The time before the new year is a time for reflection and all of us at Trulli Formula E are very grateful for the support from our sponsor Jihua, our technical sponsors and our loyal fans. We had Jihua’s iconic red JH 1912 cube with us in Punta Del Este, it sure brought us luck as we finally scored our first points after being terribly unlucky in previous races. We are making progress race by race, increasing our understanding of this new race technology and ways to amplify it. Our drivers, mechanics and engineers remain positive and full of energy to find the perfect balance and increase our points. But for now, here are Michela and Jarno’s thoughts on the Punta Del Este race and the Test Day.
Michela Cerruti, P12
“Race day was a lot of ups and downs with issues in the Free Practice and Quali, leaving me P16 on the grid. Luckily, the race went better with a good race pace and I could fight through. It was so close to a top 10 finish though, it was literally at my fingertips. If I hadn’t made the mistake of by braking too late in the pit entry and we would have had a quicker pit stop I’m confident I would have been in the points. Hopefully, by avoiding this in Buenos Aires – I will get those points. Punta Del Este was all about braking and accelerating, and one tiny little braking mistake had a big impact that made you pay a lot. If you were wrong on one braking point, or slower in a corner it really made you slow down on the straight after so I’m happy that we managed to avoid these mistakes.
We’ve had a very energy economical drive style so far, and a few races in, we think that we can push it a little further to gain more speed, without tipping over. The race left me wanting to fight for more on Test Day, and I finally got the chance to show what I can do and displayed a top 10 finish. Overall, the testing was incredibly useful. It’s really my first test day as we had so many technical issues in Donington I never did more than two, three laps in one go, leaving it difficult to assess properly. I feel like I have gotten to know the car a lot better, I know what I need to improve on from my side, and the team know what they need to improve on.
Due to red flags, we didn’t get enough time to test the Quali map, and it’s the one thing I wish we had more time to test as this is where we’ve had issues in the past. But we’re working together to improve all aspects and looking at the track map of Buenos Aires I’m optimistic about our chances.
My favourite track so far is Putrayaja as it was very fluid and flowing with fast corners. I’ve always preferred tracks like that one, even whilst driving other series. City tracks are a completely new thing for me and I’m still getting used to it. I’ve had a few crashes but they are a part of the learning curve. It’s a good way of quickly getting my spatial awareness in these cars, but I’m not sure my mechanics agree with me. There’s a lot of other factors to take on board to such as bumps, the wind, and this time – sand. Nevertheless, I’m thoroughly enjoying it and I’m very happy to be a part of Trulli Formula E.
Race day in Formula E is very full on. There is no time to recover psychologically is you have a bad morning. It’s good practice for me as you immediately have to re-focus and stay calm to be on top of your game in order to recover and avoid any further mistakes. Breath and keep cool, is what I tell myself. So far it has worked!”
Jarno Trulli, P4
“As P7 I started on the left hand side of the track. It was incredibly dusty leaving the wheels to spin instead of gripping, and I immediately lost a position as I didn’t get away quick enough. Looking back at the footage, it looks like everyone on the left side of the grid had the same issue. After this I was chasing behind Di Grassi, and from then on it was almost impossible to take over, so the rest of the race was all about trying not to make any mistakes.
We gained position during the pit stop thanks to efficient work from the team. The rest of the race continued in the same manner, trying to push through without any mistakes and avoiding accidents, which there were quite a few of. I’m glad to have avoided the accidents in front of me, but it also made us lose a lot of track time.
For me, the race wasn’t that exciting as it was more about trying to stay away from trouble than racing. Malaysia was a lot more exciting race-wise as it was more about racing than braking and accelerating was it was in Punta Del Este. All drivers have different ways of coping with the pressure and of course; experience helps you go a long way. I have never had an issue with nerves or temper as I’m naturally calm and just do what I do to work systematically throughout the race. The race technique is new for everyone and we are all still trying to figure out how to maximise its potential. For the rest of this inaugural season, it will be the team that can interpret the technology best, that will be the most successful.
During Test Day we tried to have a look at all the different setup changes to see how we could maximise the maps in different situations. Looking at various aspects of the track, we held focus on speed over corners and power on straights whilst maintaining concentrated energy levels. Testing is always valuable as we get more data and more driving experience in the car. Hopefully, this will pay off in the next race”.