Thursday, 19 March 2015

"It was a great situation" - Scott Speed on his Formula E debut

It may be the off-season for the Red Bull Global Rallycross series but one of the championship's top drivers has certainly been keeping busy.



For the first of a two part feature, we look at Scott Speed's FIA Formula E d├ębut at last weekend at the championship's first American round in Miami. It was the former Formula One star's first open-wheel race since the 2007 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

Nevertheless, despite the time away and only 40 or so laps behind the wheel of a Forumla E car, an an under-developed one at Donington last year at that, the Andretti Autosport driver finished in a superb second place.

The American made the most of a great energy saving strategy to jump from his 11th place grid slot to challenge fort the victory on the last lap.

"We had to try an immediately save as much energy as we could through the first stint to gain a lap on the competition and we did that. We did it effectively," he said. "We were at least able to hang with the lead cars using effectively one lap less energy so we knew at that point, because we could hang with the leaders, that we were in a pretty good spot. As soon as we came out of the pits we knew exactly how much energy we had."

Ultimately, the race was just one lap too short for the American, who followed Nicolas Prost home in second place.

"I had the energy for almost another lap, I certainly had more energy left than him," he added. If we ran it with the batteries flat out we would have won".

Still, it was an impressive performance from the driver who has also had stints in NASCAR and A1 GP.

"It was a great situation we had. We scored a lot of points, I think I'm leading the Andretti team in points now so it was a good weekend. We had a very very solid foundation to build off of if I get the chance to run the next races".

Whether Speed continues in one of Andretti Autosport's Formula E entries is yet to be decided, but one thing is for sure - if he's back he'll certainly be near the front.




Coming tomorrow - Part Two of this feature where we talk to Scott about the year ahead in Red Bull Global Rallycross

 

 

Scott Speed interview - Part One



Dominik Wilde: It wasn't a bad performance for your first open-wheel race since 2007, was it? But unlike most people who've come into the series part-way through this season you tested the car early on at Donington.

Scott Speed: It was by no means a lot. At that time all the cars were being developed and didn't really work (laughs).


Dominik Wilde: So would you say that didn't give you an advantage over others?

Scott Speed: It was better, I probably had maybe 40 laps total before Miami.


Dominik Wilde: At the track there wasn't a lot of  time before the race on track, not just for you but for everyone. What kind of challenges would you say that posed because it was a new track for everyone and you were being thrown in at the deep end as well?

Scott Speed: Well it certainly made it harder, especially for someone like myself who's got no experience in the car, but ultimately the track was the same for everybody. Everyone had a struggle to get as higher speeds as possible.


Dominik Wilde: In the race, you had great race pace - You started back in 11th but you finished second. Talk us through the race.

Scott Speed: Well we were clearly unlucky in qualifying, having both of our actual qualifying laps blocked. We clearly had speed from practice but the race would be always difficult. We had to try an immediately save as much energy as we could through the first stint to gain a lap on the competition and we did that. We did it effectively. We were at least able to hang with the lead cars using effectively one lap less energy so we knew at that point, because we could hang with the leaders, that we were in a pretty good spot. As soon as we came out of the pits we knew exactly how much energy we had.


Dominik Wilde: Do you think if you were given one more lap you'd have been able to win the race?

Scott Speed: Well I had the energy for almost another lap, I certainly had more energy left than him (Prost - the race winner). If we ran it with the batteries flat out we would have won! (laughs).


Dominik Wilde: So would you say it was a missed opportunity or was it just one of those things?

Scott Speed: Oh no, no. It was a great situation we had. We scored a lot of points, I think I'm leading the Andretti team in points now so it was a good weekend. We had a very very solid foundation to build off of if I get the chance to run the next races.


Dominik Wilde: You mentioned your championship standing, you're 11th in the points and you're ahead of quite a few of the full-time drivers after just one round. Is there any chance of further outings? Has that been discussed at all?

Scott Speed: We are doing at the moment so...we'll see.


Dominik Wilde: Your Formula E team mate Jean-Eric Vergne of course came from Toro Rosso in Formula One like you. Did you two have a chance to share stories about your experiences because you both have the same kind of background?

Scott Speed: (laughs) We shared some stories, yeah.


Dominik Wilde: And Nelson Piquet Jr. was also at the race, of course a Global Rallycross championship rival. Did you get the chance to catch up with his as well?

Scott Speed: Yeah, yeah I'm always talking to Nelson. He's a good friend anyway, he lives in the same area.




Images: fiaformulae.com

No comments:

Post a Comment