- FAN ZONE
30 Jul 20
DS Techeetah sits atop both the Teams’ and Drivers’ standings, with Antonio Felix da Costa leading the way heading into the nine-day six-race Berlin finale, starting August 5, and the Sino-French outfit has ticked all the boxes in testing heading to Tempelhof.
DS holds an eight-point advantage to BMW i Andretti Motorsport, with a further 24-point gap back to Panasonic Jaguar Racing in third, with three podiums and a race win between da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne – that victory last time out in Marrakesh by the Portuguese heading a podium double for the squad.
Team Principal Mark Preston has been pleased by the progress made by the team in trying circumstances in the interim and he can’t wait to get back on track proper.
“I started in motorsport while I was in university quite a long time ago and since then I don’t think I have ever had this much time away from the track or at least building cars in the factory, so it’s going to be great to be back,” he said.
“We have been working to our rigorous plan and keeping the rhythm going for all of us, it keeps the pressure on all of us to keep moving forward.
“It’s always good to run the car in real life in the shakedowns we’ve managed. Simulation and rigs can get you a long way but there is never a substitute for real world running.
“We were already using a lot of cloud-based tools to work, but the situation simply sped up our use of technology.
“Like everyone in the world, we’ve been having regular virtual meetings, making sure that communication is at its best, as that is a core part of any high performing team.
“Development-wise it’s mostly related to software, processes and procedures that support the car given the homologated parts, so we’ve been working hard in making optimisations there.”
Berlin will offer up a challenge unlike anything else in motorsport, with nine days incorporating six races across three different layouts to decide the final destination of the Teams’ and Drivers’ trophies.
“We are focussing on preparing all of the normal elements we do before a race weekend, but with the added elements of working out how we operate with fewer staff and not missing any of the issues that could be caused by such a big change,” added Preston.
"Hitting the ground running will be key in Berlin and not getting behind with any problems or gremlins. I think those that have the smoothest start to the six races will most likely come out the winners at the end of the event.
"Points from every race by both drivers will most likely deliver the Teams’ championship!
“We didn’t off to the best start in Saudi, but we quickly pulled things together and to be leading both championships going into this second stage in the season is incredible.”
Standings leader da Costa echoed Preston’s sentiments and has full faith in his team to have adapted successfully to deliver him a competitive package from the outset at Tempelhof.
“Nothing really changes from Round 6 onwards as a team,” said da Costa. “We work very closely together when I’m in the car and my engineers will be constantly in my ears through the radio, as usual!
“We’ve prepared well and in shakedown and simulation we’ve been readying ourselves for the return by running through all the possible scenarios and eventualities.
“We have the different layouts, the time constraint and it just makes preparations a lot more compact. We’ve had to squeeze in all the usual work in a much shorter amount of time.
“It’s been a case of adapting but I’m confident in the guys and the whole team – we can get ourselves up and running quickly for this challenge.
“I’m really looking forward to going back racing and giving it a proper go.”
Team-mate Vergne’s 2019/20 hasn’t quite gone as might have been expected so far, with the Frenchman sitting eighth in the points table as it stands.
JEV feels his share of bad luck is spent and that early season luck will be reversed in Berlin. Preston agrees, and whilst he feels his team and drivers are well placed, he’s more than aware that there’s plenty of time for the whole picture to change very quickly, in a typically-Formula E manner.
“Having a smooth weekend in Formula E is very important and JEV had two times where he was on the back foot, that is a lot considering that we have only done five races so far,” said Vergne.
“In Saudi, a crash meant that his battery damage led to a number of knock-on problems, and in Marrakesh he had to deal with quarantine and the like.
"But we all know JEV, he has come back from this kind of place before and I am confident he will be up there fighting for the Drivers’ championship in Berlin.
“Both our drivers are ready to go, and the team is doing a great job getting prepared for the races, but it will be the team who has the least amount of problems over the whole race event, in what is a very new set of circumstances for all of us, who will be the winners.
“You would have to say Jaguar and BMW are at the top of the list as we look over our shoulder, but Formula E is very hard to predict.
"Watching Race at Home over the break I could see that Stoffel (Vandoorne) and (Oliver) Rowland and others were showing a high level of competitive drive so I am sure they will be pushing very hard as well!”