Preparing For Beijing
TE's Rich Harmer provides a behind-the-scenes look into the steps leading up to the first Formula E race of the season in Beijing, China.
Shipping and Preparations
The opening race in the second season of FIA’s Formula E Championship is rapidly approaching and the Andretti team has been hard at work making sure everything is fully prepared and ready to go for this weekend's event.
The preparations really started back in August when I was still based in the UK at Andretti’s Formula E workshop in Donington. The four race cars had to be fully built and prepared by a deadline of Friday, August 28th. On this date all of the car boxes were closed up and left the UK for the long journey out to China. That was the last time the team would see the cars until we too arrived in China.
In Formula E, all of the logistics and transportation of the cars, garage, tools, and track equipment is completed by the series. Each team is given four car boxes in which the race cars are loaded. Some equipment, such as the internal walls of the garage space, is also loaded into the car boxes for the race. Each team has a large box affectionately nicknamed the “track shack” in which all the tools, car chargers and larger equipment is loaded. Some photos of the loaded boxes can be found below.
Just before I left the UK to move out to Indianapolis, I helped the team load up all the boxes and carefully pack the gear away. The team of mechanics had spent the months prior rebuilding the cars from the first season into the season two configuration. In Formula E, some parts are used for more than one season, such as the carbon fibre tub. Items like this are carefully inspected and refurbished to then be prepared for further use.
Training For Race Day
The past couple months of our time and attention has been focused on all of the other actions needed to prepare for the racing season as a whole. Since the Beijing race is the first of many races, there are several preparations that need to be made here with Andretti to kick off the new season of Formula E. This includes everything from getting measured for the new uniforms to organizing all of the various travel arrangements for the team. With members coming from all over the world, such as the UK, USA, Belgium, and Switzerland, travel arrangements are especially important to ensure the timely arrivals of everyone on the team.
One important piece of the preparation last week was our mandatory safety and medical training. This was a special course tailored and delivered by the series doctor to any member of the team who might have contact with the electric race cars. We covered all the basic first aid training necessities, such as CPR, and then some more advanced aspects such as using Automated External Defibrillator’s and tourniquets.
Race Weekend Approaches.
Our drivers have also been hard at work in the simulators familiarizing and preparing themselves with the track. Our two drivers, Simona de Silvestro and Robin Frijns, will be driving on this circuit for the very first time when we get to Beijing. Therefore, simulator preparation is crucial to ensure they get to know the track in intimate detail prior to the sessions. When we arrive on-site they will enter the sessions with that preparation to guide their understanding of the track.
The race is quickly approaching and we are thrilled to kick off the new season of Formula E. Be sure to follow along on Twitter for updates from the track, and cheer on the hard work of the drivers and everyone behind-the-scenes who has contributed to this exciting first race.