Sarah Merritt grabbed a few minutes with NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team driver Oliver Turvey after the race in Paris, where he finished 13th, and asked him about his weekend, and why people should watch Formula E.
On the Paris ePrix:
Qualifying was good for us – it was quite tricky in qualifying today with the cold temperatures and tyre warm-up was crucial – and I was able to do quite a good job with that, and to be 7th was our best qualifying of the year. Probably a bit higher than expected, to be ahead of Buemi in the Renault.
We knew the race was going to be touch, the start was good and I got up to 6th into Turn 1, and I was able to hold the pace with other cars around me though the opening laps, and keep Buemi behind me for a number of them.
After a few laps it seemed they had more pace, once the tyre warming up, and they were able to pull away. I tried to defend, but unfortunately it’s difficult with our car at the moment, so in the end Buemi was able to drive around the outside of me.
After this, we tried to keep to my energy target, and unfortunately we had a poor pit stop, so we lost some time and lost two or three positions. The race was not great, but we have to take the positives – we had a good qualifying and I think we out-qualified where we are for the pace of the car, and we had a good race start.
On next year:
The team have made some good improvements through the season, there’s been some personnel change, which is good and they’re going in the right direct. I think for next year, they have some positive signs, so it could be stronger.”
On alternating Formula E with other race series:
It’s quite different, but I think I’m getting used to changing between cars. I’m driving in Super GT in Japan with Honda, as well as having done Le Mans last year in LMP2, and occasionally driving the F1 car as well as the simulator for McLaren, so I get used to changing between cars every day nearly!
It’s a skill as a driver that you need to have to be a complete driver. It’s not easy, the Formula E car is quite tricky – I guess the braking is quite tricky in this car, and having a good feel for the car, like any car, you drive to the grip level and you drive to the limit of the track, which is the wall! It’s one of the skills I have really picked up in the last few years.
On the recent discussion of how the current and previous F1 Champions would fair in Formula E:
Driving the car to the limit is the same as any other car. The braking is tricky to get used to, but I’m sure these guys would be quick in this car as well!
The race is quite different, you have to save energy and be very energy efficient when you are driving, which was probably what was meant in terms of the style in Formula E being a little bit different. That’s certainly something that gets better with practice, but I guess these guys would be pretty strong!
On Formula E versus other motorsport disciplines – why watch it?
I’d say that it brings motorsport to the heart of the city, and it’s close, exciting racing. Every lap, there’s always something happening, and it’s always an exciting race.