Formula E Preview from Berlin, 2017
Our Formula E preview takes us to Berlin this weekend for what will be the first of three double-header rounds to close out Formula E’s third season. Advance press from teams points to a close and invigorating set of races, with several constructors battling for positions in the standings.
Mahindra Team is Confident, Rosenqvist Seeks Another Season
With a feeling of “great momentum” for the team, Mahindra Formula E driver Felix Rosenqvist heads to Berlin. Yes, Rosenqvist finished behind his teammate Nick Heidfeld in Monaco and Paris, taking sixth and fourth places. Yet the Mahindra team’s consistent improvement in speed and performance signals good things as they deepen their role in the ePrix series. And that makes the Swedish rookie want to come back for more.
Rosenqvist has told the team he would like to continue his relationship with Mahindra Racing for the upcoming season four. Holding sixth place in the drivers’ standings, Rosenqvist is but 18 points behind Renault e.Dam’s Nico Prost. Rosenqvist showed particularly good potential in Marrakesh earlier in the season, working his way to a surprising qualifying pole position and taking a podium at the race’s end.
“We have done one test day with the season four car so far, and it’s been good,” Rosenqvist, age 25, explains. “Obviously, the big focus is still on this year, and then after Montreal we will go flat out testing for next year.”
Panasonic Jaguar Racing Preps for Berlin ePrix
Panasonic Jaguar Racing entered Formula E for the first time here in season three in Hong Kong, and now it aims to extend its three race points finishes in the upcoming Berlin double-header. Jaguar will attempt to complete a regular raceday in back-to-back days for the first time.
“One of the many unique aspects of each Formula E race weekend is that all the action takes place in one day,” team director James Barclay states. “To complete two race days in a row will be very demanding. However, we are racers, and double-headers offer more opportunities to gather important data and more laps of these terrific circuits in front of the passionate German fans. We are really looking forward to getting to Berlin.”
With some of the best race locations in any series, Jaguar driver Mitch Evans feels that Formula E is a “proper drivers’ championship.” He acknowledges the competitive grids require Jaguar to manage a learning curve that means “finding that sweet spot in each race.” His pre-race prep on the Berlin circuit has been limited so far to the simulator. It remains to be seen how the simulator’s seemingly really fast race speed will translate to Evans’ interpretation of the Berlin actual course and race surface.
Driver Replacements at Techeetah and Venturi
The season-ending injury to Sebastien Bourdais for Dale Coyne Racing in Indycar created an empty seat in that series — as well as a couple of seat switches in Formula E.
Techeetah driver Esteban Gutierrez, with a career that has included stints in Formula 1 for the Sauber and Hass teams, will fill out the season for Bourdais in Indycar. His replacement at Techeetah will be Stephane Sarrazin, who will be released from his contract at Venturi.
Sarrazin has been with Venturi since the inaugural season of Formula E, and, although he has scored only two points so far this season, Sarrazin is seen as an experienced driver who will be able to contribute to the Techeetah team as their package becomes increasingly competitive. Venturi team owner Gildo Pastor believes that, with his experience, “Stephane will be embraced by Techeetah.”
With an open seat, Venturi opted to formalize a relationship with Tom Dillmann, who made his debut for the team in the last ePrix race, which was held in Paris. Pastor says that Dillman will accrue important experiences as he drives with Venturi. It was “a positive solution for all those involved.”
It should be a fun weekend at the ePrix in Berlin double header. Stay tuned!