Formula E Notes: Jean Todt says F-E is more “a stand-alone series” than ladder series

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With Formula E’s debut coming next weekend in Beijing, FIA president Jean Todt has shared some of his thoughts on the global, all-electric racing series – including his belief that F-E stands apart on its own rather than as a stepping stone to other leagues.

“It could be said that F-E is more a stand-alone series rather than a new thread included in the single-seater ladder,” he says to the F-E website. “However, it still does open career pathways for drivers with various backgrounds and has already attracted both young talents and experienced racers.

“For me, it’s a city, single-seater category, and I’m keen to keep it on a track of its own. And I think the interest in this challenge is because it’s like a circus. You have everything take place in 24 hours.

“The day before, it’s just a normal city, then everything happens for the organization of the race and then 24 hours later, it’s just a memory until next year.”

In the interview, Todt also touches upon the inspiration behind F-E, where F-E stands to be down the road, and whether F-E technology will eventually emerge in other FIA championships – noting on that subject that “you always learn from one championship to another one.”

“For example, what generates a lot of cost is aerodynamic development – and in Formula E, it’s quite limited, which I think is a good thing because sometimes, you see how complicated aerodynamics are on a car,” Todt said.

“You take Formula 1 now with all the little winglets that require so much wind tunnel testing. So, I would say let’s try to develop as much that can be transferred to a city car.”

Todt also defended the series’ FanBoost, which enables fans to vote online for their favorite drivers in hopes that they will receive an additional, five-second power boost (150kw to 180kw) during the races.

Some observers believe the FanBoost goes too far in manipulating a race’s natural outcome. But Todt called the FanBoost a “friendly, fresh initiative” that he doesn’t believe will “damage the final result.”

Meanwhile, back on the grid, one IndyCar veteran has apparently replaced another at Dragon Racing for the Sept. 13 season opener in Beijing.

Instead of Mike Conway driving the team’s second car, it will be Oriol Servia in that seat and working with Dragon full-timer Jerome d’Ambrosio. No official reason is listed for Dragon’s Beijing switch.

Conway does have other commitments and is racing for Toyota in the World Endurance Championship this month at Austin. However, that race is occurring on the weekend after Beijing.

Rinus VeeKay to drive for Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020

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Ed Carpenter Racing has signed 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay to drive the full 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, the team announced Wednesday.

VeeKay will drive the No. 21 Chevrolet previously occupied by Spencer Pigot.

“I’m so happy!” the 19-year-old driver from the Netherlands said in a press release. “It’s a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years. To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special.”

In his maiden Indy Lights season this year, VeeKay collected six race victories and seven pole potions. VeeKay previously won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 championship, and finished second in the 2017 USF2000 standings.

VeeKay’s success in the ladder series caught the attention of Carpenter, who gave VeeKay the opportunity to first test for the team at Portland International Raceway in August.

“I have been following Rinus’s path through the Road to Indy, especially the past two years,” Carpenter said. “It was clear to me that he deserves to be in an Indy car. After his first day in a car at Portland this past season, that feeling became even more apparent. His pace, feedback and demeanor inside the car was very impressive for such a young driver.”

As a driver, Carpenter will be VeeKay’s teammate during the five oval races in 2020, once again returning to the team’s No. 20 entry. An announcement on which driver will pilot the No. 20 on the road and street circuits will be made at a later time.

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