Formula E Beijing preview: Q&A with Vincent Gaillardot from Renault Sport

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RENAULT e-DAMS.SEPTEMBER 2015. ©Bernard Asset pour Renault. For editorial and internal use only.

Ahead of the opening ePrix of the 2015/16 FIA Formula E season, we caught up with our Project Leader from Renault Sport, Vincent Gaillardot, to see how the championship has evolved for its second campaign.

When it comes to the regulations, what changes have been made?
“In terms of technical regulations from the FIA the only main difference from last year is the increase in power under race conditions, so we can now run 170kW in race trim. However, there have been many changes to the championship regulations this year, principally the introduction of eight manufacturers selected by the FIA, including Renault, who are allowed to develop new powertrains, which comprises the e-motor, inverter, gearbox and cooling system. Here at Renault Sport we have exclusively designed and developed the Z.E.15 powertrain for the Renault e.dams squad, which is the result of many years of experience and proficiency in electrical systems.”

So why did Renault want to become a manufacturer this season?
“With innovation and excellence etched into Renault’s DNA, it was only natural that the manufacturer would support the world’s first fully electric competition. Indeed, having contributed to the development of Season 1’s Spark SRT_01E chassis and supported Renault e.dams in their Teams’ title-winning inaugural year, we’re now fully committed to the FIA Formula E Championship.”

And how does it impact Renault’s road-going commitments?
“Motorsport is a great way of discovering and progressing new technologies and then applying this know-how to all-electric vehicles in general. And, in turn, we can consult Renault’s road-going data and expertise to develop our approach to Formula E.”

What about Fan Boost? That’s changed as well this year…
“Yes, Fan Boost was often a critical factor to the race result last year. This season, voting is open 12 days before each event and continues into the first six minutes of the race. As with last year fans can cast their vote via the Formula E website and app, as well as on Twitter and Instagram by including the necessary driver and Fan Boost hashtags in their posts.”

How does that impact on the winners?
“The top three drivers from each Fan Boost vote will be awarded 100kJ of extra power, which they can only deploy in their second car following the mid-race car swap.”

Beijing ePrix power facts

  • Last year’s winner: Lucas di Grassi (ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport)
  • Last year’s pole time: 1m42.200s – Nicolas Prost (Renault e.dams)
  • Seb’s result: DNF
  • Nico’s result: 12th
  • Fastest lap: Takuma Sato (Team Aguri), 1m45.101s
  • Track length: 3.34km
  • Number of corners: 20

Did you know? The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were the most expensive summer games in history. While the 2004 Athens Games cost approximately $15 billion, the Beijing Games were estimated to have cost a whopping $40 billion.
Did you know? The earliest records of Beijing are taken from the travel notes by the young Italian traveller of 13th century, Marco Polo. He described the civilised people and their well-organised lives in Beijing.

Did you know? Beijing is made-up of two Chinese characters ‘bei’ (北) which implies north and ‘jing’ (京), which implies capital. Thus, the literal meaning of the word Beijing is “Northern Capital”.