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.

Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett killed in Pennsylvania race crash

Photo: World of Outlaws
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YORK HAVEN, Pa. (AP) — Sprint Car driver Greg Hodnett died after a crash Thursday night at BAPS Motor Speedway.

The 49-year-old Hodnett, from Spring Grove, Pa., was the World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year in 1993 and went on to win 20 World of Outlaws races. He won the opening night this year at the Knoxville Nationals.

“Greg represented the true gentleman competitor in the pit area,” World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter said.

A statement was posted on Hodnett’s racing website, saying: “Please keep (wife) Sherry, the entire Hodnett family, and the Heffner racing team in your thoughts and prayers.

“Greg was a professional in every sense of the word, and will be desperately missed!”

Several NASCAR drivers took to Twitter to express their condolences: