Overheating Bogs Down De Silvestro

Simona de Silvestro’s race in Berlin was compromised by thermal management issues in the first stint, although a points finish offered some solace. The Swiss driver is frustrated that the season has not worked out as planned but says Andretti’s season three powertrain is a big step forward.

De Silvestro did not record her first top-10 Formula E finish until the Long Beach race in March, having debuted at the London double-header at the end of season one. On the other side of the garage, fellow Andretti driver Robin Frijns scored points regularly throughout the first part of the season, including a podium finish.

The Swiss racer started P10 on the grid after exclusions for drivers who had been ahead of her. Despite losing places early, de Silvestro found herself in P7 by lap 15, the combination of forced pit stops for drivers in front of her as well as a great late-braking move on Dragon Racing driver Loic Duval.

“The start was so-so because we got stuck on the inside, and then Robin passed us on the outside,” de Silvestro told Current E. “Then it was OK because we were running there and it was quite fine, but then at the end of the first stint we overheated and lost the regen completely. That really killed us. I think the last two laps we were going really slow. That was a bit frustrating because I think it happened to our car and Robin’s didn’t as much so we have to investigate that a bit. Second car, we were trying not to run into the same issue, was struggling, having to coast quite a lot. The end of the race was OK but I think what really killed were those two in-laps going into the first stint.”

Despite eventually finishing in P9, De Silvestro believes that she could have matched Frijns’ result of P6, or finished just behind him at the very least, had it not been for this early issue. When the powertrain overheats, the regen shuts down in an effort to preserve the battery. As well as dramatically altering the brake balance, this also reduces the energy that drivers can recapture, meaning they need to slow to meet their energy targets.

“I think we could have been behind where Robin finished,” de Silvestro said. “Seventh would have definitely been possible. In Formula E everything has to go right. Lost a little bit of time behind [Loic] Duval and then had to fight a little bit with Nick [Heidfeld] also. A little bit frustrated because it would have been nice to be there where Robin is, but definitely happy to be in the points again.”

De Silvestro agreed that it was a good message to send to Andretti ahead of its decision on a driver line-up for season three, but conceded that her first full campaign had not gone as planned.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen but for sure this season hasn’t gone like I’ve wanted it to,” she said. “We should have been running like this already in the beginning of the season. That’s hurt us a little bit. Now we have to finish strong in London and then see what happens.”

Should she stay on, de Silvestro is relishing the boost that will be offered by Andretti’s new powertrain, having been forced into sticking with the season one technology after a technical issue scuppered plans to enter Andretti-developed tech in season two.

“The new generation engine, it is better,” de Silvestro said. “It has more torque, we can see it when we’re coming out of corners. I think for us, for Robin to finish so well and for us to be in the points, I think it’s quite good. We never can challenge for a win right now. For next year, if everything goes right, I think it should look OK.”

By cadmin

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