Mercedes Benz to enter Formula E, pulling out of DTM

 

The company will conclude its participation in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) touring car series at the end of 2018 and enter Formula E for the 2019/20 season (5).

Since the DTM was founded in 1988, there have been 26 racing seasons during which Mercedes-Benz has won 10 drivers’, 13 team and six manufacturer titles (DTM + ITC – International Touring Car championship – combined).

Electric mobility is already of strategic importance to the company and this will only increase. Formula E offers a perfect platform on which to demonstrate the competitiveness of MB’s technology brand EQ in a racing environment, in the area of battery electric powertrains. (EQ stands for ‘electric intelligence’).

“Mercedes-Benz will market future battery powered electric vehicles using the EQ label,” said Dr Jens Thiemer, the company’s Vice-President of Marketing earlier today. “Formula E is a significant step in order to demonstrate the performance of our battery powered electric vehicles, as well as giving an emotional spin to our EQ technology brand through motorsport and marketing.”

Merging the formulae

Says Toto Wolff: “In motorsport like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and to explore innovative new projects. The combination of Formula 1 and Formula E delivers that.

“Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture: it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies. Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience – and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series.

“I am pleased that we were able to extend our entry option for one year to the 2019/20 season. This gives us time to properly understand the series and to prepare for our entry in the right way.”

Slight aside, but it’s important

Williams Advanced Engineering has received the Consultancy of the Year award at the 2016 British Engineering Excellence Awards.

Sponsored by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Consultancy of the Year is awarded to an organisation demonstrating innovative and timely solutions to engineering problems posed to them by their customers.

WAE has delivered on a number of high profile projects over the past 12 months, including supplying the batteries to the Formula E racing series, creating the Jaguar C-X75 hypercar for the Bond film SPECTRE, and developing the fully electric Aston Martin RapidE and Nissan BladeGlider concept cars. What’s more, the company has seen its Formula One-inspired technologies and know-how introduced into a growing range of sectors such as automotive, motorsport, energy, defence, and healthcare.

It’s healthy, and only right we acknowledge engineering excellence. Many congratulations to the whole team.

Mercedes to enter Formula E

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Toto Wolff and Alejandro Agag agree to reserve an entry in the electric championship for Mercedes.

Now there’s a thought…

I hear that Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd (MGP) and Formula E Operations Ltd have signed an agreement by which Mercedes takes an option to enter the FIA Formula E Championship in Season 5. According to the option agreement, Mercedes may choose to be one of the maximum of 12 entries to be proposed by the Championship Promoter to the FIA to enter the 2018-19 Formula E Championship.

Mercedes could take one of the two new entries that will be allocated in season five – subject to approval of the FIA – when the all-electric racing series goes from the current format of two cars per driver, to a single car for the entire event.

The current 10 teams in Formula E are all expected to continue in Season 5 and beyond, on their current format, or joining forces with other OEM’s.

Alejandro Agag (Formula E’s chief exec) said: “We are delighted to confirm that we have reserved one of our two new entries in Season 5 for MGP. Formula E wants to become the platform where car manufacturers test and develop the technologies that they will then introduce on their road cars. Having the chance to include in the future a brand like Mercedes our Championship would be a major boost to achieve that objective.

“Formula E is becoming an exciting mix of consolidated manufacturers like Renault, Citroen-DS, Audi, Mahindra or Jaguar, and new futuristic brands like Faraday Future, NextEV, or the likes of major component manufacturers like Schaeffler and ZF. Mercedes would be a great addition to that growing line up.”

And Toto Wolff: “We have been watching the growth of Formula E with great interest. At the current time, we are looking at all the options available in the future of motor racing, and we are very pleased with an agreement that secures us an opportunity to enter the series in Season 5.

“Electrification will play a major role in the future of the automotive industry. Racing has always been a technology R&D platform for industry and this will make Formula E very relevant in the future.”

Formula E: Di Grassi wins in Putrajaya

Brazil's Lucas Di Grassi (ABT Audi Sport FE01) celebrates on the podium with Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing DSV-01) and Robin Frijns (Andretti - Spark SRT_01E). Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT

Brazil’s Lucas Di Grassi (ABT Audi Sport FE01) celebrates on the podium with Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing DSV-01) and Robin Frijns (Andretti – Spark SRT_01E). Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT

 

Lucas di Grassi claimed his second FIA Formula E Championship win in a race at Putrajaya in Malaysia that was packed with incident from start to finish.

