Welcome, to my final blog post of 2018. It has been a pretty good year with me being able to attend more race weekends then ever before, visit events as accredited media that I had previously only ever dreamed of, oh and there was the day where I travelled to and from Switzerland all within 12 hours. In this blog post, I will reminisce and reflect on my key motorsport highlights from the year and give an honest review of my experiences and any corny life lessons I might have learnt along the way. If you are patient, you can also read about a new project I will be tackling in 2019. It is something that has been in the works since the summer and I am so happy to be sharing it with you all now as we approach the new year and welcome new beginnings. Anyway, enough waffling – I have made myself a huge mug of tea and am ready to confess all from my year in motorsport.
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.”
Sebastian Buemi, FIA Formula E’s season two drivers’ champion, has ruled himself out of being a front runner for this drivers’ title despite currently being fourth in the championship halfway through the season. The Renault e.Dams driver is 57 points behind that of championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne and after a DNF in the last round at Punta del Este, believes that he will remain an unlikely championship contender.
“To be honest, I am really far [behind] in the championship. I see myself more of an outsider fighting for wins from time to time. But of course if the world championship remains open that is amazing. But if not, I am not going to be sad. I am going to be pushing for one-off trying to do well and try to grab a win while I can.”
With FIA Formula E pre-season testing taking place in Valencia at the start of this month, it was noted that former Venturi driver Tom Dillmann had not been allocated any time for testing with the team, or any other team for that matter.
He had jumped into the Formula E championship in Paris during season three despite minimal testing of any kind, finished his debut race in the points, continuing to impress in the Venturi until the season finale in Montreal. His performance in a car that had struggled all season must have been fustrating, however he carried on testing for the Monaco-based Formula E team over the summer months. So when it was confirmed that Dillmann would not be present at the pre-season testing, you can see why I was surprised to find him standing outside rival team garage Techeetah in the Valencia sun.
“We are looking to pull something together,” Dillmann starts, as I question him about his future within Formula E, “but it doesn’t look like I will drive with Venturi.”
Tom Dillmann certainly made a positive impression in the FIA Formula E Championship when he made his race debut around the streets of Paris several weeks ago, picking up four vital constructors’ points for Venturi GP in what seemed to be a one-off outing for the young Frenchman in the all-electric championship.
Since racing around the streets of the French capital, it has been confirmed that Dillmann has now secured a full-time race seat with the Monaco-based Formula E team starting in Berlin this weekend. This fortuitous opportunity presented itself after Stephane Sarrazin, whose seat Dillmann will be filling, left the team to drive for Renault-powered Techeetah after the quick departure of their driver Esteban Gutierrez. This driver change means that Dillmann will pair with German driver Maro Engel for the rest of the 2016/17 season.
Mitch Evans is a cheeky Kiwi that at the age of just 22, is the youngest Formula E driver on the current grid. Driving for British team Panasonic Jaguar Racing, Evans has proved himself to be a huge talent behind the wheel of his all-electric Jaguar I-TYPE, scoring championship points in the past two consecutive races. Despite only competing in his and the team’s fifth Formula E ePrix over the weekend, the former GP2 race winner has made the transition into Formula E and it’s fair to say his performance is looking, well electric.
Current GP2 Champion Pierre Gasly explains why is not a fan of the halo device, after trialling it with Red Bull Racing late last year.
It’s one of the hottest topics in Formula 1 right now: should the halo protection device be introduced into the sport? A small percentage think it is a necessary step forward for the safety of the sport, others argue that it will ruin the dangerous aspect that both the drivers and fans love. One driver who have voiced his opinion against the idea of the halo device is 2016 GP2 Champion Pierre Gasly, with the GP2 Championship recently being rebranded as the FIA Formula 2 Championship.