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Eeckelaert: “The level is going higher”

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes of Formula E, where one figure working for the Venturi squad is former Formula 1 engineer Jacky Eeckelaert, who spoke to Noor Amylia Hilda about the new attack mode format and the team’s new driver line-up.

First impressions from pre-season testing

“In general it’s quite a good day for us. It’s the first day of testing for all the teams together but we have done so many private testing already and actually the car is reasonably OK. There is still a lot of small details in the development but I think we progressed today.”

On the attack mode format

“We will see what it will bring in reality because it’s a strategic tool for the teams and I hope there will not be just one option because then all teams will do the same. But if it works like how we suppose it could work, then we would make some excitement in the race with people overtaking and defending. But we still have to see how it works out in a practical way. Currently we are trying to see with simulations on this subject. I think it could be a good solution to make the race a bit more interesting, since there are no pit stops anymore.”

On reliability

“The Gen2 car is a much better car and the battery is much higher level. Also, you see in terms of reliability, last season we had all the tests with the cars and all the teams together and there were a lot of red flags because the cars stopped on the tracks due to software glitches and so on. But today I think there was just one red flag so, all the cars are more reliable and the level is going higher and higher and we progress each year. But you won’t be sure if you will be at the front because everybody is also progressing as well.”

On Venturi’s driver line-up

“I’m very happy with the line-up. We have Edoardo [Mortara] from last year, he’s a quick man and he’s a street specialist. There were some tracks where he didn’t perform very well, especially in qualifying because he was doing two championships in DTM as well as Formula E. It’s difficult to mix two types of cars that are completely different but this season, Formula E will be his priority.

“Felipe [Massa] is also very new to Formula E, but he is a very experienced driver. I know him very well because I was his first race engineer [at Sauber] in Formula 1 back in 2002 some 16 years ago. We have a long history together. He’s very motivated to do this and I understand how he feels, you only have 12 race weekends and he lives in Monaco, also like me and we live very close to the workshop. It’s a nice life rather than doing 21 Grand Prixs in five- six weeks with testing and working on the simulator all the time here and there. He’s very motivated and quick so we’ll see how it goes.”

About Noor Amylia Hilda
Noor Amylia Hilda is a journalist based in Kuala Lumpur with bylines in titles such as Women's Health, Esquire and ELLE. She is also a freelance motorsport journalist covering the FIA Formula E championship and Formula 1.