Even before the race had started Stephane Sarrazin was in trouble as his Venturi cut out on the dummy grid. With the Frenchman unable to take up his place on the front row alongside the Julius Baer Pole Position winner Sebastien Buemi, the start had to be delayed as he was pushed to the back of the field.

With no one directly alongside him, Buemi had a clear run into the first corner, and as was the case in the season-opener in Beijing, the Renault e.dams driver pulled away into a comfortable lead. But this would be no back-to-back win for the Swiss, as his car ground to a halt as the race neared its mid-way point.

With Buemi’s car stopped on track, the team opted to pit his team mate Nicolas Prost as this point, as he had also been suffering with his car cutting out. The early pitstop ensured the Frenchman took over the lead after the mid-race car swaps took place, but as he had to make his energy last for longer than his rivals, combined with his car troubles he was unable to prevent the trailing pack from passing him.

Di Grassi took over in second following the pitstop phase, but only because Dragon Racing’s Loic Duval suffered an over-long stop. The Frenchman had briefly held the lead following Buemi’s troubles, but was now behind not only di Grassi but the Team Aguri car of Antonio Felix da Costa too.

As Prost struggled with his car cutting out, di Grassi made his move for the lead. Behind them Da Costa and Duval entertainingly disputed third. Eventually both found a way by the Renault e.dams and Duval started to close in on the leader. But when a damper broke in the suspension of his car, his great run was ended and di Grassi was left unpressured at the front and duly collected the win.

“You can see how difficult the conditions were with the amount of sand I have in my eye, the amount of sand I have in the car,” he admitted. “It was an extremely tough race, mainly determined by battery temperature. But gladly we managed it better than the others, we did a fantastic job. The team in the background did a perfect job with the strategy and we managed to claim the victory and I’m now the leader in the championship.”

After a mistake in qualifying and a brush with the wall, DS Virgin’s Sam Bird started back in 14th. But the 2014 Putrajaya ePrix winner has an affinity with the circuit, and while those around him were having troubles he was able to concentrate on driving his own race, staying out of trouble and when Jerome D’Ambrosio crashed out of second place for Dragon on the final lap, the Brit inherited the runner-up spot.

“I’m absolutely chuffed,” he beamed. “This one is for the boys at Virgin – I don’t think that too many people know that before the race we were down in the dumps because I didn’t think we were going to finish the race because we only had one battery in the car. The Virgin boys fixed the car so quick, this is for the Virgin boys! If people don’t say Formula E is exciting, then I think they didn’t watch that race. It was carnage, but cool carnage. It’s a series that people should watch because that’s fantastic racing, it’s unreal.”

 

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Da Costa’s great run for Aguri ended when his car cut-out too, which handed a podium finish to Andretti’s Robin Frijns. However, the Dutchman was exceptionally fortunate to finish the race after clouting the wall as he made a passing move on the hobbled Duval.

Even though the suspension and steering were deranged, he somehow kept the car pointing in the right direction and crawled over the line for his first Formula E podium.

“I felt like I was a rally driver!” he exclaimed. “Duval had a problem in front of me and he also had a suspension failure. I overtook him before Turn 9 and I went in just a bit too quick and there was a lot of rubber and dirt. I was on it and I saw the wall coming and I said, ‘this is it, it’s over’. It was quite a big hit and the rear was completely bent, the steering was totally not straight any more. Right corners were fine but in left corners I really had to take it easy. But I’m surprised how strong the Formula E car is.”

Despite his problems at the start Sarrazin came through to fourth, while Bruno Senna took fifth for Mahindra Racing. Da Costa managed to get his car restarted and came home sixth, while Daniel Abt finished seventh for Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport.

Nelson Piquet Jr was again a FanBoost winner and kept out of trouble to score his first points of the season for NEXTEV TCR in eighth, while Nick Heidfeld finished ninth despite having been tipped into a spin at the first corner following a three-way tussle with Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Virgin Racing) who was eliminated on the spot and Jacques Villeneuve (Venturi).

