Michelin Pilot Sport EV durable in Berlin as Formula E stages round 8
Formula E’s eighth round was staged over the weekend at Berlin’s former Tempelhof Airport; an unusual backdrop for a track described by tyre supplier Michelin as one of the most delicate of the season for tyres. The twisty 17-turn, 2.47km course was dusty and dirty early in the day due to the relative lack of traffic, while its concrete slabs were particularly abrasive. The circuit’s width also allowed drivers to run three abreast in places, meaning heavy braking and hard acceleration were a feature of the event. These conditions present an obvious challenge for tyres to which Michelin’s grooved Pilot Sport EV rose.
“The track evolved as the day progressed,” reported Serge Grisin, manager of Michelin’s Formula E programme. “The conditions improved and, although we knew the surface would be tough on tyres, we believed we would be able to contain the phenomenon of wear. And that’s exactly what happened. None of the drivers reported the slightest problem with their tyres and we are delighted to have risen so successfully to what was a sizeable challenge. Not only is the Michelin Pilot Sport EV competitive but it was also designed to be durable and today’s race provided further evidence of its extraordinary versatility.”
In the racing itself, Brazilian Luca di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt) took the chequered flag, only to be excluded by an FIA decision hours after the race; di Grassi’s his car failed post-race scrutiny, where it was discovered that the front wing fairings had been modified to include internal metal reinforcing rods. Jérôme d’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) was thus gifted the win, with Sebastién Buemi second and Loïc Duval (Dragon Racing) third.
The Pilot Sport EV has an interior diameter of 18 inches, making it comparable with those used by road cars – a feature for which Michelin has expressed a strong preference in motorsport. The French manufacturer argues that using this size will facilitate and speed up the carry-over of technology from the race track to the street. Formula E is the first FIA-sanctioned single-seater racing series to use tyres of this size.
Michelin is also keen on the necessity of longevity in Formula E tyre supply; drivers are authorised to use only a single set of tyres for free practice, qualifying and the race itself. Permitted spares are carried over from the previous race to minimise the number of tyres that need to be made and shipped.
The next round of the 2014/2015 Formula E Championship will take teams to Moscow, Russia, on 6 June.