ERT preview the start to their Season 10 and look ahead to their future

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ERT preview the start to their Season 10 and look ahead to their future

Deputy Team Principal Russell O’Hagan explains the tough challenge for the ERT Team in such a highly competitive Formula E field.

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We’re a quarter of the way through Season 10, and it’s been a mixed start to the year for the Electric Racing Technologies Formula E Team. They currently sit ninth in the Teams’ World Championship, two points to their name, with their unchanged driver line-up of Dan Ticktum and Sergio Sette Camara. 

Looking at the start of their season before last week’s São Paulo E-Prix, COO and Deputy Team Principal, Russell O’Hagan gave an honest account of their year to date and their plans for the future in the all-electric championship. 

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Describing the start to the team’s 10th season in Formula E, O’Hagan said that the competitiveness he’d seen so far had been “pretty reasonable”.

“Defending our ninth place from last season remains our primary goal for Season 10 and I feel confident that is achievable. Formula E's intense competition adds an element of unpredictability however, particularly when fighting for smaller points.

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“One big result can outweigh consistent lower points finishes so we have to balance our approach race by race relative to our competition. 

“Beyond traditional points metrics, we are also more heavily prioritising qualifying performance this season, leveraging the strength of our car over a single lap. During races, we have to mitigate our powertrain efficiency deficit through driving, optimised handling, and a solid defensive strategy starting from as far forward as possible. A lot needs to come together but we have proved it’s possible as demonstrated at Round 2 in Saudi Arabia.”

As O’Hagan mentions, Sergio Sette Camara was the star of the show for Round 2 in Diriyah. The 25-year-old Brazilian managed to qualify in fourth, his best result for the team since joining the Silverstone-Shanghai squad at the start of the GEN3 era. He managed to stay within the points to finish ninth, earning himself and ERT two valuable championship points! 

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"As a wider point I am pleased with the way the team is working to overcome some of those challenges, and collectively we are very excited about the introduction of our GEN3 EVO package next season which will be a lot more efficient,” O’Hagan continued. 

“Had we been able to start GEN3 with what we have coming now I am convinced we would have been true podium contenders from the outset."

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With such a competitive field currently in Formula E – shown by four different winners and nine different podium finishers in the first four races – it’s easy to see why it’s tough to fight for the lower-points scoring positions. 

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"It’s tough but it’s crucial to be realistic about our performance expectations and the way we measure our own success. As a manufacturer entry operating with fewer resources than our rivals, we are navigating the racing landscape in probably the toughest possible way. Currently, we stand as the fifth-best manufacturer out of six, with powerhouse competitors like Jaguar, Porsche, STELLANTIS, and Nissan ahead of us. Recognising the calibre of these automotive and motorsport giants puts our challenge into clear perspective. 

“In a championship where four manufacturers currently have the edge on us, it can quickly translate to contending with eight teams and 16 cars ahead to overcome – you just have to look at last year, the teams’ standings are two by two in terms of manufacturers."

Jaguar tops Manufacturers' Trophy Standings as Nissan joins the fight in São Paulo

Electric Racing Technologies sit fifth in the newly-announced Manufacturers' Championship Trophy. However, unlike the other players in this standings table, they are the only ones to supply just one team: themselves. 

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Asked whether the success of the customer teams has ever tempted ERT into following that route, O’Hagan confessed it’s an interesting question he is asked from time to time. 

“As part of our ongoing business strategy we periodically review the customer team business model and what that could look like for us. I have no doubt with the right supplier and with the team and drivers we have we could win races straight away. I would say that is true for all the teams on the grid, they all operate incredibly well. I think there is a real racing purity in the customer teams too. 

“As a manufacturer entity we operate with such a broad “tool set” at our disposal and have to always have an eye on development. 

“As a customer team you can really focus more on the details at hand and what will most reliably give a performance return from what is already known about the car. There is a real clarity in that and without the risk of needing to explore new areas in the way we do sometimes, particularly given our limited testing schedule outside of race events."

 

Explaining the reasoning for staying a manufacturer, the Deputy Team Principal and COO stated the following reasons in no particular order: 

"Control: being in complete control of our own fate is important to us. As a customer team, you can't 100% ensure the supply you need or expect. Longer term there is also the possibility of the championship migrating back to a more manufacturer-centric series. Our perspective is that once you become a customer team, returning to being a manufacturer again would be a hugely difficult undertaking and so we see a lot of security in how we do it.

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"Performance: being the masters of our own destiny in terms of performance is also a significant benefit longer term. Despite the challenges ahead, each season we build on our strengths, resources, experience and knowledge. Anticipation is high for Season 11 with the introduction of our new car, promising a substantial leap forward and doing it on our own terms which is hugely rewarding.

"Return on investment: first and foremost, we are a business and balancing our activities as a race team and manufacturer within our business strategy is crucial to driving company value. As a manufacturer entry, our greatest chance for long-term value add, growth and success lies in our knowledge and intellectual property (IP). Our clear ambition is to bring another OEM on board, enhancing our resources and potential while offering global performance branding and valuable track-to-road technical transfer in return.

"Engineering satisfaction: Last but far from least is engineering satisfaction and because we love what we do. Our decision to operate as we are is fuelled by passion for performance, development and innovation. As a company grounded in engineering fundamentals, we relish being part of an elite ecosystem that propels the sport and industry forward. Opportunities to be at the forefront of new technology development are often once in a lifetime, and we're proud to contribute to leaving a lasting mark on the future of high-performance vehicles simply for the satisfaction and pride in doing just that.

"As a Formula E manufacturer, we also play a pioneering role in technology development. Right now there is a global motorsport industry rich in the knowledge of internal combustion engines and hydraulic braking systems. It’s of huge value for us to be at the forefront in creating new electrified solutions and products that will cascade down into the wider motorsport and automotive performance sectors over time. We're becoming more focused on commercialising that capability, recognising the value of our day-to-day engineering in terms of torque delivery, regenerative deceleration, and their critical roles in chassis dynamics. EVs have rapidly become industry leading vehicles in performance potential and not just sustainable transportation. As a company we are aiming to capitalise on our expertise in exactly that as other industries move further towards high performance electrification."