Prost picked up the final point in 10th, while Buemi had the consolation of securing the Visa Fastest Lap and two bonus points.

After one of the most eventful races in Formula E’s short history, the teams and drivers now have a well-earned break before the series resumes in the amazing beachside setting of Punta del Este on 19 December.

 

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Award for Williams

Formula-E-Battery,-WAE

 

Williams Advanced Engineering has been awarded the 2015 Simms Medal by the Royal Automobile Club in recognition of home-grown British automotive engineering talent.

The Simms Medal is only awarded in years when the RAC’s Technical Committee deems there have been contenders of sufficient merit. Williams Advanced Engineering has been awarded the prize for its work in creating the batteries that are currently powering the cars racing in the Formula E electric racing series.

The Formula E battery had to be designed from scratch within 12 months and to a strictly pre-determined safety cell, cool sufficiently, be 100% consistent from one team to the next (40 race cars plus spares), and last an entire season with no loss of power or performance. The batteries showed remarkable reliability in the inaugural Formula E season, with only one failure in 440 race starts.

Williams Advanced Engineering is only the eighth recipient of the Simms Medal, with previous winners including Richard Parry-Jones CBE in 2007 for his contribution to the automotive industry; Ben Bowlby in 2012 for his ground-breaking DeltaWing racing car and Lord Paul Drayson in 2013 for world record breaking achievements with the Drayson B12/69 LMP-type EV racing car.

Formula E meets Battersea: Saturday

Buemi takes victory in Visa London ePrix

Buemi takes victory in Visa London ePrix

 

The dominant colours at the first day of the Visa London ePrix, held in Battersea Park, were yellow and blue – those of the e.dams-Renault team, which thanks to a victory courtesy of Sebastien Buemi and a seventh place for Nicolas Prost, took the first ever team title.

This was Buemi’s third win of the season, following on from those in Punta del Este and Monaco and it means the fight for the drivers’ title is wide open again, given that series leader Nelson Piquet Jr, finished fifth, also beaten by fellow countryman Lucas di Grassi, who was fourth.

The first and probably decisive building block in Buemi’s victory came shortly after 1pm, when he set the fastest time in qualifying. Starting from what Formula E’s Global Partner christened the number one slot on the grid, the Julius Baer Pole Position, was the key, especially as the start was taken behind the Qualcomm Safety Car.

This decision was taken after Turn 1 had to be modified on safety grounds, so all the cars set off behind the pace car. Just as he did in Monaco on 9 May, Buemi soon set the pace and built up a lead of a handful of seconds, which meant he was able to run the race as he pleased. He richly deserved the haul of 28 points, which means not only does he jump up into second place in the drivers’ classification, but above all, he has closed the gap to the leader to just five points.

The only goal which escaped the Swiss driver was the Visa Fastest Lap Trophy, which went to Lucas di Grassi. Having started third on the grid, the Audi Sport ABT driver had to concentrate more on defending his position from his direct rival in the title fight, than on attacking those in front of him. There were some truly exciting moments in the duel between the two Brazilians, with Piquet trying to make the most of the FanBoost and di Grassi grittily defending, although it was not enough to prevent Jean-Eric Vergne getting past. The Scuderia Ferrari test driver, in his Andretti car, started from fifth, but was one of the fastest in the race, managing to pass both Brazilians.

Jerome D’Ambrosio came home second, racking up his second front running finish in the championship. Dragon Racing’s Belgian driver started from the front row and produced a really impeccable drive, taking a result that’s very important for the team which is still fighting for the runner-up slot in the teams’ classification.

Of the other points finishers, Sam Bird came home sixth, getting the better of fellow countryman, Oliver Turvey, the best of the five rookies, who took a strong ninth place. The remaining points finishers were all French: Prost seventh, Duval eighth and Sarrazin tenth. Just outside the points was Switzerland’s Simona de Silvestro, whose eleventh place was the best result for a woman driver this season.

The tenth race is now over, but there’s barely time to pause for breath: for the first time, a round is made up of two races on consecutive days, much to the delight of the large crowd of Londoners and tourists, who packed Battersea Park on Saturday, filling the grandstands as part of an overall crowd of more than 25,000.

