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

5 Comments

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.

Female racer makes history with record finishes in dirt national midget events

Photo courtesy Toyota Racing
Leave a comment

Holly Shelton is riding high after setting a milestone for a female driver in a national midget series feature event on dirt this past weekend.

The Sacramento, California-area resident recorded the highest finish ever for a female dirt national midget series driver with a runner-up finish last Friday at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header weekend at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Shelton broke her own national record for top finish by a woman in a national dirt event – she finished third in a USAC race at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last year.

One night after setting her new national record, Shelton and her Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota roared back Saturday to finish third (started on the outside pole) in the second half of the weekend double-header, making her the first female dirt driver ever on the national midget circuit to earn back-to-back podium finishes.

“It’s cool making history as a female, but my number one thing is I just want to win,” said Shelton, who will be graduating from Cal-State Sacramento with a B.A. in Criminal Justice this fall. “Truthfully, on the track I don’t even remember that I’m a girl. I’m just racing all the guys with the same goal they have – to win.”

Only one other woman has finished second in either a USAC or POWRi midget feature – Sarah McCune at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999 – but that was on pavement, not dirt.

The record-setting weekend was great consolation for Shelton, who missed three races earlier this season due to surgery and then sat out three other races last month after suffering a race-related concussion.

“It felt good,” she said of her back-to-back podium finishes. “It builds up my confidence. The car is fast and we keep getting better and we want to build on it.”

Shelton was one of four women that competed in midget competition this weekend. The others were 19-year-old Maria Cofer and 16-year-olds Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson.

“It’s awesome seeing all the little girls come up to me excited to see me at the track,” Shelton said. “Hopefully, it encourages them to pursue their dreams as well and, as the years go on, more girls will get into it.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski