Formula E

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

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

Formula E starts this weekend in the first "double-header" of its Gen3 era. Find out what else is keeping the paddock in Diriyya busy besides the track action in the latest edition of our Paddock Whispers series, which we are continuing this year due to its huge popularity. We'll update this news ticker regularly throughout the weekend.

>> State visit to the Formula E race in Diriyya

[28 Jan | 22:00] The starting grid of the Diriyya E-Prix was also bustling with political celebrities ahead of Saturday's race, with sightings including Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and former Spanish King Juan Carlos I.

>> Winnie Harlow riding as a co-driver in the safety car

[01/28 | 16:56] Model Winnie Harlow is visiting Diriyya. The Canadian was allowed to turn a few laps around the track as a co-driver in the safety car of Formula E, a Porsche Taycan. The 28-year-old is also a household name to motorsport fans because she waved the chequered flag at the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix - one lap early.

>> Night Shift with Burgers at Maserati

[28.01. | 16:56] After the accident in qualifying, Max Günther's Maserati had to be completely rebuilt overnight. The car received a new Moncoque, but due to a shortage of spare parts, many parts of the accident car had to be reused.

"We had to remove a lot of parts from the damaged chassis, which made the process very complicated," team boss James Rossiter told ''. "It took the guys from the return of the car after qualifying into the night. Eating burgers in the garage at 1:30 in the morning - I never thought I'd see that!"

>> Mahindra Racing shows "fiberglass photos"

[01/28 | 12:31] Lou Johnson, photographer for our photo partner Spacesuit Media, captured some stunning images for Mahindra Racing again this year. In the gallery below, you'll see a few photos taken using a very special fiber optic technique. If you'd like to learn more about Lou and her work, we can recommend an interview with the Brit conducted by colleague Tobi Bluhm a few weeks ago.

>> Lucien Laviscount visiting Diriyya

[Jan 28 | 09:44] British actor Lucien Laviscount will be a guest at the Diriyya E-Prix. Laviscount is known, among other things, from the second season of the Netflix series "Emily in Paris." Formula E interviewed him on the grid just before the race.

>> Impressive drone show before the race start

[28.01. | 09:12] As in previous years, the organizers of the Diriyya E-Prix put on an impressive light show before the start of the race. For example, numerous remote-controlled drones projected figures and lettering onto the night sky above the race track. In addition, more than 170 LED floodlight towers around the track contributed to the show once again this year.

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>> Martin Garrix guesting on Envision

[01/27 | 17:33] Dutch star DJ Martin Garrix visited the Envision team in the garage ahead of Friday's race in Diriyya. Nick Cassidy gave him a tour of the garage and showed him the functions of his steering wheel, among other things. Garrix will give a concert as part of the evening program in Diriyya. I wonder if there will be a "return visit?

>> Greenko becomes title sponsor in Hyderabad

[Jan 27 | 13:18] Indian company Greenko will be the title sponsor at the Formula E race in Hyderabad. The company has installed renewable energy generation plants in 15 Indian states with a total capacity of 7.5 gigawatts. Greenko is also working to build energy storage facilities with a total capacity of 100 gigawatt hours. This energy could be used to charge the battery of a Formula E race car a total of 2.5 million times.

>> Porsche celebrates 75 years of sports cars

[Jan 27 | 12:58] German manufacturer Porsche is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Porsche 356 with a sticker on its Formula E cars. The company's first sports car was built in 1948. As part of the celebrations, there will be, among other things, a special exhibition called "Driven by Dreams. 75 Years of Porsche Sports Cars" in Berlin.

>> Formula E rearview mirror criticized

[Jan 27 | 11:04] The rearview mirrors on the Gen3 cars are to be revised, report colleagues at 'The Race'. Already during the pre-season tests in Valencia, some drivers would have complained about poor visibility in the mirrors. McLaren driver Rene Rast has clear words to say about this: "This is something that has to be changed. We can't race with it," says the German. ABT driver Nico Müller agrees with him: "It's difficult to see anything because the fairing sways and the rear wheels are in the way." Lucas di Grassi also says: "The mirrors are too low, we can't see over the rear wheels. It doesn't need a big change, just make them a little higher."

>> Ronaldo breakdown ahead of Formula E drivers

[01/26 | 22:34] Andretti drivers Jake Dennis and Andre Lotterer, along with Nio 333 driver Dan Ticktum, were at King Fahd Stadium on Thursday night. Together, the drivers watched the Saudi Super Cup semifinal match between Ittihad FC and al-Nassr FC. The capital club al-Nassr, which gained international fame a few weeks ago after signing superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, lost the game 3-1.

>> drivers anniversaries in Diriyya

[01/26 | 17:58] Formula E welcomes three more drivers to the 100-race club on Friday in the form of Sam Bird, Sebastien Buemi and Jean-Eric Vergne. What almost gets lost in the shuffle is that Pascal Wehrlein is also contesting his 50th race in the electric racing series. For Rene Rast, his 25th Formula E race is scheduled for Saturday.

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>> ABT Cupra with halo salute to Robin Frijns

[26.01. | 17:25] After Porsche, ABT Cupra is now also using the halo system on its race cars in Diriyya to spread messages. The troop from Kempten thus wishes its injured regular driver Robin Frijns a speedy recovery: "Get well soon, Robin"

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>> Diriyya: pit building with video screens

[Jan 26 | 15:02] The organizers of the Diriyya E-Prix have come up with something special: The pit buildings are covered with large-scale video screens, which can display, among other things, the likenesses of the pilots. Definitely an absolute eye-catcher, especially in the dark!

