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.
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.
As ‘Hyperboost’, a working-title, was confirmed to be the newest change to the FIA Formula E Championship for the 2018/19 season, many drivers don’t seem too keen on the new idea, with the prospect of it being too gimmicky a serious risk.
Hyperboost, a power mode that would see the drivers receive a ‘boost’ of energy from 200kw to 250kw, was confirmed to be coming into effect from next season at the FIA World Motorsport Council earlier this week.
Formula E is expected to initiate a ‘speed boost’ available to all drivers from season five onwards, as pitstops will be made redundant due to the introduction of the second generation Formula E car that will last the entire race distance.
The strategy, which will see the cars having to drive off the racing line in order to collect a ‘boost’ and then re-join the racing line, is the same “Mario Bros” idea that CEO of Formula E Alejandro Agag told Autosport about last month, “like when they get the little star and go faster,” he added.
A steering issue with Lucas di Grassi’s second Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler car limited his chances at taking the win from team mate Daniel Abt this weekend at the Berlin ePrix.
Having fought his way up the grid and into second place after starting from fifth, making a small and un-characteristic mistake in the SuperPole shoot out earlier in the day, he told katyfairman.com “I think with the second car I definitely had the chance but my second car had some kind of problem. We need to investigate that.”
Discussing the issue in further detail, the season three Formula E champion said that issues with the vibration within the car even lead to him “just wanting to finish the race.”
Despite being one of the most experienced racing drivers on the current Formula E grid, racing in series such as the World Endurance Championship and previously winning the Super Formula Championship, Andre Lotterer confessed that the jump into Formula E “took time [in order] to feel at home and confident with everything”.
Talking to katyfairman.com, Lotterer, who experiences his first home ePrix this weekend in Berlin, explained that he found himself having “so much to learn in a really short time.”
“I am enjoying it a lot now, but it was difficult to enjoy it,” the Techeetah driver stated. “But as soon as we had some better results, [I am] feeling more confident with everything.
Allan McNish is someone who knows motorsport like the back of his hand. An ex-Formula One driver, 2013 FIA World Endurance Champion, and three-time 24hs Le Mans winner, McNish is not only one of the most talented individuals in motorsport, he is also one of the most-liked and respected.
These days he can be found offering expert opinions and analysis for the WEC ‘Super Season’ as a broadcaster or in his newly-appointed role of Team Principal for the Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Formula E Team. Having been linked with Audi Sport since 1999 and proving his worth as a truly fantastic ambassador for the German car manufacturer, it was no surprise that since announcing his retirement in 2013 he has stayed within the motorsport community in a more managerial role.
“I had a lot of success on the circuit but we [myself and Audi] also had success off it and so when I stopped racing, I knew I wanted to continue in the sport because it is my life and also because I knew that I wanted to continue with the people I had built my life with,” McNish states when I ask him about life after professional racing.