Andretti Formula E team principal Roger Griffiths has stated he expects his team to hit the ground running in the season-two opener in Beijing next month.
The team had a troubled pre-season with the self-developed AT-01 powertrain and had to switch back the proven season-one technical package during the final pre-season test at Donington last month.
"I expect that from the first few races until the Christmas break we should be able to accrue some serious points with the season-one powertrain,” Griffiths told motorsport.com. “I think that what will happen with some of the season-two manufacturer teams is that they’ll be quick and the performance will be there but the reliability might not be.
"But once the manufacturer testing is freed up again [in January 2016], those teams should be able to get on top of any issues and then the real acceleration of performance will come on stream for the second half of the season.”
Formula E remains a power-limited formula, with no more than the 200kW allowed to be produced in qualifying and 170kW in the race for brief periods. As such, the emphasis for season two is likely to be on efficiency.
“You won’t see massive performance gains of course but you will see who has maximised the efficiency the best,” stated Griffiths. “The decision we took to revert to season one was a practical decision and with the McLaren powertrain a proven entity we can look forward to accruing some big points in the first three races.”
Andretti has previously confirmed former Formula 1 tester Robin Frijns and IndyCar podium finisher Simona de Silvestro as the season-two line-up.
AT-01 development continues
Despite the pre-season struggles, Andretti has reaffirmed a strong commitment to its self-developed AT-01 powertrain.
Griffiths confirmed that development testing on the powertraim will continue in order for a re-introduction of the concept in the 2016-17 season three.
"We are on it now in terms of the fixes, and come January, we will restart track testing the AT-01 again, that is the plan,” said Griffiths. “Had we had one extra month, then I think we would be racing our powertrain in Beijing.
"The development is continuing now and we have spent time reviewing what we had, what was working well and what wasn’t working well. We’ve reviewed it from a much higher level rather than dealing with issues when they came at you thick and fast, which is what happened in August.”
Andretti essentially ran out of time to bed-in the AT-01, as the Formula E cars had to be shipped and then transported by train to Beijing at the end of August.
Since then Griffiths has led his team in identifying areas of the motors, inverter, gearbox and cooling that could be changed ahead of a return to the track when testing is allowed again next January.
“From the reviews we have taken recently, the fact is that we now know which areas are needed to be developed,“ said Griffiths. “At the same time we have to realise that our competitors have their powertrains running, and soon they will start on season-three developments. So we have to be doing that soon, too.
"We will start treating the work now as season-three developments, so there is a lot of activity going on at present.”
Griffiths confirmed that technical partners TE Connectivity and Houston Mechatronics will continue to be fully involved in the engineering.
“They are on-board and it is a multi-year agreement we have with them,” he said. “They came to us later in the initial development, but over the next few months there will be a lot going on with our partners,
“The motivation and commitment is there and we are making the necessary changes to ensure we have a good product to go track testing with in January and beyond."