpected penalties and a seriously dominating drive from Lucas di Grassi – handing him his first victory of the 2017/18 season.
Continue reading “5 Things We Learnt From The Zurich ePrix”
As soon as the FIA ABB Formula E Championship was given the green light, the series knew it would have to be at the forefront of technology both in general and in their race cars. It was ‘driving the future’ as the series tagline stated and although the current race cars look fun, fast and futuristic, they are still very much a generic single-seater with a battery added in at a later date. However a new generation of Formula E car is on its way and it is here to change the game.
The slick, innovative and modern design of the second generation Formula E car, known as the ‘Gen2’, was finally revealed to the world at the end of January this year through a series of digital images and a video. The launch was a huge success with many praising the slick and Batmobile-esque design, however it was confirmed the official launch of the car would be held on Tuesday 6th March at the Geneva International Motor Show.
Despite having to wait on more key statistical information about the new Gen2 car, there is plenty that can be learnt from these digital images and previous news stories about the car that will come into effect from next season.
Continue reading “Everything we know about the Gen2 Car”
Whether you are a fan of the all-electric Formula E Championship or not, there can be no denying that the 2017 Mexico ePrix was one of the craziest races of the past year, or even this side of the decade. The race had almost everything – as much as I despise the cliché: mechanical failure snatching any chances of a win from the pole sitter, spectacular spins and saves, team mates taking one another out just laps before the chequered flag and even an appearance from Paris Hilton.
However the strategy and energy-management from Lucas di Grassi and his then team, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport, meant the Brazilian optimised the totally bonkers race and finished with victory – having started near the back of the grid and being forced to pit for a rear wing change just a few laps in.
As we prepare for Formula E’s third consecutive return to the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, I take a look back at the 2016/17 Mexico ePrix and why it could be Formula E’s best ever race.
Continue reading “Madness in Mexico: why the 2017 ePrix will forever be one of the best Formula E races”
Nelson Piquet Jr became the inaugural FIA Formula E champion back in 2015, securing the drivers’ title by just one point over Sebastien Buemi during a nail-biting season finale at Battersea Park, London. That season he clinched two race wins and started his Formula E career on a high, with expectations becoming bigger race by race.
Continue reading “Piquet on Jaguar move: “the timing was right””