Formula E

Paddock Whispers: News ticker on all the important Formula E paddock topics in India

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

This weekend, Formula E will be racing in India for the very first time. What else is keeping the paddock in Hyderabad busy besides the track action, you can find out in the latest edition of our Paddock Whispers series. We update this news ticker regularly throughout the weekend.


>> Daruvala confirms rookie test in Berlin

[Feb 11 | 05:17] Formula E is apparently planning to hold a rookie test as part of the Berlin E-Prix. Mahindra replacement driver Jeran Daruvala confirmed on Formula E's "Pitlane Show" after the 1st Free Practice that he would be sitting in the Gen3 car for the first time "at the rookie test in Berlin". We assume the test is a compromise, after the number of Formula E rookie free practice appearances has already been reduced from two to one per season.

>> Bollywood superstar Kartik Aaryan promotes E-Prix

[Feb 11 | 04:53] Formula E has roped in Bollywood superstar Kartik Aaryan for an advertising campaign for the Hyderabad E-Prix. Aaryan has won various awards in recent years for his acting performances in Indian films. A new film starring the 32-year-old will be released in a week. Speaking about his role in the film and his collaboration with Formula E, Aaryan says, "I am the real prince of the Jindal family, and the real prince of racing is the Formula E World Championship, which is now coming to India for the first time." Whether the actor had really heard of Formula E before the collaboration? We have our doubts about that...

>> Formula E announces collaboration with Tata Communications

[Feb 11 | 04:28] Formula E has a new partner: Indian company Tata Communications will become the race series' "Official Broadcast Distribution Provider." The company will provide more than 160 live video and audio signals of the races worldwide. For this purpose, the company will use 26 Media Edge locations in Europe, Asia and North America. Formula E hopes the partnership will lead to a sustainable expansion of the infrastructure for its TV and streaming broadcasts.

>> Hankook expects better performance in Hyderabad

[Feb 11 | 04:12] Much has been said in recent weeks about the subject of tires in the context of Gen3 performance. For example, Pascal Wehrlein, among others, spoke out in favor of the introduction of slicks, as the grip of the tires has so far been the limiting factor for lap times. In Hyderabad, things should be different, tire manufacturer Hankook is sure.

"Without going too much into the subject of chemistry, our performance level will be given at the higher track temperatures here," explains Hankook engineer Mike Choi to the colleagues of 'The Race'. However, this statement cannot really be verified. Unlike in Valencia or at the first two races of the season, there is no possibility of comparison on the completely new track in Hyderabad.

>> Bat colonies in the trees around the track

[Feb. 10 | 17:06] We've frequently reported on animals living in the vicinity of Formula E races, including, for example, the bears in the Bern bear pit. In Hyderabad, however, quite different animals have been spotted: Large colonies of bats live in the trees surrounding the track.

>> Mahindra Racing with "false flag" in the pits

[Feb 10 | 16:42] Mahindra Racing does not have the correct Indian flag hanging in its garage in Hyderabad: Unlike the original, there is no navy blue chakra with 24 spokes in the center. The curious reason: A law in India states that, in principle, nothing may hang higher than the Indian flag. Since this cannot be ensured in the Formula E paddock, Mahindra simply resorted to a variant that has no official character.

>> Buemi & Cassidy race e-rickshaws

[Feb 10 | 16:24] Envision Racing has pitted its two drivers against each other in a race with electric rickshaws on the occasion of the Hyderabad E-Prix. Sebastien Buemi and Nick Cassidy had to complete three laps on a kart race track. Of course, they also had guests on board, as the vehicles are often used as cabs for up to four people in India. Find out who won the race in the embedded video.

>> No toilets in the paddock yet on Friday

[Feb. 10 | 16:07] Drivers may well find the Hyderabad circuit appealing, but they have their problems with another given of the course: There are no toilets in the paddock! "We have to go to the neighboring mall, which is a five to ten minute walk away," Jaguar driver Sam Bird describes to 'Hindustan Times'. "The track itself looks good, but there are things all around it that are not ready, such as toilets. It's not ideal," Pascal Wehrlein agrees.

"There is only one day left (until the race), and there are no toilets," Sebastien Buemi also complains. "It would have been better if everything had been ready a little earlier." Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle doesn't want to let the drivers' complaints go uncommented on, countering, "Even in New York, the drivers had to walk to the toilets. They like to complain."

>> The Ex is Visiting

[Feb 10 | 15:52] Dilbagh Gill, long-time team principal of Mahindra Racing, is on hand in Hyderabad. The Indian is attending an E-Prix for the first time since leaving the team. "This is the culmination of the efforts of a great team. For me personally, it is very satisfying as this has always been a dream. I'm happy to be here and contribute and thank everyone who made this possible," Gill wrote on Twitter.

>> Longest water organ in India opened

[Feb 10 | 15:08] On the occasion of the Formula E race, the longest water organ in India was erected in the Hussain Sagar Lake, which is located directly next to the race track: The water spectacle is a whole 180 meters long, which is carried out by lighting and spectacular laser effects to the tourist attraction.


>> Mahindra riders in traditional garb

[Feb 10 | 14:27] The two Mahindra drivers Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Rowland were seen in an unusual outfit at the track: Both wore a traditional kurta whose design was inspired by the M9Electro. However, it is unlikely that we will see the two of them in this look again during the race weekend: The FIA doesn't take a joke when it comes to wearing unauthorized garments in the car, as Lucas di Grassi was already made to feel a few years ago because of his underwear.

