Formula E

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

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

The winter break is over! Formula E is holding the first race of its Gen3 era this weekend. To find out what else is keeping the paddock at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez busy besides the track action, check out the latest edition of our Paddock Whispers series, which we're continuing this year due to its huge popularity. We'll update this news ticker regularly throughout the weekend.

>> ABT drivers sign autographs to "Mexican foxes"

[Jan 14 | 19:01] Mexican fans are considered to be particularly enthusiastic and creative in Formula E. This proved true at the autograph session that took place in the pit lane of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez after qualifying. On the Twitter account of ABT Cupra, two "foxes" can be seen just getting autographs from Robin Frijns and Nico Müller. Really curious!

>> Jaguar & Envision break curfew

[Jan 14 | 18:13] Race officials have announced that the Jaguar and Envision teams broke curfew Friday night. After the accident of Mitch Evans following the 1st Free Practice, the team did not have enough time to repair the car before the garages actually had to be locked. The race stewards refrained from penalizing the team - presumably with driver safety in mind.

The case was similar for Sebastien Buemi's Envision Jaguar: here, too, a change of the rear end was necessary as a result of damage to the vehicle in the 1st free practice session, which was not possible within the time available. No penalty was imposed either. How exactly the damage to Buemi's race car had occurred is unclear.

>> Gen3 cars slower than Gen2 in 1st free practice

[Jan 14 | 14:07] The Gen3 cars did not reach the lap times of the Gen2 cars in the 1st Free Practice of Mexico, according to calculations of 'e-Formula.news'. Despite higher power and lower weight, last year's cars were faster, especially in the stadium section.

While lap times cannot be directly compared due to the new chicane, Sectors 1 and 3 remained unchanged except for a minimal length adjustment. Our analysis of the sector best times from 2022 and 2023 showed that the Gen3 cars are almost 0.2 seconds faster in the first sector - presumably due to the long full-flow passage on the start-finish straight. In the final section of the track, however, they lose around 0.3 seconds again.

It should be noted, however, that the best time in Sector 3 was set by Jake Hughes, who was only using 300 kW at the time. There is definitely still potential here. The fact that the 1st Free Practice 2022 was held on Saturday morning at lower temperatures also makes a direct comparison difficult. Here, a comparison with the 2nd Free Practice this year would be more meaningful. However, it confirms what had already been indicated in Valencia: a big leap forward in terms of lap times remains absent with the Gen3 bolides.

>> Race length meets approval, safety car impact uncertain

[Jan 14 | 13:21] The reintroduction of lap racing presents the FIA with the pre-race challenge of finding the right race length. At the Mexico City E-Prix, drivers will have to complete 36 laps. A good choice, thinks Andretti driver Jake Dennis. "It requires a reasonable amount of energy saving," the Briton told colleagues at 'The Race'. "It's not like the test race at Valencia, where you could run full power. 37 laps would probably have been too extreme, at 35 we would have had almost full power laps again. I think that was the correct decision."

"With the limited experience we have, it's hard to say," Sebastien Buemi, on the other hand, is not so sure. "But I think maybe it could have been a bit more laps, that's my personal feeling. It will take maybe two or three races until we find the right measure."

Porsche driver Antonio Felix da Costa adds, "It's like the race gets faster when we have a certain number of minutes under full-course yellow or behind the safety car. If these are not quite enough to trigger an extra lap, then the race becomes too fast again. Then it becomes very difficult to overtake each other." In Mexico City, an extra lap is added to the race time each time the field has run more than 3:30 minutes (210 seconds) behind the safety car or under full-course yellow.

>> Rookie rule adjustment

[Jan 13 | 23:09] Article 32.6, which was added to the Formula E Sporting Regulations before the start of the season and states that on two occasions during the season each team must field a driver who is neither a regular driver nor has competed in an E-Prix in the past, has been adjusted. Following an electronic vote among teams conducted last week, each team is now only required to put a rookie in the car once per season.

