Motor racing can be cruel sometimes. It’s the nature of the sport. But when facing challenges, it’s important to respond in the right way, and bouncing back is the only response we know.
Although our home race in Monaco didn’t unfold how we hoped, there was promise throughout.
Outright pace in practice was followed by another competitive qualifying while a bold yet promising strategy in the race was only impacted by unavoidable contact.
Using insights from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, our Team Principal, James Rossiter, reflects on a challenging weekend in Monaco.
“After the speed we showed in practice, qualifying, and even in the first half of the race, it was difficult to leave Monaco without any reward for our efforts” explains James.
“The car was in good shape from the first session of the weekend, and at 300kW and 350kW, we had good,competitive pace.
“I believe we extracted that well, especially when it came to qualifying, to have both Edo and Max starting inside the top eight.
“It is much easier to overtake in Monaco in Formula E than it is in Formula One, but it’s also easier to defend there in comparison to other circuits on the Season 9 calendar, like Berlin for example.
“From fourth and seventh, we were in a good position from which we could fight to build and execute a strong race.”
As it did in São Paulo and Berlin, intensive energy saving defined Formula E’s style of racing again in Monaco, with lifting and coasting shaping the opening phase of the race.
“Monaco is the longest track on the calendar, and also one of the fastest, so this meant that energy saving was a critical aspect of the race,” continues James.
“We decided to underconsume from the first lap and with real-time data-led strategy insights from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, we were able to build an energy buffer over our nearest competitors.
“We then started to increase our pace and the strategy worked well. Both of our drivers were in the fight for fifth, and we know that a good result was possible.
“Unfortunately, Formula E has adopted a new form of racing recently. We started to see it in Cape Town, saw an evolution in São Paulo and in Berlin and again, in Monaco, it reached a new level.
“From the start, the field is driving around 8-10 seconds off the pace and waiting until they have enough energy in relation to the number of laps remaining.
“When they have enough, the pace then increases. This leads to a lot of overtaking and side-by-side running, but it also becomes a battle to avoid damage in a very aggressive train of cars.
“The objective becomes survival and unfortunately, that impacted us significantly this weekend.”
In the second half of the race, both Edo and Max were impacted by two separate incidents which removed the hope of a top-five finish on home ground.
“Edo and Max were running together and then the cars in front of us stacked up a lot and nearly came to a stop in the hairpin,” recounts James.
“Max had to swerve in response to avoid hitting [Jake] Hughes, but Edo was on his right, they made contact, and it broke his front wing. There was nowhere for either of them togo.
“The damage severely compromised Edo’s race and without the front wing, he was driving with a loss of downforce and battling with a lot of understeer, which is never a good thing for pace, especially on a high-speed street circuit.
“He did very well under the circumstances and finished close to the top 10 but just fell short of points.
“Max’s race ended shortly after the stack-up in the hairpin. He was driving well, then there was another stack in front of him and [Dan] Ticktum damaged his wing.
“The wing was rubbing against his tyre which was causing a lot of smoke and then he swerved in front of Max on the run up the hill. Max had nowhere to go and hit the wall and had to retire with damage.”
While disappointing, James explains resetting and maintaining momentum will be crucial on the approach to the next race of Season 9 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“It’s disappointing, especially after we showed such good pace, but we need to keep our heads up, reset, and move forwards to Jakarta,” he says.
“We know that we have a competitive package – we’ve seen that in each race this season and achieved the results that reflect our true pace in Berlin.
“At this stage, we just need to stay clear of accidents, keep it clean, trust our process and believe that the results will come.”