James Calado hopes to be competitive from the off in his rookie Formula E campaign, but remains realistic about his chances as he faces a new challenge of energy management and his return to single seaters.
Calado was recently announced at Panasonic Jaguar Racing as teammate to race winner Mitch Evans and is excited to make his debut in a series that he has longed to compete in.
“I’ve always wanted to do Formula E, it’s something I’ve always been fascinated by and the growth of it is really interesting to me,” said the Brit. “My management and I were pushing to try and find a seat, obviously being British I was close to Jaguar and the talks started with them. Ever since we’ve done a few tests and proven I’ve got the speed, and I did the deal!”
Calado was previously a part of the club that teams could sign drivers from in season one, but a deal never materialised for the 30-year-old. Having observed the series as a spectator, he found himself becoming more and more invested and soon went on to become one of the 24 drivers on the grid.
“I vaguely remember being on the list of drivers to do it, but never had the opportunity. To be honest, at first I was sceptical of how it was going to work, that’s normal in any championship because it’s new, but from season three it really rang a bell and then it skyrocketed, I ended up watching Formula E on TV instead of Formula 1!
“We always found it more exciting because things happen in Formula E that you don’t expect and now I’m part of it. I’m looking forward to the competitiveness of Formula E and the fact that’s it’s such an amazing championship to be in as a driver, I can’t wait to get to Saudi Arabia and show what we’re capable of.”
The Brit has previously raced against some of his fellow Formula E racers, having competed against Daniel Abt, Tom Dillmann and teammate Evans in the 2013 GP2 Series.
He has also taken tips from former World Endurance Champion teammate Bird, a mainstay of the series.
“I’ve been out of single seaters for six years but I’ve always kept in touch with them. Sam Bird was my teammate at Ferrari [in WEC] so I’ve got all the info about Formula E from him.
“I’m really looking forward to being back with them and Mitch is so good, he’s a very fast driver so for me it’s really important coming into this team that I take as much information as possible from him and try to get up to speed as quick as I can.”
With expectations hard to imagine in the lead up to pre-season testing in Valencia, Calado is not lacking the will to win but acknowledges that he has a task ahead of him to master the energy management needed in the series.
“I’m a racing driver and I want to win, that is obviously the goal but I need to be realistic. The speed’s there but I need to get on top of the energy management. There’s still a lot of testing to come so I’m sure we will get better and better, then from there we will start to see some really good results.
“It’s important for the team that we score points and do well for them, I think last year they were a bit unlucky with Alex [Lynn] having these DNFs, there were plenty more points available for them so the effort that has gone in is huge and I feel like I’m in a good place.”