>> Shakedown without incident

[Jan 13 | 21:49] The obligatory shakedown on the day before the E-Prix ran on Friday evening German time without significant incidents. Here, the drivers are allowed to turn three laps with a greatly reduced power output of 110 kW.

Co-commentator Oliver Askew, however, ventured a forecast for the free practice sessions: he expected that the drivers would be able to turn more laps, as the Hankook tires have no thermal restrictions. The Michelin tires in previous seasons overheated quickly, so they always had to be cooled down after a fast lap.

>> Oliver Askew as co-commentator in Mexico

[Jan 13 | 21:23] Former Andretti driver Oliver Askew can be seen or heard in Mexico City for the first time in a new role: The US American will support Jack Nicholls at the season opener as co-commentator for the TV world signal. Askew was also allowed to do a few laps in the race series demo vehicle before the 1st Free Practice.

>> David Beckmann on site for the first time as a Porsche substitute driver

[Jan 13 | 20:07] Porsche reserve driver David Beckmann is at the track for the first time as part of his new job. The 22-year-old took part in the obligatory trackwalk in the morning Mexican time together with Porsche regulars Antonio Felix da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein to get a close look at the track on site. As planned, however, the German will not be racing in Mexico.

>> Bankruptcies, bad luck & mishaps at the PK

[Jan 13 | 20:03] As usual, Formula E held its official press conference on Friday, which is also streamed live on the Internet for media representatives:inside. Unfortunately, we can only give a very limited account of what was said in it. After the first half of the team bosses' press conference, the sound failed, accompanied by a strong shaking of the image. The drivers then remained completely silent. Our guess: Someone in the media center may have tripped over a cable and pulled it out of the camera. Why no one on site obviously noticed this is a mystery to us.

Nevertheless, we were able to observe a funny scene: Nissan team boss Tommaso Volpe bent down after the end of the PK section for one of the new Formula E trophies that had been placed on the stage. As he was about to reach for it, he noticed his faux pas, quickly withdrew his hands and laughed bashfully. Nissan enters the 2023 season hungry for success!

>> Porsche also on the road in 2023 with witty halo jokes

[Jan 13 | 19:27] Porsche is sticking to a cherished tradition in the new season: both of the team's cars will be racing with different slogans on the halo system, which protects the driver's head in the event of an accident. In Mexico, Pascal Wehrlein's car reads "Pascal la vista, baby," while Antonio Felix da Costa's vehicle has "Antoni-Olé" emblazoned in the same place.

>> McLaren to drive with Nissan powertrains by 2027

[Jan 13 | 15:45] A fan guide from Formula E newcomer McLaren reveals the Brits will use electric motors from Nissan for the next four seasons. "We have partnered with Nissan, who will provide us with their e-drive technology for the entire Gen 3 era," it says. This information is new. Many fans had previously assumed that McLaren might sign on as its own Formula E manufacturer from 2025. However, the papaya-colored team from Woking will remain a customer team for four years.

>> Hughes & Rast unveil new helmets

[Jan 13 | 12:10] As some other drivers in Valencia, the two McLaren drivers Jake Hughes and Rene Rast have now also presented their helmet designs for McLaren's debut season in Formula E in a video in Mexico City. In the process, they noted some similarities.... I wonder if TV viewers:inside will be able to tell the two apart very well?

>> Birthday cake for Edo Mortara

[Jan 13 | 11:38] Edoardo Mortara celebrated his 36th birthday on Thursday. His teammate Maximilian Günther did not miss the opportunity to present him with a cake on the occasion of his day of honor, which the Swiss was also allowed to cut. Mortara managed with a lot of care to prevent part of the cake from landing in his face :)

 
 
 
 
 
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>> Hankook brings color to the black world of tires

[Jan 13 | 09:07] For the races in Mexico City, Rome and London, Hankook, Formula E's new tire supplier, has come up with something special. At these three E-Prix, the all-weather tires of the Gen3 bolides will appear much more colorful than usual. For example, the first photos from Mexico already showed that parts of the tread are colored in orange and blue.

