Welcome back to my season-long blog! I’ve just got back from Mexico City after round four of the ABB FIA Formula E championship. I’ll tell you all about the action this weekend (and boy was there a lot!) but before we dive into that, let me update you with what I have been up to…
After Santiago, I felt a bit more confident after coming eighth. Since round one in Riyadh, I’ve felt progress in adapting to FE. I’ve spent a lot of time in the simulator, testing new methods of attacking the track and seeing what works best. The time in the simulator with the team has been totally invaluable. I’m grateful to my team for taking the time and effort to work out how to finesse these Formula E street circuits. We’re getting there and the podium is in sight, I’m certain.
I also managed to squeeze a few days at home in Penarth with my family and during this time, I got to spend some time on my MotoX bike. I went with a few of my mates and we got some cool footage of us thrashing around the hills. Having a few days back at home and not living out of a suitcase is always so revitalising.
Gen 2 EVO car reveal
Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Gen2 EVO racecar was revealed this week with the concept livery and it looks pretty impressive.
The overall design doesn’t look massively different but there are small intricacies and tweaks that will improve the racecar hugely. The new car will produce 10-15% more downforce and up to 10% less drag, making it faster around corners and straights.
The wheel arches have also been removed which means I’ll be able to see the wheels turning when driving and allow me to be more in tune with the car, recognising lock-ups more easily.
Now let me take you through my time in Mexico…
I arrived in Mexico City a couple of days ahead of the race to acclimatise. The weather in Mexico at this time of year is mid-twenties, a welcomed change from the wintery days in the UK. Mexico City is very high up so the change in altitude is always quite drastic, so it was good to get there a few days before.
On the first day, I was there, I spent some time with Sam Bird who is a good mate of mine and we shared a couple of taxis as we explored the city and the pyramids. We took in a few of the sights but also bought a couple of sombreros – you can’t go all that way and not buy a souvenir. It’s great to be able to travel the world with an old mate and see a familiar face every now and again – not forgetting our healthy rivalry which always spurs me on!
On Thursday, Mitch and I went to La Mexicana and did a photoshoot there. La Mexicana is a dedicated green space in the middle of Mexico City, which allows residents in the city to escape the hustle and bustle. Despite only being 5 miles from where we were staying it took such a long time to get to the park due to the volume of traffic, which makes you realise how valuable these spaces are! The traffic and bustle of city life in Mexico is intense so it was nice to chill out there. Mitch and I took some cool shots with the camera team and we shot a few videos and interviews too so keep a lookout for those on my social channels – @JamesCalado.
On Thursday night, we had the Panasonic Jaguar Racing RE:CHARGE event where local media were hosted, and we answered some questions for them. The event went well, and we had the opportunity to meet some of our Mexican fans there too which was awesome. I love meeting our fans and I still can’t get over the fact that people from all over the world are rooting for me – it is incredible.
On Friday morning, we started the day with a team photo. It’s always good to keep these pictures because as time goes on, it helps you to savour the memories. We did the track walk, which as always was valuable as it was a new layout for all the drivers this year. We spent nearly two hours dissecting the track and its corners. Getting to know the track is really important and it always helps me settle my nerves prior to the race. As we started to get in the car for shakedown, the rain came down which was a shame as it makes it tricky to get the most out of the session.
Luckily on Saturday morning, the rain had stopped, and the weather was clear again. I had an early start (5.45am) and headed to the track with the team. My mind was focussed on executing a good qualifying lap – something I’ve been working on since the season began. I was in group 3 for qualifying, which worked in my favour as it enabled the track to evolve and some of the debris to clear.
The track wasn’t particularly great, especially after all the rain the night before, which was detrimental to a lot of people’s qualifying races – including mine. I started on the grid at seventeenth which wasn’t ideal but getting the knack of qualifying is a fine art that takes time…I’m getting there though.
During the race, I managed to overtake ten cars (for the third time in an E-Prix), which is a huge positive and my overtaking capabilities are only getting better. The Jaguar I-TYPE 4 is a seriously impressive car and as I become more in tune with it, I am finding overtaking effortless.
There were a lot of crashes (seven in total!) which meant for a scrappy race. When the chequered flag fell, I was ninth which was a great achievement. Unfortunately, I was later disqualified due to our energy use during the race being over the regulatory limit. It was really frustrating to be told this, especially as we only went a fraction over the limit and it was due to a software glitch. But we’re a team and we go again. I didn’t achieve any points for the team this time around, which was devastating. But it is a lesson for us all and learnings to take forward for Marrakesh!
I have to shout out to my teammate Mitch Evans who had an amazing weekend… What an outstanding performance! Mitch started second on the grid and overtook Lotterer on the first corner and held the lead the whole way through the race. A real show of talent and skill and he now sits at the top of the driver standings! Top job Mitch!
We now head to Marrakesh for the E-Prix on 29 February, which is a really quick turnaround. No time to rest, I just have to bring my learnings forward and keep working out my style on the track. I’ll be going to Grove to spend time in the sim and really look to focus on my qualifying lap. I’m really excited to see what Marrakesh brings and I will be pushing for more points for our team! Wish me luck! The race will be live on BBC2 this time so tune in and don’t forget to Fanboost to #StopStoffel