Sunday is the final race of the championship, which will decide the drivers’ title. Yesterday, six of them were in with a chance of being crowned the very first Formula E champion, but now it’s down to just three: Piquet, Buemi and di Grassi. The NEXTEV TCR driver starts with a five point advantage over his e.dams-Renault rival, while Audi Sport ABT’s Brazilian faces a 13 point deficit: with 30 points to play for, anything can still happen.

FIA Formula E Championship – Visa London ePrix (Rd 10) – Results:

1. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 47:54.784s (29 laps)
2. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +0.939s
3. Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti Formula E, +1.667s
4. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +2.409s
5. Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV TCR, +7.370s
6. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +7.762s
7. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +8.553s
8. Loic Duval, Dragon Racing, +9.507s
9. Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV TCR, +10.032s
10. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +12.077s
11. Simona de Silvestro, Andretti Formula E, +15.946s
12. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +35.595s
13. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +41.034s
14. Fabio Leimer, Virgin Racing, +42.697s
15. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +43.273s
16. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +48.423s
17. Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, +1:01.987s
18. Alex Fontana, Trulli, DNF
19. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, DNF
20. Sakon Yamamoto, Amlin Aguri, DNF

Driver Standings (After Rd 10):

1. Nelson Piquet Jr 138pts
2. Sebastien Buemi 133pts
3. Lucas di Grassi 125pts
4. Jerome D’Ambrosio 95pts
5. Nicolas Prost 88pts
6. Sam Bird 76pts
7. Jean-Eric Vergne 70pts
8. Antonio Felix da Costa 51pts
9. Daniel Abt 32pts
10. Nick Heidfeld 31pts

Team Standings (After Rd 10):

1. e.dams-Renault 221pts
2. Audi Sport ABT 157pts
3. NEXTEV TCR 144pts
4. Dragon Racing 133pts
5. Andretti Formula E 119pts
6. Virgin Racing 106pts
7. Amlin Aguri 62pts
8. Venturi 50pts
9. Mahindra Racing 46pts
10. Trulli 17pts

BREAKING: Drama in Berlin as Di Grassi excluded from ePrix

Too quick for my own good. Race winner Lucas di Grassi has been excluded from the DHL Berlin ePrix after his Audi Sport ABT car was found to have been running with a modified front wing.

The race-winning car failed post-race scrutineering where it was discovered that the front wing fairings had been modified to include internal metal reinforcing rods. In addition the stewards found that six of the eight holes in the front wing had been sealed. The remaining two holes were found to have had helicoil inserts and chamfers made and that the front flap and gurney LH 220 has a filler layer added and chamfer made.

The team argued that these changes were made as a result of repairs and that they offered no competitive advantage, however, they were deemed to be in breach of Article 3.1 of 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Technical Regulations and the exclusion was made.

Audi Sport ABT has decided not to appeal the decision.

The decision means that Jerome D’Ambrosio is now the winner of the race and Nelson Piquet Jr is now in the lead of the championship, 10 points ahead of di Grassi.

So, after all that, here are the modified results, etc:

1. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, 48:26.566
2. Sébastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, +2.433s
3. Loïc Duval, Dragon Racing, +3.508s
4. Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV TCR, +3.975s
5. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +13.046s
6. Stéphane Sarrazin, Venturi, +13.335s
7. Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti, +13.678s
8. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +14.055s
9. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Trulli, +15.636s
10. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +16.602s
11. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +16.797s
12. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +20.594s
13. Scott Speed, Andretti, +21.149s
14. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +23.668s
15. Charles Pic, NEXTEV TCR, +25.491s
16. Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, +44.137s
17. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +46.257s
18. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +52.703s
19. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +2 laps
EXC Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT

Driver Standings
Nelson Piquet Jr – 103
Sébastien Buemi – 101
Lucas di Grassi – 93
Nicolas Prost – 78
Jerome D’Ambrosio – 77
Sam Bird – 68
Antonio Felix da Costa – 45
Jean-Eric Vergne – 40
Jaime Alguersuari – 30
Bruno Senna – 28

Team Standings
e.dams-Renault – 179
Dragon Racing – 116
Audi Sport ABT – 115
NEXTEV TCR – 107
Virgin Racing – 98
Andretti – 88
Amlin Aguri – 48
Mahindra Racing – 46
Venturi – 34
Trulli – 17

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