Sport Heidfeld hoping for Paris podium

20:10  19 may  2017
20:10  19 may  2017 Source:   Read Sport

Bird aiming to bounce back in Paris

  Bird aiming to bounce back in Paris DS Virgin’s Sam Bird is confident he can run well in Paris after a disappointing Monaco weekend. Bird finished the Monaco ePrix eight laps behind the leaders after early contact with the wall damaged his suspension. The Brit took a point for the fastest lap, but it was a disappoint result after a podium in Mexico. “I’ve had an up and down season so far,” Bird told Read Motorsport. “The car is better, but our understanding of the tyre is a slight weak point.” Up and down is exactly how Bird’s season has been. After a disappointing season opener, Bird took a podium in Marakkesh. That was followed by a retirement, another podium, and another retirement. If patterns mean anything, he should be on for another strong race this weekend. The tyre played a key part in last season’s Paris ePrix. The cold temperatures saw many teams struggle. With new tyres this year and different temperatures, nobody’s certain what to expect, but Bird believes the work the team have done since Paris has given him the best preparation. “I think we have done some good work in between Monaco and Paris,” he said. “I think our run plan here will be better than it was in Monaco. “We’ll see [if we can get the tyres to work]. I think we’ll know in whatever group I’m in in quali and the aim is to obviously try and put it on pole again this year like last year, and then we’ll see.

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2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship. © Handout/Getty Images Sport 2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship.

Nick Heidfeld is hoping to challenge points leaders Renault e.dams in Paris.

The Mahindra driver recovered from two back-to-back pointless races to take third in Monaco, and hopes Paris will produce another podium.

“What is interesting for us and most other teams is that Renault struggled a bit more here last season than anywhere else,” Heidfeld told Read Motorsport. “So hopefully we have a chance to fight them and go for a podium here.”

Mahindra is currently third in the championship and, having taken more podiums than any other team besides Abt Audi Sport and Renault, seems best placed if either of the top teams run into trouble. But Renault wasn’t the only team to struggle in Paris last year.

“Last year, some teams have more problems here to heat up the tyres,” Heidfeld said. “Unfortunately we were among those, so I hope that we understood and improved a bit.”

The warmer temperatures and new tyres mean nobody knows for sure how the tyres will act, but it’s a factor many drivers believe .

Heidfeld: Third is where we belong but we can't relax .
Formula E fans have become used to seeing Mahindra on the podium this season. The team has taken four third place finishes so far this year, and is currently third in the teams’ championship, but Nick Heidfeld doesn’t think it can take that position for granted. “Before [Monaco], we were fifth position or sixth position in the constructors’ championship, but we’ve been unlucky in Mexico and Buenos Aires,” he told Read Motorsport. “Now we’re in the third position. I think it’s more where we belong, but it’s quite a tough fight, and we hope to stay in the top three. “Just because we have had two podiums [in a row] now, it doesn’t mean we can relax and say it will always happen like this.” Felix Rosenqvist is confident the team can take a win this season, if he can tackle his qualifying problems. Heidfeld is a little more cautious. The jump in results compared to season two didn’t come as a surprise to the German. He told Read that Mahindra had been planning ahead when he joined the team, but it will need a little luck to challenge Renault e.dams for the win. “When I joined, I knew that the team had big plans for season three that they didn’t manage in time for season two,” he said. “So I expected the team to make a bigger jump and it panned out exactly how we hoped. “Mahindra changed a lot of parts on the drive train side and the results show that. Even during the season when we are not allowed to develop a lot of things we still try to find – and I think we did find – some small improvements that bring us closer to the front guys. “To beat the e.dams will be difficult but I think it’s not impossible because we’ve seen here or there that they were not the strongest. So if we have a fantastic weekend, everything goes perfect, and they struggle a little bit, a win is not off the cards. But I think we cannot go into the next race and think ‘we can easily win’.

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