Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018

Ericsson made a “huge step forward” in 2018 – Vasseur

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur says Marcus Ericsson made significant progress this year despite the team’s decision to drop him for the 2019 F1 season.

What they say

Vasseur was asked about Charles Leclerc’s performance at the team alongside Ericsson:

I think he did a very good job also because Marcus was improving. If you consider Marcus compared to last year I think he did a huge step forward.

First when he hit the track in Melbourne he was six kilos lighter than last year and from the beginning he did a step forward compared to last year. Even the last part of the season now he is consistently in the same lap time as Charles. He was in front of Charles in Sao Paulo, just behind in Austin and it was very helpful for Charles also to have someone as a reference like Marcus.

Marcus he has also the advantage of very good technical feedback and he helped us a lot from the start of the season to take decisions on the technical side. When he joined F1 coming from F2 it’s not easy to have a reference on the performance.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Start, Saudi Arabia, 2018
Formula E returned to a mixed reception
The first race of the new Formula E season was great…

This morning I remarked to my brothers how this was the first time in a very long time that we were screaming at the top of our lungs, dog barking nearby in confusion, at the end of a race. Pure excitement and entertainment, with a lineup of some of our favorite drivers across many disciplines, driving for some of our favorite brands in the best looking cars in motorsport today.

That, my fellow race fans, is what it is all about in my opinion. And I am grateful to be around for the early years of what is clearly the future of motorsport.
Ev (@evman)

…or was it?

It was OK but overall the whole thing felt super-amateurish and nothing about the series really did anything to make me want to continue watching it throughout the season.

Drivers were getting penalties yet there were no graphics for it. there was no graphics showing which drivers were on screen, what team they were driving for or what engine they have. aside from the tower there was no gap information displayed showing who was gaining on the car ahead etc… So much of the basic stuff we get in F1 among other series was nowhere to be found and it made things a bit harder to follow especially given how the commentators didn’t seem to know what was going on either.

The Attack Mode thing is downright terrible, easily one of the most contrived and pointless things I have ever seen in the sport. And the Fanboost is not much better although i’d take it over Attack Mode which as I say is simply terrible.

The cars looked slow which took away a lot of the thrill of watching them, just lacked excitement even if there was an overtake or something going on.

Drivers were playing bumper cars to push guys out the way to get past and it was been hailed as ‘an amazing move’.. what is this, NASCAR?

Not sure I shall be watching the rest of the season if today’s ‘race’ is what the rest are like. Especially this Attack Mode; my goodness that really is truly dreadful.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 15 comments on “Ericsson made a “huge step forward” in 2018 – Vasseur”

    1. Pole Position for COTD goes to… PeterRogers.

      Spot on comment.

      There is a one positive for watching this dreadful exercise in making slow cars driven awkwardly on the worst ‘street’ tracks the marketing mind can devise… it’s only 45 minutes wasted. Once a year. It’s just this one ‘event’, right?

      1. Agreed. Watched to see what the Gen 2 cars looked like in action, but was’t impressed.

        Slow, clumsy circuit with the cars to suit. I’m not saying it doesn’t have potential, but until FanBoost, Attack Mode and the in broadcast ‘music’ go it’s all a bit of a joke.

      2. Ditto – the first CotD seems to have been written by a PR guy…

    2. I didn’t watch the whole race, but I did follow the race for a few laps before Lopez put it in the wall, when I just switched off. But it was very confusing to follow. If you’re not familiar with the liveries, it’s very hard to know who’s who, as Peter says, there’s virtually no graph info. Also, I thought attack mode would be showed like they did on that trailer, with flashing lights on the track or whatever. It was very odd to see cars slowing down to touch a designated piece of tarmac (which twice for Lopez didn’t work, I guess because he wasn’t close enough to the wall).

      The 5 or 6 laps I saw, I had no idea what was happening, where was everyone, why was Vergne and co being penalized or why was Attack Mode not working for Lopez.

      I want to like that series, but it’s very hard for me. Every other race I’ve watched, I didn’t like. I’m yet to be convinced.

    3. I went into the 1st season of Formula E open minded. I understood that there would need to be compromises in terms of performance and things like the car swap due to where the technology was and was excited to see how it evolved and improved.

      I enjoyed the first season for the most part although had my frustrations and had similar feelings with the second. However the final race of season 2 with the Buemi/Di Grassi T1 crash turning the race/title fight into a time trial for the fastest lap that took the focus off the actual race did leave me rather unsatisfied which then carried into season 3 where the frustrations I had during the first 2 seasons continued & grew. By mid season I was starting to lose interest and went from watching races live to watching the Youtube highlights, By Season 4 i’d pretty much lost interest altogether & after a few races just stopped watching altogether.

      I watched yesterday’s race to see how the new cars & regulations played out & for as good as some of the racing was I saw many of the same frustrations I had before were still there with more added (The second COTD brings up many of them).

      I want to like Formula E because the technology interest’s me and I want to see how it develops. However the series as a whole just doesn’t grab me and because of this I just can’t get into it regardless of how good the racing may be.

      Maybe it’s just not for me, I’m certainly getting the feeling that i’m not the target audience & that’s fine. It’s just a shame as it’s a series that I really want to be more into because as I say the technology interest’s me just as all the hybrid stuff in F1 & elsewhere does.

