This season we are using Tuesdays to highlight the amazing members of our race team and the various, and sometimes unknown, roles that make it up. Next up, we are pleased to introduce you to our Test and Factory Performance Engineer, Joel Munoz.

Explain your job in 3 words

Optimise – we’re in search of optimal performance to make the car competitive, reliable, and efficient.
Balance – diversification and understanding of how all areas need to work in harmony. Small and combined improvements will make the difference.
Predict – the simulator and simulation tools have a big impact on performance and what to expect during the weekend. Being able to trust these is fundamental, especially with such limited practice time before qualifying and the race.

Now explain it in a few sentences, what do you do on a daily basis?

My official job title is ‘Performance Engineer Test & Factory´. The role involves attending to every test event and ensuring that at the end of the day we have covered the test items and obtained usable data from them, which then needs to be summarised and reported so that the findings can be taken on event.

The Performance Engineer is the person responsible of getting the best outcome from the car, although during the testing phase it’s more about solving unknowns. When we are not testing, the rest of my time is spent in the factory, in Banbury, where the daily job is providing support to Race Engineering. This involves running the simulator, analysing data and reporting from past events, doing offline simulations, or preparing the next test.

What journey did you take to get to your current role?

I have always been passionate about mechanics, maths, physics, and everything related to numbers and understanding how things work. After I finished school in Tenerife I moved to Madrid and studied Aerospace Engineering, which I really enjoyed and fell in love with.

During my last year at university, I did my internship with Mahindra Racing. They helped me choose a project that consisted of a thermal model for the powertrain, which I used as my Final Degree project for Uni. I worked on this remotely, since it was during the COVID era, at the end of Season 7.

By working with Mahindra, I realised how much I wanted to point my career towards motorsport. It was then that I asked to attend the last test that the team would do with the Gen 2 era. A few months after that, I moved to the UK to work with the team and, almost 2 years after that, here I am answering these questions!

Does your role change during a race weekend?

No, since it is consistently varying. Although the objective is always to support and provide useful and clear data for the trackside part of the team, our job changes from weekend to weekend depending on what the hot topic is for that specific event.

For example, FE tracks cover a wide spectrum of track characteristics that can range from being permanent, to bumpy, to very high speed, to hot temperature… or even all these combined at the same time.

Although we have a standard set of runs that we do for every weekend, like ensuring that correlation between the simulator and the real car is as close as possible, there is always a highlight in which we put more time into. Part of the role is to expect the unexpected!

What is the best thing about your role? And the most challenging?

Personally, I‘d say that the variety that the role demands is what I enjoy the most. During the season we spend a lot of time in the simulator developing new systems and testing new ideas. After the season ends, there is always work to get done to make your life easier once the races start again. Something I really enjoy is the process of how an idea gets developed, from being tested in offline simulations, to running it in the Simulator with a test driver, to putting it to test in the car and then make it to the racetrack.

The most challenging (and interesting) thing about being a Performance Engineer is not always having a definitive answer to questions and understanding that all areas combined in the race car need to work in perfect harmony to be able to perform. This includes suspension tuning, being in the optimum aerodynamic window, providing consistent and powerful braking, been able to put power down… and all of them at the same time. Is very easy to have great performance in one of these areas and forget about how much it affects the rest of them. Having a good balance and knowing which of them outweighs the rest is what makes it interesting.

What has been your favourite moment working in Formula E?

I’ll always remember Gen 3 development period as a very special one since I was in it since the very beginning. Being able to be part of the maturing process really put into perspective how much work is needed to make a car go fast around a racetrack. It really was a great learning experience.

I value a lot having been present throughout this process, from seeing early CADs, to the first time the car ever rolled out of a garage, to seeing how we achieved pole position on the first ever Gen 3 race. Overall, this process of up and downs and constant learning is what I’ll always remember as a very special time in FE.