Andre Lotterer believes the potential of the TAG Heuer Porsche 99X Electric is “promising” despite suffering from a battery issue which left him confined to the garage for a substantial amount of time on Wednesday, including the simulation race.
Lotterer joined the German marque for season six from reigning champions DS Techeetah, rejoining the team that he competed for in the 2017 World Endurance Championship.
Due to his prior familiarity with the team, it didn’t take the German at all long to get reacquainted and commence his contribution to the development of the car.
“Immediately I started work, I didn’t need names and to learn who’s who,” said Lotterer. “This is for sure a gain and I’m very happy to be part of the team in this new challenge.”
While the Porsche has shown some good pace at the hands of Lotterer and teammate Neel Jani, the 37-year-old said that the team didn’t unlock its full potential but has its running compromised by a hit on the barrier at the chicane and a battery issue which hindered any chance of meaningful running on Wednesday.
“[Tuesday] was ok, we had a few things we didn’t want but that’s part of learning, we didn’t use the maximum potential. It was promising and in the morning [on Wednesday] we had good pace compared to the others, until I brushed the wall and took time to repair the front right and rear right.
“Also we had some issues with the batteries that delayed us somehow which was not in our hands. Then we were chasing time and put in some laps at the end, I managed to do a 1:15.9 at that time, I think the fastest was a 1:15.4.
“It’s a pity because it wasn’t really in our hands, the car wasn’t ready [for the simulation race] with the battery issue. It happens sometimes, but the timing was just a bit unfortunate.
“Most importantly we have a lot of data, a lot of things to adjust and learn, we’re mainly working on balance and programming.”
Speaking about the new rules in which 1kWh of energy will be deducted for every minute under safety car conditions, Lotterer believes this will make for better racing as drivers will still have to manage their energy usage throughout the race without working a safety car anticipation into the strategy.
“The energy I think is interesting, it will go back to more of an efficiency race, the way it was in season four. It will create more civilised races because obviously you could gamble last year on safety cars and full course yellows by burning more energy.
“Some races were ending more flat out, which made it very difficult to overtake. On city tracks it’s so narrow that with the way Formula E works it’s a good recipe with energy saving and overtaking opportunities, and at the same time be strategic with it.”