"The first few laps were like being in a tiger cage!" - David Beckmann sums up Formula E debut in Jakarta
A week after his Formula E debut with Avalanche Andretti, David Beckmann looks back at the Jakarta E-Prix with satisfaction. In an interview with 'e-Formula.news', which the German gave as part of the 300th episode of our podcast "ePod", he talked about his first laps in the Gen3 car, the driving style of his rivals and the karting feeling in a Formula E race.
In Jakarta, it was a sweltering 31.8 degrees Celsius when David Beckmann strapped into the cramped Andretti car, wrapped in a fireproof racing suit and wearing his distinctive shimmering blue helmet. "That was unbelievable," he reflects back on the start of the first free practice session. In a podcast interview with 'e-Formula.news', the German recounts, "The session started and the first cars drove past my garage. I had previously only known this sight from the engineering room. But now I was part of it - it was madness."
The 23-year-old, who had been hoping for his Formula E chance for a few years, used the Indonesia weekend as a learning and introduction opportunity with the U.S. racing team. "My only desire was to complete laps, learn and apply the knowledge. That's why, in the first moment, I was very, very upset when I had the accident with Lucas (di Grassi in Sunday's race). That was the last thing I wanted. But at the end of the day, that's always part of racing. He also apologized to me directly afterwards."
In particular, Beckmann experienced the starting scrum as extremely intense. Also owing to his grid positions - on Saturday his qualifying result was only good enough for 19th place, on Sunday for 18th - he perceived the first laps as "very chaotic". "I was forewarned by the other drivers that it would be like in the tiger cage. You have to take big risks to overtake - you can't even get through there without contact. So it won't be boring," Beckmann jokes.
"It reminded me of my early days in karting, when the first lap was always so hectic. You had to get to the front, no matter what the cost. Otherwise it's too late. Back then you had to conserve your tires at the same time, here in Formula E it's saving energy."
And the extreme weather conditions? Beckmann coped well with that: "I do a lot of cardio training anyway, so I was well prepared. My former coach was a triathlete and had occasionally put a bike in a steam bath in his training. But that was too dangerous for me," he laughs. "Besides, you have to prepare something like that in the long term. It was extreme for me anyway: with the humidity, as a German I was always glad to be in the hotel in the evening with my air conditioning!"