WHY DO TEAMS WALK THE TRACK?
Find out more about the invaluable insights gained from Formula E track walks…
Track walks take place in most – if not all – racing series around the world. But in Formula E, a close examination of the circuit before the drivers get behind the wheel really does bring a multitude of benefits.
The city centre locations of each racing arena on the calendar make spotting that bump or surface change essential – and it’s this educational process that has the power to make or break a weekend.
As we returned to the Parque O’Higgins Circuit for a second successive season, a number of tweaks had been made to the layout. Noting these is imperative to understanding car set-up and strategy – especially with extreme constraints around track running.
Even last time out in Chile – where the amendments weren’t quite as significant – a few tweaks to the track configuration made for essential study ahead of race day:
“The track has changed in a few corners since last year,” explained Felipe, after his stroll in Santiago. “Turns 1 and 2 are different and there are more slow corners.
“The final part of the lap is also completely different with two hairpins for the last two corners – but it looks nice. We don’t have the chicane anymore this year, meaning we have a much longer straight, so more speed.
“We have different types of corners and they change the balance of the car and the set-up,” he continues.
“It’s very important to see the grip levels, the kerbs, the exits of the corners and the barriers – we need to know where they are and what’s changed. Everything is important to understand before you drive the car.”
A key period every weekend, the pre-race track walk is now something of a ritual – ingrained as a matter of routine and habit for the team.
As Edo explains, understanding every detail of a circuit’s confines is vital – and this importance is doubled when it comes to activating Attack Mode during an E-Prix to get that 35kW power boost:
“When you get to the track, it’s always important to know a little bit about the corners. Where we have Attack Mode, we learn where we have to place the car in order to activate it,” adds the Swiss-Italian racer.
“Doing our job right during the track walk makes it easier for us when we do drive. The track walk is a little bit like a routine – we get used to it and it feels natural for us.”