Formula E: Full-race simulations completed at Donington Park (VIDEO)

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Roughly one month ahead of its inaugural race in Beijing, the all-electric FIA Formula E series has announced that it’s completed two full-event simulations at the UK’s Donington Park track.

According to the series, a temporary pitlane and pit boxes were assembled. For the second simulation, each of the 10 F-E teams (including American-based teams Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing) ran all of their cars through two “non-qualifying” sessions, qualifying, and an endurance test.

Those were all run to the single-day race schedule that will be in place during the 2014-2015 season, which goes as follows:

  • Two morning, non-qualifying sessions of 45 minutes and then 30 minutes in length
  • A qualifying session split into four groups of five cars, with the order randomly selected beforehand
  • A race of approximately 60 minutes in length with the exact race distance determined on that day.

As part of the simulation, teams and drivers got to simulate a full standing start and pit stops, which will be quite different from the norm. In F-E, one mandatory stop must be made during the race by drivers in order for them to change to their second car.

Additionally, off-track matters such as credential procedures, operational/IT infrastructures, and television broadcasting were all tested as well.

“Putting on a major sporting event in the heart of cities around the world is a massive undertaking and requires careful preparation,” F-E CEO Alejandro Agag said in a statement.

“We want the Formula E Beijing ePrix to a fantastic spectacle, which is why we’re leaving nothing to chance by rigorously testing all the systems beforehand. Overall, we’re very pleased with how things went.”

F-E’s fifth and final preseason test session will take place next Tuesday, Aug. 19, at Donington Park. The first race of the year, the Beijing ePrix, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Column: Contrasting Michael Schumacher’s and Robert Wickens’ situations

(Photo: Tony Gentile / Reuters)
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As much of the world looks forward to Christmas and New Years Day in the next few weeks, a dark anniversary is also on the near horizon.

It’s hard to believe that December 29 will mark five years since seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher was critically injured in a skiing accident, suffering a traumatic brain injury.

Schumacher and his family were on holiday in the French Alps when he fell and struck his head on a boulder. The impact was so severe that it cracked the helmet he was wearing straight through.

One can only imagine the damage the impact did to Schumacher’s skull and brain.

While chronologically the accident occurred a half-decade ago, for many of “Schu’s” most ardent fans, it seems like it was just yesterday when the earth-shattering news broke.

In the following days and weeks after his accident, Schumacher was placed in a medically induced coma, as well as had at least two surgeries on his brain.

Since then the world has waited for news about the racing legend’s condition, only to receive very little in terms of updates over the subsequent five years.

That’s the way his family wants it, having repeatedly requested privacy when it comes to details about Michael’s condition. That request for privacy should be respected.

Schumacher’s wife, Corrina, issued a rare statement late last month that didn’t really say much about her husband’s condition or recovery, but she did thank fans and well-wishers for their continued prayers and concern about her husband, adding, “We all know Michael is a fighter and will not give up.”

In the meantime, Schumacher’s fans have been able to stay somewhat close to his legacy by watching as his 19-year-old son, Mick, has showed significant achievement in his own budding racing career.

So much so that rumors have already popped up that the younger Schu may soon follow in his father’s F1 footsteps, perhaps as early as 2020.

That, of course, remains to be seen.

What makes the Schumacher situation so difficult for many to still understand is how, while enjoying a simple skiing excursion with his family, he suffered a life-changing accident while having survived some wicked crashes during his racing career that barely affected him.

We still don’t know if Schumacher can walk, talk, is conscious and lucid or not – and many of his fans have already accepted that we may never, ever know any of those details. But if that’s the way he and/or his family want it, again, then we need to respect their wishes.

At the same time, there’s another race car driver who suffered a horrendous injury at Pocono Raceway this past August, namely IndyCar driver Robert Wickens.

Wickens suffered a devastating spinal cord injury that has left him a paraplegic – although there remains a great deal of hope that he will one day walk again.

While both suffered serious injuries, there’s a significant contrast between Schumacher and Wickens. The former (or his family) is keeping all details about his condition private, while the latter keeps his fans and supporters regularly updated on social media on how he’s doing.

That includes Wickens posting a number of videos, including some rather humorous ones where he has a mischievous look in his eyes or a good-natured smirk on his face — like bringing in a Christmas tree to his rehab facility, or “racing” teammate James Hinchcliffe in wheelchairs in a Days of Thunder homage of sorts.

Watching each new Wickens video or reading his most recent online messages, it’s very clear that expressing himself and reaching out to the world is indeed good therapy and medicine of sorts for the Canadian driver.

He needs those social media posts and videos as much as we need them from him.

And it also helps fans better understand where Wickens is at in his recovery and rehab.

If Schumacher or his family wish to still remain private about his condition, we must respect that. But perhaps they could see the good will and good tidings that Wickens’ videos and posts offer. They’re as good for Wickens’ own well-being as they are for his fans — and they could be equally as good for Schumacher, his family and his fans.

Follow @JerryBonkowski