Formula E

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

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

This weekend, Formula E will be racing in South Africa for the very first time. Find out what else is keeping the paddock in Cape Town busy besides the track action in the latest edition of our Paddock Whispers series. We update this news ticker regularly throughout the weekend.


>> Birthday boy in Cape Town

[25.02. | 09:03] Today's race Saturday, there is already something to celebrate in the paddock: ABT Cupra driver Nico Müller has a birthday and was presented with a cake by his team, virtually for breakfast. The Swiss, whose wife Victoria is also on site with their son Fynn, turns 31 today. We congratulate quite cordially!

>> Porsche as usual with witty Halo slogan

[25.02. | 07:10] As in every race, a humorous saying is once again emblazoned on the halo system of the factory Porsche in Cape Town. This time, the safety bar above Antonio Felix da Costa's cockpit features the words "Cape of Good Speed" - in reference to the Cape of Good Hope. For Pascal Wehrlein, who became a father for the first time a few days ago, "Daddy on Tour" is emblazoned on the halo system instead.

>> Countdown at Nio 333

[Feb 24 | 21:25] An interesting discovery we made in the pit lane on Friday night: At Nio 333, a countdown is running down on large screens on both sides of the pits, showing the time remaining until curfew. The team's mechanics can therefore see at any time how long they have left to work on the cars. We didn't notice this on any other of the eleven teams.

>> 1st free practice: Van der Linde with accident, di Grassi with defect

[24.02. | 21:02] As we were able to learn in the paddock on Friday evening, ABT Cupra driver Kelvin van der Linde was in the 1st Free Practice with the left side of his bolide sideways on the track boundary struck. Lucas di Grassi, on the other hand, was a different story: The Mahindra driver parked his Gen3 race car in the area of the chicane with a suspected defect in the rear axle suspension. The Brazilian did not make contact with a wall. Nevertheless, the damage appears to have been more extensive: The team's mechanics replaced the drivetrain, including the rear axle, in the evening.

>> Jerome d'Ambrosio ahead of Formula One return

[24.02. | 17:02] As reported by colleagues of 'The Race', former Venturi team boss Jerome d'Ambrosio is said to be on the verge of a return to Formula 1: The Belgian is currently attending pre-season testing in Bahrain as a "friend of the team," according to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, and is being linked to a team management post. D'Ambrosio had joined Venturi as deputy team principal after his active driving career ended, and had taken over her position as team principal following the promotion of Toto's wife Susie to CEO of the team.

D'Ambrosio also has Formula One experience, driving for Marussia in 2011 and subsequently becoming a reserve driver at Lotus, where he deputized for the suspended Romain Grosjean for one race in 2012.

>> Discovery: DS Penske uses Mario Kart star for attack mode!

[24.02. | 17:02] As our colleague Tobias Bluhm noticed during the broadcast of the 1st Free Practice, DS Penske has apparently thought of a funny gimmick: When activating the attack mode, the star known from "Mario Kart" appeared on Jean-Eric Vergne's steering wheel display, which makes you faster and invulnerable for a certain amount of time in the iconic video game.

>> Envision, Nio 333 & Mahindra remember late David Price

[Feb 24 | 16:17] Formula E teams Envision Racing, Nio 333 and Mahindra Racing are racing in Cape Town with lettering on their cars commemorating the recently deceased David Price. Price owned David Price Racing, a racing team that had competed in various racing series since the mid-1970s, mostly in junior formulas. He sold the team in 2008, which continued to compete under his name until 2010. David Price's son, Leon Price, has been team & sporting director at Envision Racing in Formula E for several years.

>> Race commissioners reject request to review Buemi penalty

[Feb 24 | 16:17] Envision Racing has failed in its efforts to avert a retrospective penalty against Sebastien Buemi at the Hyderabad E-Prix. In Cape Town, race stewards decided to reject a request for a review of the penalty because it did not contain significant new information. So it remains the case that Buemi lost his third-place finish to Antonio Felix da Costa.