    4. I agree with Vasseur.
      – An interesting interview by Motorsport-Magazine to Dr. Marko. Informative and insightful.
      – Also interesting that Mercedes has put out a video of Lewis’ seat fitting. Something that isn’t too common in F1.

    5. Maybe BBC Sport realize that FE is representation of progressive, the future of human being. And F1 is for dinosaurs, close minded conservative that believed on dying religion, climate change denier, flat earth society alike. :p

      1. Years-old dude… Really intelligent comment – Not…! ;-)

    6. Very insightful interview with Dr Marko (in German).
      e.g. STR will get the full Haas treatment next year.

      1. Is that because James Key left?

    7. Did a quick rewind through the FE race on YouTube, and watched some ten odd laps in total. I was pleasantly surprised that the cars, at times, look a bit faster than the previous ones. Still not fast enough to be interesting, but maybe with Gen3 cars in 5 years time (?) they’ll get there.

      I kind of liked the Attack Zone/mode thingy. Though I have no idea how it works, as the graphics just went purple on some drivers yet nothing seemed to happen on track – I was genuinely expecting more Mario Kart-ish feature with the car gaining 100kW more power for 10 seconds. I would compare this somewhat to rallycross and its joker lap feature, except by doing the joker lap in FE you get a bonus. Fan Boost is still ridiculous.

      I’ll most likely watch some of the races this year, simply because they are easily available online and the cars are better than the previous ones.

    8. Stoffel’s “only slow because the car had a problem” problem has followed him from McLaren?
      Vasseur still hopeful of a nice Christmas present from Ericsson.
      No love lost between Tiff and the Beeb? (ex Top Gear, then Fifth Gear)

    9. I told myself I’d follow formula E this year, though I did enjoy the opening race (as I would most motorsports) for me the biggest problem was simply the track, a problem I’ve had in the few races I’ve watched in previous years, to travel all the way to saudi arabia just to drive on a “street circuit” surrounded by tall metal fences..they could have been anywhere in the world it wouldn’t have looked any different, would be nice to see them drive at a proper venue with f1 standard graphics and in-race info for viewers. There was though strange deep “music” playing during the race which was a real off put, great cars and drivers..but It’s the guys in the background, the organisers and broadcasters that need to step it up, and the fact that vergne..who obviously deserved the victory didn’t win, put a dampener on whole thing

    10. Stephen Higgins
      16th December 2018, 14:08

      FE is a complete load of toot.

      Once hydrogen replaces electricity as a common means of automotive propulsion it’ll be dead as a doornail.

    11. I found Formula E frustrating to watch this race, and this is from someone who enjoyed FE in previous instalments. The main problem, for me, was the wet sand off-line at key parts of the track. That made overtaking very difficult, and reduced the effectiveness of both the natural similarity of cars and the contrivances implemented to increase overtaking.

      The penalties are almost all rooted in failures of settings that should have been fixed before the race but weren’t, due to the rain that prevented representative pre-race running. In F1, such a set-up would cause maximum excitement. Here, it seemed to drain the energy out of the race.

      The architecture of the track made Attack Mode unnecessarily difficult to obtain. Lopez kept missing the first line of the Mode, because it was effectively at the end of a 225-degree sharp bend. If anything, I was surprised it wasn’t missed more often.

      The BBC could have done better at explaining the changes – the video given by FE simply wasn’t adequete to follow what was going on, and even at the end of the race, my family was still struggling with what the different colours of Halo lighting meant. (If anyone knows why some have flashing yellow Halos at the end and some have static yellow ones, please enlighten me…) If the rest of the season is going to be mailed in like this, it will not look good for the BBC, regardless of whether FE works better in a dry race.

      The other failures that have been cited, are ones I’ve come to expect (and, in some cases, usually work to the benefit of the series). The lack of commentator awareness was driven by the deliberate decision on FE’s part to limit data – teams, commentators and spectators are all supposed to get the same information at the same time, to prevent races from being won and lost by hidden data or by extra computation experts nowhere near the track (both of which are part and parcel of F1 and WEC). It usually helps make the racing more interesting at the cost of a near-guaranteed facepalm moment every race. Given that teams already didn’t have enough information to help themselves this time, all the commentators could do was convey the mutual confusion.

      Having earned the technical penalties, all FE could do was issue penalties, and these seemed quite reasonable for the offences involved. Admittedly, I’d have preferred the reason for these penalties to be explained in plain English, but FE’s never been great in this aspect (they couldn’t even do that for Massa’s post-race penalty, when they presumably had time to word it for the benefit of laymen) and is unlikely to change.

      Finally, please could someone tell Jean-Eric Vergne that collecting a Maximum Attack mode* while under technical investigation is a bad idea, unless it’s so close to the end that doing so is effectively compulsory? There’s no point having extra power to do a pit-lane drive-through…

      * – @kaiie, Maximum Attack mode this gives drivers 25 kW more power for 4 minutes, each part/whole minute marked by a purple chevron and a blue countdown given for the last 30 seconds – useful for catching up with the back of packs, or making an otherwise-marginal move viable. It’s surprisingly subtle given the all-singing, all-dancing markup it gets.

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