"We have colored tread grooves as a design element on the Hankook iON Race at the events where we are the title sponsor," confirmed a spokeswoman for the tire manufacturer when asked by 'e-Formula.news'. In the "class photo of the 2023 vintage", you can already see that all teams have put on the colored tires.

>> Formula E unveils new winners trophies

[Jan 13 | 08:20] Formula E has unveiled the new trophies for the Gen3 era shortly before the season opener in Mexico. The trophies consist of 44 aluminum fins: 22 for the number of drivers in the electric series and 22 for the cars they drive. The look of the new trophies is based on the spokes of wheels, heat sinks and the veins in power cables.

 
 
 
 
 
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>> Aston Martin F1 secures the services of the Formula E champion

[Jan 12 | 19:36] Formula One team Aston Martin will have a new test and reserve driver next season: Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne will join Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso at the racing team in green, in addition to his main job at DS Penske. Vandoorne has worked with the Spaniard in the past: Alonso and Vandoorne were teammates at McLaren-Honda in 2017 and 2018.

>> Formula E extends partnership with DHL

[Jan 12 | 18:53] Formula E will continue to work with its logistics partner DHL in the ninth Formula E season and beyond. The company will transport around 415 tons of freight per race. In addition to the race cars, this also includes the batteries and chargers, TV broadcasting equipment, and equipment for the hospitality of the racing series. For all road and sea transport, founding member DHL will use biofuels next season, covering an expected 89,100 kilometers.

>> More TecPro barriers in Mexico

[12.01. | 18:01] The higher speeds of the Gen3 cars also bring adjustments to the safety measures at the track. Colleagues at 'The Race' report, for example, that after running simulations, the FIA has decided to erect additional TecPro barriers in some areas of the track.

>> Virtual Formula E lap in Portland

[Jan 12 | 16:43] We're still a few months away from the first Formula E race in Portland. Virtually, however, you can already watch a lap of the electric bolides on the IndyCar circuit today: On the YouTube channel of Minamoto Graphics, you can see a simulated lap of an Andretti Gen2 car on the track. The lap was driven in the rFactor2 software.

 

>> Jaguar & Castrol extend partnership

[Jan 12 | 16:07] British Formula E team Jaguar Racing has extended its partnership with lubricant manufacturer Castrol, which has been running since 2019. Castrol has also been working with Gen3 battery supplier WAE since last year.

>> Electric two-seater cab ride with Alice Powell

[Jan 12 | 15:21] Envision simulator driver Alice Powell got to drive professional footballer Ben Mee and sports presenter David Garrido around the track in an electric two-seater at Silverstone. For this purpose, Envision Racing has produced a video of about six minutes. The Formula E team had started developing the car while still under the name Virgin already started two years ago, the finished vehicle was finally presented at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in October 2021.

>> Flight overbooked: Fenestraz dithers on arrival

[Jan 12 | 14:50] Nissan driver Sacha Fenestraz almost didn't make it to Mexico on time: his flight with Spanish airline Iberia was overbooked, so the Franco-Argentinean feared he would be late for his second Formula E race. A few hours later, however, he posted a photo on Twitter showing him on the plane.

>> Grandstand construction in Cape Town

[Jan 12 | 14:13] While everyone is eagerly awaiting the season opener in Mexico, preparations for the fifth race of the season are already underway in 13,700 kilometers away: Grandstands are already being erected in Cape Town for the first Formula E race in South Africa, which will take place on Feb. 25.

>> Attack zone will be relocated but will remain in the stadium

[Jan 12 | 13:38] In addition to the new chicane, there is a second change to the track in Mexico for the Gen3 era: the attack zone will be relocated a few meters. Instead of on the inside lane of the short straight between turns 14 and 15, drivers will now have to unlock the extra power on the outside of turn 15. In the past, there had been repeated touches at this point because the drivers braked harder on the racing line to activate the attack mode.

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