When Andretti Autosport signed up for
the inaugural 2014-’ 15 FIA Formula E
Championship, it was faced with a lot of
new and different challenges.
For starters, it was going racing with
all-electric racecars (including mid-race car
swaps), although this was new territory to
almost all of the teams. But that was
coupled with a lack of access to the
Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars between
events (a similar situation to what it had
briefly faced during its tenure as Team USA
in the A1GP), as well as the potential
logistical complications that come with a
series that races on four continents.
But uncharted waters have not been a
barrier to results. Six drivers shared the
team’s two entries over the opening seven
races, and so far they’ve combined for
three podiums and two pole positions.
Both poles and one podium came
courtesy of ex-Toro Rosso Formula 1 racer
Jean-Eric Vergne, and the Frenchman
believes that the processes Andretti has
developed over time in North American
racing have been a factor in helping it hit
the ground running in a new environment.
ANDRETTI’S CURRENT THINKING
work that you do, and so far the work that
Andretti is doing has been really good.
“They have a different mentality. Even
though there are some English engineers,
the heart of the team is American. It’s the
first time I’ve raced for an American team,
and they are really professional and can
compete with the best teams in Europe.”
Scott Speed is one of Andretti
Autosport’s Global Rallycross regular
drivers, but he earned a Formula E
runner-up podium on his Miami debut, and
is set to compete in the remaining
non-clashing events. He acknowledges that
the team’s broad focus can present
challenges, but points out that one
program can inform another.
“Sure, it’s not easy,” he says. “But on
the other hand, it does kind of help
everything, too, because you might take
what you’ve learned on some IndyCar tests
over to the FE side, for example. Or, you
can take some technology or technique
from the open-wheel side and apply it to
the GRC. Of course it’s a challenge to take
on so many different series, but I think they
all help each other as well.”
Adding all-electric racing to its roster is the kind of new challenge that Andretti Autosport relishes.
Because of their limited battery life,
drivers must swap racecars during a
Formula E race, making for some
fascinating strategy decisions.
ONE STEP AWAY
Former Toro Rosso F1 driver Jean-Eric
Vergne finished second for Andretti
Autosport in April’s Long Beach FE race.
“The FIA Formula E Championship is at
a very high level, and Andretti is one of the
best teams,” he says. “The experience they
have from America gives them a really
good way of working, from the mechanics
to the engineers. There is no secret – if you
want to be successful, it’s all down to the
FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP