Ahead of the third race of the season, Editor Andrea Perilli caught up with Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans to discuss about how his season has been so far, the Gen2 car, and what he expects ahead of the Santiago E-Prix.
Mitch Evans arrives in Santiago sitting on P7 in the Drivers' Championship. The Jaguar Racing Driver finished fourth in Ad Diriyah, and ninth in Marrakesh, but he feels there are things that still need to be improved. "My season so far, I would say, has been reasonable, definitely not the results that I was hoping for. It’s been strong but, I mean, within myself and the team, there is a high expectation".
"We’ve just had a little bit of bad luck", he comments, evaluating how his season has been so far. "But the important thing is that we still accumulated big points which is super important obviously".
"We just need a couple of things to go our way, some better results but in general it has been not bad so far, but still hoping for a bit more", he adds.
Evans joined Formula E in the 2016-17 season, where he was able to collect big points and start getting to grips with the series. "Since I came into Formula E, Season 3, the level has been very, very high", Evans comments about the level of racing that the series has had.
"Whether it’s higher or not, I don’t know but on average, the championship has been incredibly competitive, there is no driver that is weak here", he says when asked if the bar has been raised in terms of racing has been raised, as the season progressed.
Nowadays, Formula E stands as one of the most hard-fought championships in motorsports, as all drivers have competed at top-flight categories. "The competition here is so fierce and at a really high level, which makes it rewarding when you get it right.
"It really, really tests yourself and from that side, it’s been great to go up against some of the best in the world".
For Season 5, Formula E introduced the Gen2 car, a futuristic-looking race car, with a. battery that lasts the entire race, leaving behind the mid-race car swap that existed in the fully-electric championship for the previous four seasons.
Drivers had he chance to test the car for months before the start of the season, but things would change when they went up against each other in these new vehicles at the season opener in Ad Diriyah. We found out with Evans how it is like racing the other drivers in the Gen2 cars.
"We did quite a bit of testing with the new Gen2 car and obviously, you get a bit of a feeling for it but once you bring it to a street track, like all of the Formula E tracks, against other teams and drivers, it’s very hard to know".
"I think the first two races have been, it has been great to watch, quite entertaining to watch for the fans and in the car as well, it’s been good", Evans adds. Despite all questions that might have appeared around the Gen2 car, just with the first race, the public knew the races would be as entertaining as they have always been.
Among the new changes introduced for Season 5, there is the attack mode and a timed race. "I think the new format, with the timed race and also the attack mode which has brought in an element of strategy in. obviously, the elimination of the second car has brought another element; but I think the current, Gen2 car, has been a really good addition, and I think they’ve done a good job with the power increase and obviously, the range, that’s improved.
"It’s been a bigger step forward so I expect to see some really good racing throughout the whole championship, really close racing and some good battles", the 24 year-old expresses.
As the series grew bigger, those who did not have a good opinion of Formula E have changed their minds. "A lot of people that were maybe a bit unsure of the championship have definitely been silenced, or maybe changed their mentality towards the championship which, I think, is very important and they are taking the championship a lot more seriously".
Evans was part of Jaguar Racing's first Formula E lineup when they joined the series back in Season 3. For him the big cat's arrival to the series was a key for other manufacturers to flock to electric racing. "Jaguar was one of the big brands to join but once they announced, the other big manufacturers joined in the championship.
"Now, we have all the big brands and also really top drivers, so people now, they’ll get past the electric technology and see it as a really serious category, which is amazing".
Now, for the third E-Prix of the season, Formula E lands in Santiago, Chile, for the second time on its history, but this time, the circuit is located at O'Higgins Park, with a completely new layout, different to last year's.
"It was a shame to move from the old circuit, or the original track because it was great. It was a really amazing circuit we had last year. there were sad news once we knew it was going to change". The circuit used in 2018, was located in the heart of the city.
"I’ve driven the circuit in the car on the simulator, but it’s a bit hard to say exactly how it’s going to be this weekend. I don’t think it’s probably not as good as the other circuit but hopefully it is enjoyable to drive and also creates good racing".
But as everything in Formula E, and in life in general, you do not know how things will be like until you try them out. Mitch is certain about it. "It’s very hot, really hot here but the circuit looks interesting but I wont know much more until I drive it on Saturday morning".
With a forecasted weather of 37 degrees Celsius for race day, it will be interesting to see how the cars go racing in this new circuit, as the fight for the championship is on. Evans will be driving with all his skills and passion as per usual, chasing the objective all drivers do: climbing to the top step of the podium.