Formula E is back – with six rounds in nine busy days
The all-electric championship returns – we catch up with Amiel Lindesay, Porsche's Head of Operations Formula E
After five months without a single race, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is back on our screens next month with six consecutive rounds of racing in Berlin. From 5-13 August, the teams will finish the season over nine intensive days with reduced teams working in bubbles and observing strict distancing guidelines. “The unusual situation means there will be a few compromises, but we are looking forward to finally going racing again,” says Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E.
The safety measures introduced for Berlin are complex and comprehensive, but the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team has used the race-free period to prepare meticulously for the new conditions. “As well as the Formula E safety measures, we also have internal guidelines, which we have been able to test in recent weeks to ensure we are well prepared when we travel to Berlin,” says Lindesay.
Formula E personnel and the individual teams work in the so-called ‘bubble’ system. Once they arrive in Berlin, each member must undergo a coronavirus test in the team hotel, after which they go into quarantine until they have a negative result. The team members then travel to the racetrack in dedicated groups. The circuit itself is divided into different zones to ensure that there is as little contact as possible between groups. Outside the racetrack and the hotel, no contact is permitted.
The Porsche 99X Electric and all associated equipment is transported to Berlin by freight, but the additional internal spare parts for the six races can only be delivered in a one-off delivery at the start of August. “You have to think ahead and plan for different scenarios,” adds Lindesay. “As we can only accept spare parts once, we have to factor in all possible eventualities.”
Another peculiarity in Berlin is the limited number of team members on site. For safety reasons, Formula E regulations permit a maximum of 20 members per team at the finale. As well as the mechanics, the race engineers are also on site – all those who are essential in Berlin from an operational perspective. “We have set ourselves up differently as a team, but at the end of the day everyone is doing their job – regardless of whether that is at the racetrack or at home.”
The only thing the crew will be missing is the spectators. “It is obviously a great shame that there will be no spectators there,” admits Lindesay, “but these measures are necessary for the races to take place at all.” And of course, the team’s goal remains the same: to gain valuable experience in the rookie season and to finish up with more points and podium finishes.
“It will be a challenge for us all to adapt to the new circumstances,” Lindesay concludes “whilst at the same time remaining focussed on the job at hand. However, I am confident that we will cope well.”