Formula E drivers are expecting tyre wear to play a huge role in the Berlin E-Prix on Saturday.
Due to the track having a concrete surface compared to the typical asphalt street circuits, Berlin has seen much higher tyre degradation compared to other cities.
However, in the four races that Formula E has held at the Tempelhof Airport, the drivers have had to switch cars, and therefore switch tyres, which made tyre degradation less critical in the race.
Now that the batteries can last the whole race in season five, the tyres will have the last the entire race too, which season four champion, Lucas Di Grassi is expecting a lot of tyre degradation towards the end of the race.
“It will be one of the first times we have to look after the tyres,” said Di Grassi. “Obviously in the past, we had two cars, so we only did half of the race with the same tyres. Now with one car, there will be a lot of tyre wear, which will make the race extremely difficult towards the end, but it could be rewarding if you get it right.”
Reigning champion Jean-Éric Vergne believes that managing the tyres will be just as hard as the managing energy management in the race.
“Tyres will play a factor in the race,” said Vergne. “Energy management will be tough too, which will make it the most difficult race in Formula E this season.”
Vergne’s team-mate Andre Lotterer feels that the high air temperatures in Berlin this weekend will also make tyre degradation a huge factor in the outcome of the race.
“We need to try and control that. It is a very aggressive track on the tyres and if it’s hot even worse,” said Lotterer. “It will be a very technical track and important to learn very well today to prepare to tomorrow.”
Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird also had concerns about how the teams will manage the tyre pressures during the event.
The series has seen a number of penalties this season for tyre pressure infringements, and Berlin could catch more teams out.
“I think for me the focus is not so much deg, but on tyre pressures,” said Bird. “The way that it’s controlled the way that people get around the minimum and maximum. That’s the difference between sometimes being at the front, being middle or at the rear of the field.”