>> Fans sing national anthem for van der Linde

[Feb 24 | 15:51] It's a special weekend for local hero Kelvin van der Linde: The replacement driver for Robin Frijns has probably never been the center of media and fan attention like this in his career. For example, a few dozen fans sang the South African national anthem in support of the ABT driver as part of a pitwalk, as can be seen in a video on Hankook Motorsport's Twitter account.

>> FIA prevents renewed "Lucas Loophole"

with rule change.

[Feb 24 | 14:16] The specially designed pit lane in Cape Town has prompted a rule adjustment from the FIA: the minimum time a car must be outside the garage during a full-course yellow has been increased from ten to 50 seconds. Simulations by the teams had shown, according to information from '', that the cars would gain around 45 seconds when driving through the pit lane compared to the regular race track.

So the FIA wants to prevent drivers from driving through the pit lane to gain time - as Lucas di Grassi once did in London. Whether there will nevertheless be one or two drivers who will accept the loss of time to save energy remains to be seen.

>> Maserati MSG Racing supports food rescue in South Africa

[Feb 24 | 08:23] Maserati MSG Racing is supporting the FoodForward SA non-profit food rescue project in South Africa. In the country, one-third of food is wasted, while 30 million people in the country do not have enough to eat. FoodForward SA delivers more than 950,000 meals per day.

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A post shared by Maserati MSG Racing (@maseratimsg)

>> Jake Dennis with special helmet design

[Feb 24 | 07:09] Andretti driver Jake Dennis has brought a special helmet design for the premiere of Formula E in Cape Town, with the design of his headgear inspired by the South African flag.

>> Confusion over chicane in Cape Town

[Feb 23 | 23:02] Is there now a chicane called "turn 10" at the end of the long back straight, or is there not? After it was present in the originally published track layout, it disappeared in later renderings of the track. When it suddenly reappeared in the official Formula E preview video, everyone assumed that the chicane had been reinstated in the track layout. The official Formula E media guide also includes it.

Big confusion was, however, when the official track map of the automobile world federation FIA appeared: Here again no chicane was to be seen. At the request of '', the short-term adjustment of the layout - now without a chicane - was publicly confirmed. Curious: Even in a simulator lap of the Mahindra driver Oliver Rowland, which was published on Thursday morning, the chicane was present.


In the meantime, it seems clear: There will be no chicane, so there will only be twelve turns in Cape Town instead of 13. The track length is thus 2,921 instead of 2,927 meters. Amen.

>> Cape Town E-Prix partners with Green Riders

[Feb 23 | 21:41] The Cape Town E-Prix is sponsoring the African initiative Green Riders, who will carry the race's logo on their delivery boxes in Cape Town in return. The Green Riders is a campaign to make deliveries and courier trips more sustainable throughout Africa. Instead of using cars, motorcycles or scooters, Green Riders deliveries are made exclusively on standardized e-bikes that have been specially designed for use in African countries.

>> Formula E drivers at rugby practice

[Feb 23 | 21:13] Various Formula E drivers trained this week with Cape Town's rugby team, the DHL Stormers. Among them were Max Guenther, Envision drivers Sebastien Buemi and Nick Cassidy, ABT driver Kelvin van der Linde, McLaren drivers Jake Hughes and Rene Rast, and Nio 333 newcomer Sergio Sette Camara.

>> Mortara & Nato play Padel Tennis

[Feb 23 | 20:40] Edo Mortara and Norman Nato got in some sporting action on Wednesday: The two Formula E drivers played padel tennis against a couple of South African professional players. In the process, the Swiss and the Frenchman acquitted themselves quite respectably.

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A post shared by Africa Padel (@africapadel)

>> Teams Climb Table Mountain

[Feb 23 | 19:14] The Formula E teams have used the Wednesday before the race to advertise the Cape Town E-Prix in the city or to visit some tourist attractions. High on the agenda: Table Mountain, less than five kilometers as the crow flies from the city center. The corresponding pictures of Andretti, Jaguar, McLaren, Nio 333 and Nissan, all of which "climbed" the almost 1,100-meter-high mountain, appeared on social networks. At Nissan, even both drivers were there.

