Believe it or not, racing isn't always about the drivers. Behind the scenes, there's an army of engineers, data analysts, mechanics and team managers who keep the ABB FIA Formula E Championship's 10 teams running smoothly. Whether it's fixing a car through the night, picking up the pieces after battling on track, celebrating a hard-earned victory or facing defeat, it's all part of the game we call motorsport.
To get through all of that, you need to be the best, so Formula E partnered up with Modis - the leading experts in IT, engineering and life science solutions - to help identify the latest and greatest talents in the all-electric city street racing series. Since May, Modis and Formula E have scoured the paddock in search of candidates for the Modis Engineer of the Year Award. Narrowing the field down to just eight people, the winner will be revealed live at Formula E's Season Finale Gala awards ceremony. It seems there's more than just the podium to fight for in New York City. See below for the full shortlist.
Matteo Frolino, Performance Engineer, MS&AD Andretti Formula E
"I joined Formula E because I thought Formula E is the future in terms of motorsport," says Matteo Frolino, MS&AD Andretti Formula E's Performance Engineer. Joining the team at the first possible opportunity, Frolino's role encompasses everything relating to performance, from overseeing the cars and drivers' performances during Qualifying, all the way through to energy management during the race. Known for his work ethic on and off the track, Formula E is more than a job for Frolino - it's his passion too. With plans to be a rock star in his next life, he's even more forward-thinking than the championship he works in.
Helmut Joseph, System Engineer for Daniel Abt, Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler
"I started two years ago in the development phase for the season 2 car...I came straight from university," says Helmut Joseph, System Engineer for Daniel Abt as part of the Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler outfit. Tasked with not only preparing both cars for driver Daniel Abt during the weekend, Joseph is also responsible for getting the maximum performance out of the system while looking for areas in which the team could improve in. Having already worked with electric powertrains during his time at university, the opportunity to work in Formula E was a dream come true for Joseph.
Javier Hijano, Performance Engineer, Mahindra Racing
"I'm glad to be nominated as the Engineer of the Year but for me, the best award is to win races," says Mahindra Racing's Performance Engineer Javier Hijano. Joining Formula E in its inaugural year four years ago, Hijano started his all-electric career with NextEV before joining Mahindra Racing in Season 2. Described by Team Manager Joan Orus as the "soul of the team," Hijano's dream is to help take his learnings from Formula E into road car technology.
Michael Henderson, Race Engineer, NIO Formula E Team
"The day is so hectic...you need to be ready and you need to be organised to deliver maximum results," says NIO Formula E Team Race Engineer Michael Henderson. As one of NIO's first employees, Michael was tasked with building the team from scratch. Always pushing for peak performance, Henderson works with the team, the drivers and, of course, the cars to help NIO's Oliver Turvey and Luca Filippi bring home the best results possible.
Yannick Hubert, Chief Engineer, Renault e.dams
"I started in Formula E in Season 1 as a race engineer for Sebastien Buemi," says Chief Engineer for Renault e.dams Yannick Hubert. Having witnessed the most successful team in Formula E win three titles in the past three seasons, it's fair to say Hubert knows a thing or two about all-electric racing. Now with a remit across the whole engineering team, Hubert's role is to ensure, "the right person, in the right place has the right answer to the problems." Simple, right?
Leo Thomas, Racing Director, Techeetah Formula E
"Five years ago, no one would have thought it was possible to do electric street racing," says Leo Thomas, Techeetah's Racing Director. With overall responsibility for the performance of the cars, Thomas' role sees him engage with the whole team, from the drivers to the engineers and beyond. "His job is to make us fast," says Team Principal Mark Preston. And, considering Techeetah are currently top of the teams' and drivers' standings, we'd say Thomas has managed to do just that. "Being nominated is representing every individual in this team," he adds.
Louis-Marie Blondel, Season 5 development manager, Venturi Formula E
Nominated by Chief Technical Officer Franck Baldet, Louis-Marie Blondel is the team's Chief Engineer. "He's the best guy I've ever met in my life," says Baldet. "He can do everything, he's always happy." With a background in automotive, Blondel's job is to design the car. As well as being a leading engineer, Blondel manages to keep his team spirits high, despite a up and down season for the Monaco based team.
Thomas Chevaucher, DS Performance Technical Manager, DS Virgin Racing
"I started up in Formula E at the beginning of the partnership between Virgin Racing and DS Performance, so for me, it was the opportunity to discover a new series - a new technology," says Thomas Chevaucher, DS Performance Technical Manager. "I feel very proud, very happy, obviously. It's a great honour and a great recognition for my teammates," he added. Charged with developing the team's Gen2 car for Season 5, Chevaucher is already looking well ahead of the season four finale in New York City (14 & 15 July). "You just have to guess what is possible and go from there," he admits.
Keep it locked to FIAFormulaE.com to find out who wins after all the track action from the double-header season finale in New York City.