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>> Dennis & Lotterer discuss gripping last year's duel

[Jan 26 | 13:44] Andretti teammates Jake Dennis and Andre Lotterer watched footage of their fierce duel last year in a team social media video and discussed the scenes with each other. Dennis had made a total of three attacks on Lotterer at the end of the start straight. The German fended off the first attack, countered the second time and passed again on the inside. But only briefly, because one lap later Dennis put himself in front of the then Porsche works driver with a spirited maneuver. Andretti team boss Roger Griffiths might hope that the two will be more caring of each other this year.

>> McLaren drivers climb in Neom

[Jan 26 | 13:27] The Saudi planned city of Neom has released a video of McLaren drivers Jake Hughes and Rene Rast exploring Neom's spectacular landscapes with team principal Ian James and Formula E presenter Nickie Shields. The two Formula E drivers also climbed one of the impressive cliffs in the northwest of the country. Neom is the title sponsor of McLaren's Formula E and Extreme E teams.

>> Empty grandstands at free practice

[Jan 26 | 13:10] The grandstands at the Diriyya E-Prix will remain empty during free practice. As the organizers announced with the official schedules, the gates will not open for spectators:inside until 40 minutes before the start of qualifying at 3:40 p.m. local time.

>> Lucid Air as support cars

[Jan 26 | 12:53] US electric car company Lucid Motors is providing several supoprt vehicles at Diriyya, including one for deputy race director Marek Hanaczewski. The Saudi Public Investment Fund had secured a majority stake in the U.S. company several years ago, and it acted as McLaren Applied's technical partner in developing the batteries for the Gen2 cars. On the other hand, the familiar Porsche vehicles are once again in use in Saudi Arabia as the official Formula E vehicles: the Porsche Taycan as the safety car and the Porsche Macan as the medical car.

>> Mahindra reserve rider Daruvala on site for the first time

[01/26 | 12:31] Mahindra Racing has its new reserve driver with it for the first time at Diriyya: Formula 2 driver Jehan Daruvala will spend the race weekend with the team and is available for action should Lucas di Grassi or Oliver Rowland drop out. Daruvala would be the second Indian driver in Formula E after Karun Chandhok, both in the service of Mahindra. But even if he doesn't get to race in Diriyya, Daruvala will soon make his debut behind the wheel of the M9Electro: At a free practice session this season, he is to stand in for one of the two regular drivers. Mahindra is thus fulfilling its obligation to have a driver without Formula E racing experience drive in free practice once a season.

>> Formula E drivers visit soccer club

[Jan 26 | 12:03] Formula E drivers Sam Bird, Jake Hughes and Rene Rast have paid a visit to the training session of Saudi soccer club Al Hilal. The footballers thanked them with jerseys on which the names of the three racing drivers were printed. But you'll have to decide for yourself who made the best impression in the club's blue kit.

>> Bird Anniversary: Children Form Number 100

[26.01. | 11:46] The children of Kings College in Riyadh formed the number 100 during the visit of Sam Bird on the occasion of his 100th Formula E race on the soccer field and had the whole thing photographed by a camera drone. The Briton was also allowed in the middle of it. It is not known whether similar activities are planned for the other two centenarians, Sebastien Buemi and Jean-Eric Vergne. All three drivers are competing in their 100th Formula E race on Friday.

>> Reference lap time at Diriyya set at 3:20 minutes

[Jan 26 | 11:29] The FIA has set the so-called reference lap time at 3:20 minutes (200 seconds) for the races at Diriyya. If there are neutralizations of the race in the form of full-course yellow or safety car phases, an additional lap will be added to the race distance for every 200 seconds of neutralization.

>> Delphine Biscaye leaves Maserati MSG Racing

[01/26 | 11:08] Maserati MSG Racing loses its team manager: after more than eight years Delphine Biscaye leaves the Monegasque team, which until last year still competed under the name Venturi. The editorial team says: Au revoir, Delphine!

>> Gary Paffett to be sports director at McLaren-Extreme E team

[Jan 26 | 10:46] Ex-racing driver Gary Paffett, team manager of McLaren's Formula E team, has now also been appointed sports director of McLaren's Extreme E team. He will continue to keep his job in Formula E. In Extreme E, he will take an active role in the future with sporting and technical aspects of the team, among other things, McLaren said in a press release. The two-time DTM champion had contested the 2018/19 Formula E season for HWA Racelab and subsequently assumed an advisory role in the successor team Mercedes-EQ.

>> Formula E stars to attend NBA game in Paris

[Jan 26 | 10:21] Nick Cassidy, Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Eric Vergne were guests together at the basketball game of the Chicago Bulls against the Detroit Pistons in Paris. They proved to have a good nose in the process, as they had tipped the Chicago Bulls as the winner before the game.

Speaking of typing: Do you actually know that our community runs an annual Formula E betting game on the Kicktipp platform? At you can find the betting game, in which our editorial team also plays diligently. Good luck!

>> Vandoorne drives up at the Brussels motor show

[26.01. | 10:03] Formula E world champion Stoffel Vandoorne may not have a home E-Prix so far, but the Belgian still got to play a "home game" a few days ago: At the Motorshow in Brussels, the DS Penske driver drove up to the Stellantis stand in a Gen2 racer painted in Belgium's national colors.

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