>> Porsche hosts "Meet & Greet" at Puma store

[Feb 23 | 18:37] Formula E team Porsche hosted a "Meet & Greet" with its two drivers Antonio Felix da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein at a Puma store in Cape Town on Wednesday evening. More than 50 fans attended the event, which was also attended by ''. Puma is a partner of Porsche.

>> 280 participants:inside at "Inspiration Hour" during race week

[23.02. | 17:41] The Cape Town E-Prix is the highlight of the "Go Green Africa Festival". During race week, up to 280 people could participate in a series of events called "Inspiration Hour." Furthermore, electricity from the South African power grid is used to run the E-Prix. However, electricity generators powered by locally produced biodiesel are also used.

>> Nissan driver at the grill

[Feb 23 | 17:01] Nissan drivers Sacha Fenestraz and Norman Nato had the opportunity to prepare a typical South African braai together with chef Pete Goffe-Wood. You can see how the two Frenchmen did on Instagram.

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A post shared by NISMO (@nismo)

>> Jaguar I-Pace 6 is "Electric Race Car of the Year"

[Feb. 23 | 16:25] The British edition of men's magazine GQ has named Jaguar's Gen3 racing car "Electric Race Car of the Year" at its annual "Car of the Year" awards ceremony in London. "With a top speed of 320 km/h, the new Jaguar TCS Racing Gen3 is not only the fastest race car the series has ever seen, but also lighter, more efficient and capable of extremely fast charging," the citation reads. We don't know which other vehicles were up for election, or why the jury didn't choose the Porsche 99X Electric, which is at least as fast but so far much more efficient.

>> Packing Suitcases with Nick Cassidy

[Feb 23 | 15:57] What does a Formula E driver actually pack in his suitcase when he flies to an E-Prix? Envision driver Nick Cassidy explains in a nearly 30-second video on his team's Twitter account. While we've come to expect a few things, there's also a surprise or two. Will the video really show everything Cassidy has with him on his travels? We have our doubts.

>> WAE partners with "FIA Girls on Track"

[Feb 23 | 15:01] Williams Advanced Engineering, the battery manufacturer of the Gen3 cars, has been announced as the new official partner of the "FIA Girls on Track" initiative in the Formula E World Championship. With this initiative, the World Automobile Federation aims to get girls and young women more interested in motorsport.

Some 400 girls aged 12 to 18 are expected to take part in the program this season. The initiative's first two events this season have already been held in Mexico and Diriyya, and will now be joined by Sao Paulo and Jakarta. In addition to the on-track program, WAE will also conduct workshops for the girls focused on battery design and manufacturing. Over the past five seasons, more than 1,800 girls have participated in the program.

>> Stretch: Cape Town City FC forced to play home game in front of empty stands

[Feb 23 | 13:10] The construction of the Formula E circuit in Cape Town, which runs around the DHL Stadium, caused restrictions: Cape Town City FC, which plays in South Africa's top soccer division, the Premier Soccer League, was unable to welcome fans into the stands for its home game on Feb. 19. Only the VIP section of the stadium was open with reduced capacity. Season ticket holders were allowed into the VIP area free of charge during the event.

>> Formula E in Hollywood, Part 2

[23.02. | 10:44] Formula E will probably be part of a new movie: as 'Variety' reports, producer Ted Field was able to win Formula E as a partner for his film called "Breakneck". Field has produced various films with his company Radar Pictures in the past, including Jumanji and the sci-fi film Riddick: Chronicles of a Warrior. The film will be directed by James Ward Byrkit. It's the second time Formula E will be part of a Hollywood film, following Fisher Stevens' documentary And We Go Green.


In the action thriller "Breakneck," the story is told of a female race car driver who, after a difficult childhood as a poor orphan, rises to the top of Formula E. However, her first E-Prix ends horribly, so she is kicked out. To make ends meet financially, she becomes a getaway car driver for a gang in Miami, but continues to reminisce about her time as a Formula E driver. DBy the way, 'Variety' belongs to Penske Media Corporation, whose CEO is a certain Jay Penske...


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