Why managing 'unique' Monaco and Jakarta will prove key challenges in title fight

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Why managing 'unique' Monaco and Jakarta will prove key challenges in title fight

Halfway through Season 9 and we have a new standings leader, at last. Nick Cassidy strode to the top of the standings with a win around the legendary streets of Monte Carlo – the jewel in the motorsport crown.


The Envision Racing driver was able to take advantage of his fine run of form, which has seen him take a pair of wins and five podium finishes in the last six rounds, to seal victory and clamber ahead of long-time leader Pascal Wehrlein – the TAG Heuer Porsche driver having led since Diriyah.

READ MORE: Championship leader Cassidy still developing craft

The Kiwi started ninth and was able to make up good ground and eight positions on the way to the win. A late-race Safety Car saw the Envision driver able to sprint to the finish, with more pace and energy in the tank than those around him – even the factory Jaguar TCS Racing of Mitch Evans, who once again had to settle for second in the Principality.

Cassidy and the Jaguar-powered cars have an edge in efficiency and seemingly outright pace as it stands, but the Envision man also credited the reliable performance of the Hankook tyres – “the tyres were really very consistent and didn’t wear much at all;” being able to drive a known quantity from start to finish clearly of benefit to the new standings leader’s title push.

monaco 2023 race start

Monaco is a unique challenge among a calendar of unique challenges in Formula E. The famed streets are resurfaced yearly and lack the bumps of old. That said, elevation changes, variations in camber and overcast conditions put the rubber to the test.

Hankook Formula E Race Engineer Thomas Baltes said: “19 corners, new asphalt in places, uphill and downhill sections, and extreme banking in the tunnel really put our tire through its paces. However, as at all the circuits so far, the Hankook iON Race did a great job and provided the necessary grip. Plus, it did so although the cloud cover made it significantly cooler on the track during the race.” Hankook Motorsport Director Manfred Sandbichler was also very satisfied with another strong showing for the GEN3-era’s tyre: “The race in Monaco was another highlight in our first season in Formula E. So far, the tire has shown no weaknesses and has impressed everywhere, on diverse track surfaces and in a wide range of conditions.”

In the window

Formula E’s field has to get the Hankook iON Race into the optimal window to get the best out of it, for as much of each encounter as is possible. Tyre temperatures and pressures are key to extracting maximum pace and performance, as well as safety and consistency over the race distance.

New sensor technology from the tyre manufacturer and its partner Texys Group has made analysis of live air pressures and temperatures a possibility for Season 9 – with live data for humidity and figures for the tyres as well as the rims also featuring.

“The data is measured using infrared and is available immediately. However, it is not just about the perfect working window but also safety. The wrong air pressure can cause punctures and consequently crashes. It is for this reason that race control monitors the tire pressure on all cars,” adds Baltes.


“The tires work exactly as we expect – very well, and we are happy with the performance,” added Jaguar TCS Racing’s Mitch Evans. “We are getting a better understanding all the time of how to get the tyre into the optimal working window. With any new rubber, it is only normal to have to learn how to deal with it at first.”

Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) strode to third place in Monaco and echoed the thoughts of his fellow podium finishers.

“I am really surprised how consistent the tyre is,” says the Brit. “There was practically no wear and consistency is very important in Formula E. We may still be a little unsure of exactly how to get the tyre into its optimal working window, but we are learning and improving all the time.”

On to Jakarta

Jakarta throws up perhaps the toughest physical challenge for drivers on the Formula E calendar, with searing heat combined with unmatched humidity.

The tyres will duly get one of their hardest race weekends, too.

“The very high temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius and humidity over 80 percent are one factor that the teams must take into consideration when working with our premium product, the Hankook iON Race. In all the races so far, the tire has shown how reliably it supports the drivers,” says Hankook Communications Director Felix Kinzer.

The iON Race proved itself in similar heat back in Hyderabad and they’re yet to falter in hot, wet or overcast weather – and everything in- between.

“The Hankooks behave differently to the tyres we had previously and I’ve had to adapt my style to suit,” said Season 6 champion Antonio Felix da Costa back in a chilly Berlin. “It’s cool here and it’s an extra challenge for everybody to get used to with it being the Hankook iON Race and GEN3’s first outing in Berlin, and in these conditions.

“All the experience we had before goes out the window and we have to foresee what the tyre’s behaviour will be like. It’s a constant learning curve and for a driver, that’s very exciting.

“Berlin had an abrasive surface which helped switch the tyres on and it’s always the balance between getting them up into the window and not putting too much temperature into them – it’s tricky to manage as a driver.”

The same will be true in Jakarta, as Formula E’s inimitable balancing act of matching race-winning pace to an energy-efficient strategy and strong tyre management continues.