Extreme E founder and former Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag says that the offroad racing series’ format will be discussed with teams and drivers ahead of the next X-Prix at Lac Rose, Senegal, with power modes and the structure of the weekend open to being talked about, as the series grows and develops.
The dust has barely settled on today’s Desert X-Prix in the dunes of Al Ula, Saudi Arabia but Alejandro said in a press conference after the event that there had been discussions on whether to go ahead with three-car racing for the semi-final and final events up to as late as last night: “I had people who know a lot about the about racing telling me it’s better to do the time trials, some other people saying to do the race, I had to make a call.
“The 20 or 30 seconds we saw after the start were motorsport gold.” He said, defending the decision to go ahead with the format, “Those are the moments that really final version glory winning one second, you don’t need an hour to win glory, you can win glory in a second and Kristoffersson, today, won glory and even if I prefer time trials, I guarantee you, he’s for sure happier and more proud with a victory like the one he had to make, what he had to go for it and risk his car.”
There were definitely issues, though – those ’20 to 30 seconds’ Alejandro mentioned, at the start of the race, were quickly neutralised into a spread out order as drivers found themselves blinded by enormous dust wakes. Alejandro said that this would be looked at, in Senegal, when the series is also racing on sand.
“[For the] Sunday three car race, we will go to Senegal and really check the dust level there.” He explained, “We came here a few months ago and the temperature has since changed a lot here. The temperature has changed less in Senegal. We’re going to check with SUVs and see what the level of dust is and then we’ll take some decisions. I want to listen, again, to as many people as I can like I did yesterday. Definitely there will be some tweaks, but I think the three car race they was was the right call.”
Another adjustment that had to be made was that the power level of cars was turned down slightly between the Saturday qualifying sessions and today’s race. That wasn’t a limitation of the course but over concerns at how long it was taking to cool down batteries for charging; in the extremes of the desert, teams don’t have as much resources available to them as even in the temporary garages of a series like Formula E, so battery supplier Williams were concerned about reaching critical temperatures.
Alejandro said that would also be looked into before the Ocean X-Prix, “We did reduce the power a little bit from the first day to a second day, but that was more due to battery temperature questions and the time that they [the batteries] take to cool.
“We are working with Williams on on trying to reduce that time and then maybe we can go at higher power. I also want to speak with the drivers and see what they think of the different power levels; if going at higher power, makes it more exciting or not. If we get good racing with the power we have now, then maybe there’s no need to bring it up. But I think this is something that we need to discuss as a group and see what would be the best way.”