While yesterday was a tough day at the office for Mitch Evans, he could take heart from his top 2 performances during FP1 and FP2 at Hong Kong. Further to this, the lap he did after chequered flag in qualifying was good enough for pole – save for a misfortunate timing mix up. Today, Mitch made good on that promise to get within five hundredths of a second from the pole time set by Felix Rosenqvist.Make no mistake, Evans has adapted from the flat out F2 single seater driving style to Formula E’’s conservative approah with aplomb, as he explained to Peter Leung.
“It’s a completely different mentality” says Evans on comparing the two disciplines. “We are all driving as fast as we can with the power and energy available at the time. It’s very tricky actually. It’s very hard to manage that because you are racing guys and not sure where they are at in comparison to you. They might be a bit faster but worse than you on energy”.
“It’s a bit of a chess match. You got to try and pick your moment to attack. You can’t go too early and you can’t go too late. It’s not easy. It’s one of these style of racing I am still adapting to even with a season under my belt. It’s so new. It’s nice just going flat out but the challenge of trying to achieve something different”.
Like many of his contemporaries, Evans sites simulator work as his fallback in getting up to speed with new technology and circuits so that they become second-nature by the time he steps onto the circuit.
“The tracks [in Formula E] are quite unique” explains Evans. “A lot of the circuits we go to, especially last year were brand new and we had never been there. The simulator is something that becomes a big benefit. Also the car is quite complicated – all the controls on the car. So we try and get in a bit of a routine and a bit of rhythm before the weekend”.
“It’s not just learning the circuit with this car – it’s learning the software side and just for it to be second nature when you get into FP1. With the one day format it’s quite hard to be prepared for it and really be on top of it for the whole day. The simulator at the moment is very very crucial for us. We use it a lot”.
Mark Webber has played an integral part in shaping Evans’ career as a steward and mentor, witch Mitch says has been beneficial not so much from a driver stand-point, but as a New Zealander getting to grips with the European way of doing things.
“Mark helped me especially when I first transitioned from New Zealand to Europe” admits Evans. “He was a huge help”.
“Mark gave so much of his knowledge and experience down to me, which fast forwarded my preparation and my knowledge of how things worked in the European environment. It’s not the same when you come from our part of the world. He’s been amazing, not just from a personal level but also he’s helped me with all my racing and contracts and getting me drives. Even this drive he got me. He’s been a huge help”.
Images: FIA Formula E / Richard Washbrooke Photography