Years of preparation for "huge opportunity" - David Beckmann ready for 1st Formula E race in Jakarta
Since 2022, German David Beckmann has been supporting Avalanche Andretti's Formula E as a reserve driver - and since 2023, he also supports the Porsche works team. Next weekend, he will make his first official appearance in the electric series, as he will have to stand in for Andre Lotterer at the Jakarta E-Prix. The 23-year-old has been preparing for his debut for a long time.
This racing weekend was already in the offing for a few years. When 'e-Formula.news' met the then 16-year-old David Beckmann in April 2017 for the first time for an interview (find it on our German sister page e-Formel.de here), the youngster had completed just one season in the Formula 3 European Championship. Shortly before he moved up to FIA Formula 3 with Van Amersfoort Racing, he told us, "Formula E would be an interesting alternative if I don't make it into Formula 1. It's good that the FIA has created Formula E."
Now, a little more than six years later, his time has finally come. Beckmann has not yet made it into F1, but he has found his way into a Formula E cockpit - albeit through more or less fortunate circumstances. Andre Lotterer, who is the regular driver for Andretti, has to take part in the official Le Mans pre-test of the WEC with Porsche over the Jakarta weekend. The endurance project has contractual priority for the German.
"With a smile" into his first rookie test
Early on, Beckmann got himself involved in talks about stepping in as Lotterer's replacement. After all, he is the team's official reserve driver (just like he is for Porsche's Formula E works team). The team made the official confirmation of the swap public last week. For Beckmann, it must feel like a full-circle moment.
Preparations for Beckmann's start have been underway for several months and included his participation in the series' official rookie test day, which took place after the Berlin E-Prix. "The evening before we adjusted the seat and the pedals. That always feels really good for a driver because then you know it's about to start. I fell asleep with a smile on my face that night," the German recalls of the test day. He completed 56 laps for the Porsche factory team, and ended the test in a cumulative 9th position.
Close exchange between Porsche & Andretti helps with preparation
"I found my way around in the car relatively quickly. I already had a go in the test car in October 2022, but a lot has been developed there in the meantime. In addition, I first had to get used to the differences to the LMP2 car I drove the weeks before - the driving experience is quite different," Beckmann recalled. "The recuperation, the braking and the grooved tires made for a different feeling. Overall, though, things went well and productively in Berlin. In the afternoon, we were even able to try out different setups, and I was able to give my feedback to different settings."
Even before the Jakarta weekend, Beckmann was closely involved in the processes at Andretti - but since the Monaco E-Prix, presumably more so than ever. This includes, among other things, the simulator work of the U.S.-licensed team, but also participation in joint briefings with their powertrain supplier Porsche. "But we are also in a close exchange there on a very regular basis. That's especially important with such a new car," said Beckmann. "Everyone always has ideas that can be shared in order to improve together."
David Beckmann has got something to say ?- Avalanche Andretti FE ? (@AndrettiFE) May 23, 2023
See you in Jakarta, David ? pic.twitter.com/uYQ86LtPEP
Jakarta race as bid for Lotterer succession?
Just like the rookie test, the Jakarta race weekend is likely to be a key opportunity for Beckmann to showcase himself to potential employers within Formula E. Andretti in particular is likely to be watching his performance in the cockpit with interest. According to media reports, the 2023 Formula E season could be Andre Lotterer's last for the time being. Beckmann would be a suitable successor to his compatriot should Lotterer commit to his WEC project full-time, as expected.
Another candidate on the free driver market comes from the U.K.: Oliver Rowland. The Brit will step aside "for the remaining seven races of the season, his previous Formula E team Mahindra said over the weekend. On Instagram the following day, Rowland thanked his confidants "for the kind comments, phone calls and messages. It's really appreciated!" And he announced, "I will be back and better than ever!" Perhaps he would also be a suitable option for Andretti? Possibly already in the current season, should Lotterer prematurely retire from Formula E?
For Beckmann, at least, anticipation is building for the Jakarta E-Prix. "It's a huge opportunity for me," he said in an introduction video Andretti posted on social media. "I will try to get good results, be consistent and learn as much as possible." He may have already achieved one initial goal for his weekend: After years of effort, he is on the official FIA entry list for the first time. Things kick off for him with the Jakarta E-Prix on June 3 and 4, with each race starting at 10 a.m. CEST.