Parc Ferme

Formula Electric team owner, Alain Prost, was a happy camper Saturday afternoon when one of his two drivers, Sebastien Buemi, took the pole position for Saturday afternoon’s Long Beach Formula Electric Race. Buemi’s time was 56.853 seconds in the No.9 e.dams Renault. Prost’s son and Points Leader, Nicolas Prost, had held the top position for much of the time, until being bested by his teammate and then by Daniel Abt/No.10Audi Sport ABT, who qualified second.

Formula E rules allow the drivers to use either A or B car in the practice sessions. The FE rules dictate that the qualifying car must start the race. Abt had a severe shunt in the first morning session, which meant his team had to beaver away for several hours getting that car race ready. He drove his second/B car in the other two practices and for qualifying.

Mechanic stuffing dry ice in hot car

After qualifying, the cars are impounded in Parc Ferme, with no work allowed on the car. That is, except for adding dry ice to help cool down the car. As the fully electric race cars have no cooling fans, they need to be cooled off after a session.

Unlike most professional race series, the FE drivers don’t have a Post-Qualifying Media Conference. They all check in with their car at the FE Scrutineering Bay, for weighing with and separate from their race car. Afterwards they are available for interviews with selected TV Broadcasters. The top three must remain in this area until his qualifying time is bumped.

After Qualifying, the drivers have a mandatory Driver’s Autograph session in eVillage.

Each FE team garage has an assigned dedicated FIA Scrutineer who never leaves the area. Relief Scrutineers spell the dedicated official. They wear blue tabards and are mostly unobtrusive, in the corners or on the sidelines. They often go unnoticed by the general public. These volunteers are mostly locals, recruited for the weekend due to their technical/mechanical expertise. These Scrutineers had thorough training on Friday. For the weekend, they are members of SCCA.


Jaime Alguersuari & Scott Speed

Scrutineer in Trulli Garage

Out on the course the volunteer marshals are all long-time SCCA members, mostly from Cal Club and some from San Francisco Region. There are no out of state or country marshals for this weekend. They had to be at the track Friday at oh dark thirty for their training and to staff the course for the various safety checks and inspections. Saturday they again met before dawn to be race ready for the 7am Track Inspection.

While FE is a FIA international series run, at Long Beach there are many familiar faces among the various race officials. FE Clerk of the Course is James Foyle-SCCA & F1 at COTA; Dennis Dean-SCCA & F1 at COTA-is FE Steward of the Meet; IndyCar & F1 at COTA Jim Swintal is the voice of FE Race Control; SCCA-F1 at COTA Jo Anne Jensen is the FE EV Dispatcher; Mazda Road to Indy’s Road Diane Swintal is the FE logger; SCCA Pro Racing & Pirelli World Challenge Kathy Malleck handles the FE Grid; and Suzanne Royce, long-time USGP F1 Scrutineer Chief is here with Phil Royce, training Scrutineers. Augmenting the FE Medical Crew are the two doctors who founded and ran the CART Medical Team – Dr. Steve Olvey and Dr. Terry Trammell.

And BTW, to correct an earlier posting, the Grid Girls are wearing chaste but short blue ‘dresses.’