Porsche gears up for a bumper Formula E finale
How Porsche is gearing up for the six-race showdown
Both man and machine will be put through the wringer at the grand finale of this season’s ABB FIA Formula E Championship in Berlin. And the technical challenges awaiting the team lay squarely on the shoulders of Malte Huneke, Technical Project Leader Formula E.
For our engineers and mechanics, preparations are currently in full swing. Both 99X Electric have been thoroughly checked over in Weissach. Under normal circumstances, they would not have this opportunity between events, as the cars are transported straight to the next race, but the substantial wait for this finale could pay dividends, as Huneke explains: “In recent months, the unique situation has meant that we have had more time to work on certain developments, such as the software. We took this opportunity to forge ahead with quick improvements for Berlin.”
The extra time has also given the team a chance to prepare for the unprecedented format, which will see six races play out over three different circuit configurations over just nine days. “Pre-event planning is completely different to previous events,” said Huneke. “The three different layouts mean that we must basically prepare for three different events at the same time – with the difference being that there is hardly any time between races to prepare for the next double-header.”
The normal schedule comprises simulator work, the race itself and the analysis of the event, each stage taking one week. But the processes will be very different in Berlin. Preparation time is about three weeks, then everything comes thick and fast at the circuit. “After the first double-header, we must prepare very quickly for the next event and call on our full potential when it matters,” said Huneke. “It is definitely going to be a challenge. However, I am confident that we will cope with the circumstances.”
The three Berlin-Tempelhof layouts were announced last week by Formula E. Races six and seven on 5 and 6 August will take place on the same Formula E track as last year, but running in the opposite direction. The second double-header, on 8 and 9 August will be held on the regular Formula E circuit, before the final two races on 12 and 13 August are contested on a newly designed layout.
The different track configurations are the starting point for preparations in the simulator. And a key consideration of Berlin-Tempelhof is the concrete slabs that have such an influence on tyre management. “Thermo management is one thing that will play a key role,” Huneke admits. “As such, we are preparing for various scenarios in the simulator.”
Six races mean there is still more than half the season left to run, and so many unique challenges could actually provide opportunities for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. “The conditions are the same for everyone, even though we do not yet have any reference figures for Berlin-Tempelhof,” said Huneke. “It will be interesting to see how the relative performance of all the teams develops across the six races.”