08 Jul 20

Hartley, Mueller and GEOX striving to make their point

Geox Dragon’s rookie drivers haven’t disguised their frustrations over the first half of the season, with both feeling results have yet to show for their efforts in Formula E. Work has been poured into development and personal training over the lockdown period and Brendon Harltey and Nico Mueller are firing for the top ten.

Finding a rhythm

“I’ve not been so happy with the season so far as the results haven’t shown what we’re capable of,” said Mueller. “I don’t think we had the smoothest start and every rookie coming into Formula E naturally finds it difficult. You have to adapt and find your rhythm.”

“On pace alone, I think we have earned the chance of fighting in the top ten and score points. That has definitely been our goal even if it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

“We haven’t managed yet to put together a full weekend where everything worked out. That’s what you need in such a competitive championship with such a compact format.

“We will score points on our own power and that’s what we want to achieve in the races to come this season. If we string some smooth performances together, we will get the results we feel we deserve. I want to show the big boys that we are in the game as well.”

“Considering we had a tough start to the year on both sides of the garage, we are hoping to show that we’ve made good steps during this break – and be further up the field where we feel we deserve to be. That’ll be the job,” added Hartley.

Hard graft

The New Zealander, like his Swiss team-mate, has been hard at work on his fitness, while the team work feverishly to push its software beyond its immediate rivals – with everyone in a developmental arms race ahead of the nine-day six-race half-season awaiting them in Berlin at Tempelhof Airport on August 5.

“It’s definitely given us some development time,” added Mueller. “We’ve not worked so much on the physical side of things but focussed a lot of effort into software updates.

“I’m sure all of the teams have been working hard, too, but we’ve definitely identified areas where we can improve after the first half of the season, so I’m optimistic about what’s to come for us. We’re hopeful we’ve made a bigger step than some of the others.

“I’ve been in constant contact with our engineers to learn from the first half of the season and draw some useful conclusions so we know where we can improve. We’ve made the most of it.

“We now have a better idea of where the strengths and weaknesses of our cars lie and we’ve developed ideas to make improvements. The world hasn’t been standing still and we’ve tried to make progress, which we hope will pay off.

'Can't wait to be back'

Mueller jumped from an Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler development driver seat into his Geox Dragon race seat for 2019/20 and can’t wait to reacquaint himself with his Penske EV-4 as he searches for that elusive first Formula E championship point.

“I can’t wait to slide into my car again after such a long time,” said the 28-year-old. “The anticipation is huge. We’re looking forward to getting back behind the steering wheel and feeling some g-force, getting close to some walls again. It’s what we live for.

“That feeling when you really hook it up together and you’re 100 percent on the limit, with all the teamwork that’s required is really what makes motorsport so unique. There are two sides to it – the team effort and the moment you’re alone in the car having to deliver. 

“You know your mechanics and engineers always give it their all to give you the best, most reliable car and they work so hard to make it perform at the highest level. There are so many people behind our effort, getting their heads together towards a common goal. It really is special and I have missed it.

“I’ve had a lot of time to train during lockdown. So, I managed to catch up on that and make a big step forward in my fitness level. That’s been a big plus for me.”

Hartley’s relishing it too, and feels adaptability will be key as all 24 drivers and 12 teams head into the unknown at Tempelhof.

“The restrictions in place for health and safety will change the dynamic at the race-track,” said Hartley. 

“Without fans it will feel different but we’re so excited to get back racing and I’m sure they all are too – they’ll be with us in spirit while they watch at home. 

“It’s something we’ve never experienced – none of us have. In some ways it will feel familiar with the compact, compressed race weekends we get in Formula E but now there’s less time in between. It’s the same for every driver and team and we’ll all do our best to adapt. 

“I’m looking forward to finding out what the different layouts will entail – we’re in the dark at the moment but it’ll throw something else into the mix. Our strategy is to try and get as many points as is possible and to be as adaptable as possible.”

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