Sette Camara warns of Formula E Gen3 debut: "You have to respect the limits of the car".
The racing debut of the new Gen3 car is imminent. It will be used for the first time under competitive conditions at the 2023 Formula E season opener in Mexico. The new 350-kW powertrains have significantly more power than those of the Gen2 car - too much, perhaps? In any case, Nio 333 driver Sergio Sette Camara urges caution. The car is extremely difficult to control.
"There's the engine in the front, and the rear engine acts when you brake - it's just so counter-intuitive to what you've been used to all your life," Sette Camara tells 'Motorsport.com'. "Gen2 was reasonably intuitive, but this (Gen3 car) is almost like a GT car. A lot of people say you can do well just by drifting the car in combination with the hard tires. But I disagree."
"I think you just have to respect the limits of the car," the Brazilian continued. "If you overdrive the car, you overload the systems and go into a downward spiral. You have to respect what the car can do and not try to overdo it. That's something I'm not too fond of. I'll try to get used to it."
Sette Camara even compares the jump from Gen2 to Gen3 to a switch between two racing series: "The machinery is completely different, and Formula E swaps at least two to three tracks a year. In many ways it's almost like a new series, a completely different car, a completely different set-up. You have to learn everything from scratch, learn new tricks all the time."
Performance jump does not equal time gain
One indication of the natural limitations of the Gen3 car is the lap times at pre-season testing in Valencia last December. Because, to the surprise of most observers:inside, the difference was remarkably small compared with the Gen2 car.
Despite 100 kW more power and 80 kg less weight, Max Günther's absolute best time in Valencia was only just over six tenths of a second faster than that of his current teammate Edo Mortara from 2021. Drivers and teams simply don't yet get the extra power of the Gen3 car translated into acceleration because the Gen3 car has little grip. There are several reasons for this.
The best times between race mode (300 kW) and attack mode (350 kW) were also surprisingly close. The best time in Valencia came from Günther - the Maserati driver lapped the circuit at full power in 1:25.127 minutes. His fastest lap with 50 kW less was a 1:25.449 minute, just three tenths of a second slower. Another sign that it's incredibly difficult to get the Gen3 car's power to the road.
Who best masters this challenge under competitive conditions will be revealed from 11:30 p.m. on Friday evening. That's when the 1st Free Practice session kicks off the first official session of the Gen3 era on a reasonably representative Formula E track. e-Formula.news will offer a livestream as usual. The first race of the 2023 championship will take place on Saturday evening at 9 p.m. German time.