TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E driver Andre Lotterer says that the opposing approaches between Porsche and its German rival Mercedes in preparing for Formula E are “interesting.”
Porsche and Mercedes are officially the two new teams for the 2019-20 season but Mercedes essentially has a learning year under its belt after its racing industry affiliate HWA fielded a team last term.
Mercedes’ strategy of engaging in a learning season contrasts against that of Porsche which decided against following a similar route with Dragon.
Porsche worked with Dragon briefly in the autumn of 2017 as it eyed the potential of embedding personnel into the American team to gain as much operational experience as possible.
This fell apart after terms could not be agreed and Porsche decided to attend races in observational capacities rather than partner with an existing team.
“Mercedes needed to do that because they haven’t raced with hybrids at Le Mans and they needed to know more about electric cars,” Lotterer told e-racing365.
“This team could pretty much take a lot of carryover from electric technology and learn how to control them and map all that.
“There are two different approaches and you have to beat everyone there – not just the guys who happen to be from the same country – but it is interesting how we have all prepared.”
Lotterer also stated that experience in Formula E race situations will be a major key to success next season.
“In Formula E you have a small window where you can make the difference. You all have the same cars, power and batteries available, but within that window you can still do a lot,” he said.
“Picking Neel and myself with experience and giving us responsibility was obvious and I think it is a clever call.”
Difficulty of Formula E Underestimated
Lotterer feels that the complexity and skill required by Formula E drivers is not fully understood yet within the racing industry, which has a tendency to underestimate the young championship.
The German was initially dismissive of Formula E after its first season in 2014-15 but changed his opinion after he joined in 2017.
Now, Lotterer describes the challenge of the all-electric formula as “super hard” as drivers multi-task on often narrow street tracks.
“What is difficult in this championship is a bit of misunderstanding about how tough it actually is for drivers,” said Lotterer.
“People who judge us don’t understand how much effort we put in to survive in this environment and to race at the limit between the walls, communicate with the team on energy numbers, deal with full course yellows, safety cars all within 45 minutes.
“It is a lot more difficult than regular race tracks where you have a lot more space and I’m not sure if people understand that. There is definitely a misunderstanding because it is super hard here.
“I think it will take a few years yet for people to appreciate how tough it really is in Formula E between the wheel.”