The world of racing is a broad and complex one where every individual’s job has a valuable importance. We caught up with Andrew Hoadley, from Dragon Racing, to find out more about his job as a Formula E mechanic.
It is the driver who is at the wheel during the race, fighting for wins and points. But it takes an entire team to get that car running each weekend; no matter the size, renown, or experience that team has.
In a sport like Formula E, team work is essential. The schedules are tighter, there is a car swap during the race, and the most important aspect: these are electric racecars. The series certainly takes motorsports to a new era, and those involved have rather different race days than the ones one might get accustomed to in other forms of motorsports.
“As long as you don’t have any problems, you spend a lot of time charging, cooling the car, and doing what you’d normally have hours to do, but finding yourself with only forty-five minutes or an hour to do it”, describes Hoadley how a normal race day is like for him.
For him, he always knew racing was his place to be in. “I’d always wanted to be a mechanic but never in a normal garage, so racing was the obvious choice”.
The Englishman works for Dragon Racing, a team that has found success on its first two seasons in the fully-electric championship; and, after a season with more downs than ups, the American squad is rising again aiming to be fighting at the front.
“Formula E is very different to any other racing series”, he states. “you have two cars to look after, rather than just one. The timetable is very tight, you are busy all the time, so there is a lot of time management”.
Certainly, while mechanics may not be working on the car during the course of the race, a big portion of the mandatory car swap is on their hands. This is one of the prospects that make Formula E a unique racing series.
“The car swap is a massive thing as you’re strapping the driver in, you’re looking after somebody’s life, and you have to do it as quickly as possible, so procedure and precision are very important”.
When it is time for drivers to change their cars halfway through the race, we see them running from the one that has just entered the garage, to the one next to it. As Hoadley points out, precision is key to perform this in the best way possible.
One of the main ways to be precise when doing this is through fitness. We often see drivers’ posts on social media about the training they have to endure in order to be able to drive these machine. Fitness is significant for mechanics, as well.
“Fitness is important, especially for us English as we’re not used to the heat and humidity”, as a series that hosts races all over the world, teams face climates which most of them are not used to, such as the ones they encounter in South America.
“So when you find yourself running around all day you make sure you stay hydrated”, he adds.
With Season 4 showing a fantastic dose of racing, this is partly due to the hard work people like Andrew do down at the garage. So is the reason behind the series’ growth, proving a lot of negative criticism wrong, and taking motorsports to a new level. Because everyone contributes with their grain of sand in the world of motorsports.
Photos courtesy of Dragon Racing.