>> Wild card tires for Nato after puncture in shakedown

[Feb 10 | 12:11] Nissan driver Norman Nato damaged a rear tire in the shakedown. The Frenchman will therefore use his "joker rear tire" for the rest of the race weekend. Each driver is allowed to replace a damaged tire with a new one once per axle during the season without penalty.

>> Van der Linde crashes in shakedown

[Feb. 10 | 10:37] At 10 a.m. (CET) on Friday morning, the 22 Formula E drivers took to the new track in Hyderabad for the first time - for the obligatory shakedown with normally severely limited power. They found a very dusty course in the process. The low grip caused numerous wild slides, including one by Jake Dennis (Andretti). Sergio Sette Camara braked and had to turn his Nio 333 around in the run-off zone.

Early scare moment again for ABT Cupra: Kelvin van der Linde braked and slid head-on into the TecPro barrier with the wheels stationary. His car took slight damage to the front. The shakedown was stopped with red flags. ABT must now hurry to take care of the front end of the car with the starting number 4, after all, at 12 o'clock (CET) is already the 1st Free Practice on the program.


>> Jaguar looks forward to "2nd home game" & welcomes new partner

[09.02. | 18:37] Jaguar is talking a lot these days about its "second home game" alongside the London E-Prix. Background: the "big cat" belongs to the Indian parent company Tata. Jaguar welcomes a new partner ahead of the Hyderabad E-Prix: AERO Technology, based in Columbus (USA), specializes in the production of particularly light, strong and environmentally friendly foiling.

"Hyderabad is a new opportunity for our drivers and engineers, and most importantly it is a home race for Tata and our title partner TCS," describes team principal James Barclay. "For us, as a proud part of the Tata Group, it means a lot to race in India. We're also excited to announce our new partnership with AERO ahead of this weekend." The company, however, has apparently only booked a very small sticker on the car.

>> Formula E renames subsidiary

[09.02. | 18:02] Since September 2016, Formula E was responsible for the inactive company "Formula E Opco 2". On Wednesday, the electric series' subsidiary was renamed: It is now called "Formula E Publishing Limited" and, according to the British company register, its purpose is to carry out "other sports activities." What is behind this, and what exactly the company is supposed to "publish," however, is currently unknown.

>> Wehrlein with "fashionable Christmas gift" at the race track

[09.02. | 17:35] In a video posted on Instagram, Porsche had its two Formula E drivers Antonio Felix da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein exchange gifts shortly before Christmas. Wehrlein opted for a gift so that Felix da Costa would "always look hot while surfing." In return, Felix da Costa opted for a gift so that Wehrlein would "always think of his favorite teammate even on vacation." Both gave each other shorts with the likeness of the other on them. At the end of the video, Wehrlein announced that one day he would show up at the race track in these shorts.

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That day had come in Hyderabad: Wehrlein proudly presented his Christmas present in the pit lane. Felix da Costa commented on a tweet from our colleague Robert Seiwert: "How's the relationship with Pascal going? Exactly the same."

>> Title sponsor Greenko presents "Hyderabad Anthem"

[Feb 09 | 16:23] The title sponsor of the Hyderabad E-Prix, Indian company Greenko, has produced a promotional song for the race. For the music video, Formula E provided its Gen3 show car and foiled it with the Greenko logo. The song was not 100 percent to the taste of our editorial team, but as we all know, tastes differ. It's best to listen to it yourself.


>> Vandoorne to be WEC reserve driver for Peugeot

[09.02. | 15:08] Formula E world champion Stoffel Vandoorne will also be involved in the Stellantis Group's wider motorsport commitments following his move to DS Penske: The Belgian is now an official reserve driver for the Peugeot brand in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). Formula E teammate and Peugeot regular Jean-Eric Vergne also used the announcement to put Vandoorne on the radar as a reserve driver with Extreme E team Veloce Racing. Vergne is a co-founder of the team.

>> Formula E to use new broadcast center in London

[09.02. | 14:46] Formula E has been using a new transmission center in the British capital for live broadcasts since this season. From here, the live images are distributed to more than 40 broadcasters in over 150 countries. For this purpose, Formula E is working with Gravity Media, which developed "The Production Centre" in London. The BBC Television Centre was formerly located at the same address.

>> Nissan drivers visit Greenko project

[09.02. | 13:58] Norman Nato and Sacha Fenestraz have visited one of the projects of Greenko, the title sponsor of the Hyderabad E-Prix. Greenko is one of India's leading renewable energy companies and is currently building one of the world's largest renewable power production and storage facilities. It will produce and store large amounts of wind and solar energy.

>> Maurice Lacroix offers ocean plastic Mahindra watch

[Feb 09 | 13:20] Swiss watchmaker Maurice Lacroix has unveiled a new model: the AIKON #tide Mahindra. The watch was designed in the colors of the Indian racing team and also features the engraved Mahindra logo on the dial. The plastic used for the case and clasp were fished from the ocean. The wristwatch is priced at 900 euros.

>> Prime Minister visits steel and concrete plants in Cape Town

[09.02. | 12:41] The Premier of South Africa's Western Cape province, Alan Winde, has paid a visit to the industrial facilities where the concrete walls and steel fencing for the Formula E circuit have been produced over the past six months. On site, he thanked the workers:inside that, thanks to their help, the schedule for holding the race could be met.

>> 100th Formula E start for Antonio Felix da Costa

[09.02. | 11:08] Following Lucas di Grassi in Seoul and Sam Bird, Sebastien Buemi and Jean-Eric Vergne in Diriyya, a fifth driver will join the 100-start club on Saturday: Porsche factory driver Antonio Felix da Costa will contest his 100th Formula E race in Hyderabad.

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