Jaguar TCS Racing driver Sam Bird will enter the Hyderabad E-Prix as the only driver to claim four wins in Asia, and the previous new city that hosted Formula E saw Jaguar’s Mitch Evans win the race. With both drivers gunning for glory in India’s maiden Formula E World Championship, team principal James Barclay doesn’t want complacency to set in and is aware of the challenges the new circuit will pose.
“We have two amazing drivers in Mitch and Sam and Mitch to me is the standout driver in the last two years. He has fought for the championship in the two years and narrowly just lost out on the championship. He is a phenomenal driver and has got great skills. He has been with us since the first day and he was the first driver that we signed as a team. Overall we are well prepared but there is no scope for complacency,” Barclay told Sportstar.
“Pressure is a privilege, and I believe in the theory that pressure makes diamonds. We love the big stage with all the fans there, with the spotlight on Championship. The bigger the moment, the better it is for us,” he added.
‘Adapting quickly to the fastest circuit’
Jaguar enters Round four of the championship as fifth in teams’ standings after a podium finish and recording the fastest lap in the Diriyah double-header. The 2.83km Hyderabad street circuit comprising 32 laps is one of the fastest in the world and Barclay said that adapting to the track will be a challenge for his team.
“The key factor to a new track is adapting quickly and when we roll out for free Practice 1, we need to see that our simulation is accurate and is matching to new-look track. If it is not the case, you have to adapt quickly and find a way to deal with the track. Another factor will be the weather and temperature will play a role as in 35 degrees and above we need to manage the tyres, control their temperature and take into consideration other factors also. We are equipped and have to take quick decisions,” Barclay said.
Teams racing in Formula E don’t have much time for preparedness as the race and qualification happen on the same day. The team principal acknowledged the fact that teams do race against time but that’s the challenge that Formula E poses. In the Hyderabad E-Prix, the free Practice 1 is scheduled to take place on Friday from 16:00-17:00 followed by Practice 2 on Saturday scheduled from 8:10-8:40. The Qualifying is slated to be held from 10:40-12:05 followed by the race starting at 15:00 (All Timings IST).
“In a one-day format honestly speaking we don’t have much time and have just two practice sessions within an hour of running and that’s where the simulation preparations are going to be really important. But that’s what makes Formula E unique as the teams that adapt quickly have an advantage.”
The Jaguar I-TYPE 6 cars will be making its debut in Hyderabad and Barclay is confident the new car will deliver the goods.
“Racing in the street circuits will be challenging as the tracks are not smooth like Formula One. The street circuits will have bumps, and curves and taking all these into consideration we have designed our cars specifically for street circuits and our team is ready for the race.”
Barclay was appointed team director for Jaguar’s Formula E programme in November 2015 and he has overseen the team’s operations for the Formula E World Championship. Under him, Jaguar secured its first Formula E win at Rome during the 2019 E-Prix.
“It has been a positive start to the year where we won races and if you look at our performance, we scored points and we have more Jaguars in the top 10 rankings than anybody else. Generally speaking, we had good performance from our car and package and as a team, we had our first podium in Saudi Arabia. The core foundations like the car, the driver, the team is in place and now we will turn that foundation into results,” he said.