Zooming into the new year: Tech forecast for Marrakesh E-Prix
Posted on: 11 January, 2018
A podium finish followed by a race win in Hong Kong means that we lead the team standings after the first two races of the season. We now move to Marrakesh for round 3 and our Chief Engineer Vinit Patel looks ahead to the first race of 2018.
This will be our second time out in Marrakesh. Last year was the first time and back then, we were truly able to appreciate the potential of our car with Felix leading most of the race. We’re quietly confident that we have a setup that suits the track and conditions along with other venues.
Marrakesh, with its semi-permanent layout and wider track, allows the drivers to enjoy racing a little more than other street tracks because of more overtaking opportunities, and chances to correct and recover in a corner as opposed to places like Hong Kong where the track is narrow and there is absolutely no room for error.
Marrakesh allows the drivers to enjoy racing a little more than other street tracks because of more overtaking opportunities..
We’ve seen Jaguar make a huge leap forward with Mitch displaying some great pace over a single lap and Nelson scoring well in the races. They’re learning more and more about their package as they go along, so expect to see a few surprises there.
The Renaults and Audis cannot be written off just because they both had an off weekend in Hong Kong. Both are top class teams with experience and a history of wins behind them, so expect them to be in the thick of things.
Nio showed some great single lap pace, once they sort the few reliability issues that they did experience, I’m pretty sure they’ll be in the mix as well. Obviously, Virgin and Techeetah were right up there with us on the podium in Hong Kong, so that speaks for itself.
In some ways, I do expect the usual protagonists to be at the front again, but that said, the grid has closed up significantly, having proven itself to be tighter, more competitive, and all in all in complete readiness to challenge for the top spots across all teams.
Unique to Marrakesh are turns 1 and 3 wherein you need to roll into them with quite a lot of speed and use the brakes differently than you would in a lot of other street tracks. Depending on driver requirements, the car will be set up differently in the way it operates during corner entry phases.
An interesting factor here is the approximately 10 degree difference between day and night time temperatures, which is quite a large margin. This means that across FP1, FP2, Qualifying and Race, we’re all going to be chasing a moving target in terms of adapting to the conditions, and there is no single, stable point in the day where the teams are able to optimise and stay there. Everyone in this paddock is experienced enough to know how to compensate for this, but this is an extra factor here when compared with a few other events.
Maximising track limits, going as close to the walls as possible, finding that sweet spot in a setup that’s not too low in order to find a balance between straight line speed and speed through the corners, blazing fast in and out laps, nailing pit stops (touchwood, we’ve been good with ours), and taking the most in terms of efficiency out of stint one to play with in stint two, it’s all to play for and will make the difference between a good and a bad race in Marrakesh.
You can catch us in action in the Marrakesh E-Prix on 13 January 2018 at 16:00 UTC.