Jaguar team principal James Barclay believes Formula E race engineers will be under increased pressure this season as delivering a race winner strategy is likely to be more complex than ever before given the championship’s new rules.
Formula E’s new Gen2 car features considerably more power than its predecessor and a more efficient battery which removes the necessity for teams to undertake mid-race car swaps.
Barclay believes that this, coupled with a new rule restricting races to a time limit rather than a set number of laps, has created a huge challenge for the teams to get to grips with prior to the season opener in Riyadh next weekend.
“I think the challenges from a team point of view is a really big one, you know. From a strategic perspective, we have to be a lot more nimble now because with no pitstop you don’t have that opportunity to get past people, you have to do it on strategy and pace or efficiency, so that’s key.
“The amount of variables has increased now with attack mode, and [a time limit] which means you have to make sure you can go that extra lap if you have an extra lap all of a sudden. With a number of laps, it was easier to calculate the energy whereas now we have to be able to be flexible depending on what’s happening around us.”
Last season, Jaguar lost the chance to secure a first Formula E race win in Rome when Mitch Evans misjudged his energy consumption in the closing stages of the race which resulted in the Kiwi tumbling down the order from second place to ninth on the final lap.
With the season about to begin, Barclay believes teams could spend the first few races trying to gain an understanding of how to best optimise their race strategy, and we could yet see a repeat of the situation Evans experienced in Rome.
“If you’re in a lead battle potentially two or three seconds before the chequered flag comes out, and you are trying to defend your position, if you’re pushing a bit harder to keep the person behind you it’s gonna make the difference if you cross the line to go an extra lap.
“Now you have to do an extra lap with energy in the tank. So, all of a sudden you have to be managing that decision. Do you keep your position and go an extra lap because you’re going to get over the line in time to go one more lap? You have to have enough energy to finish the race.
“Would you let someone get past you with the view that they’re gonna burn out and you’ll get them before the end of the lap and get the chequered flag? So, actually, it means, strategy-wise it’s really complex from an engineering point of view.
“The engineers are going to be under a lot more pressure when it comes to later on in the race particularly.”
Image Credit: Formula E
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