The 32 years old Maro Engel is the resident VENTURI Formula E driver and a long term resident in the Principality.
Maro Engel was born in Munich, Germany however he lives in the Principality of Monaco since his childhood. He is a long-time Mercedes-AMG works driver and he is a resident racing driver of the VENTURI Formula E Team.
Monaco Wealth Management had the great opportunity to talk with Engel about the secrets of the Formula E.
As a professional racing driver how would you describe the Formula E race series?
It is a highly competitive and complex series because unlike other race series Formula E is not just about the lap time. The race car is an electric car and for this reason the drivers need to focus on saving energy as well in order to finish the race.
So is this requires different driving skills?
Absolutely. First of all the drivers have immediate torque which is a huge difference compare to a petrol engine. However an electric race car requires a smart driving because you need to focus on regenerating the energy. You need to be also very careful not to overload the car because the surface of the tires can be damaged.
Do you need to consider the air temperature as well?
Interestingly we can drive much faster in the cold. Lower air temperature degrees are more favourable conditions for the energy batteries inside the car.
How was your practice for the Berlin e-Prix?
I believe we did a great job with the VENTURI Formula E Team. In general four weeks before the actual race locations we always receive the full parameters of the race track, therefore all the teams have the possibility to start the test of the settings on a simulator.
Did you practice in rainy weather conditions as well?
We practiced a lot the wet circuit on the simulator, but until today we never had any Formula E race in rainy conditions.
Do you have any routine before the races?
No. Nothing at all.
You said it is a competitive series.
Yes, I honestly believe that many Formula One drivers would struggle at the beginning with the Formula E cars. It is not just about being fast, but also about to take care of your battery and your tires in the same time.
So Formula E series is a very high level competition.
Absolutely. You can see among the drivers that many former Formula One drivers came to the Formula E series. We have a very strong competition. It is great to see how this series is becoming more and more competitive every year.
What do you think about the Monaco track? Recently Jean Todt stated that he is unconvinced about full Monaco Grand Prix layout for the Formula E electric race.
I respectfully disagree. I believe that the reduced, small track was a bit tight for the Formula E series, however the full Monaco Grand Prix layout is a perfect fit for the Formula E racing.
What do you think about the Berlin race track?
It is definitely an interesting circuit. One that is probably not so difficult for me as it is relatively wide. We are confident that we can have a quick here… we need to try to get the most out of everything.
What is your prediction for the 2018 Berlin e-Prix?
Hopefully both VENTURI cars will finish in the top ten. From my perspective my aim is like a top 5.
In private life do you drive an electric car?
No. (laughs) Beside VENTURI Formula E Team I am also a Mercedes-AMG works driver and for this reason I drive an AMG. However I believe that the ideal car is a hybrid because it can combine the very best of both worlds.
As a long term resident in Monaco what do you think about the country?
I was born in Munich, Germany but basically I grew up in the Principality. This is my home, the place where I live with the love of my life, my beautiful wife. I simply love Monaco.
The soon to be father Engel seemed to be very committed and it was great to see his passion towards the Principality of Monaco as well.
Compare to the high expectation after his 4th place at the Paris e-Prix (picking up 12 points to the VENTURI Formula E Team) Engel performed a bit poorly on the first practice session finishing only 18th of the 20 cars. His best lap time was 1:11.326 which was +1.629 slower than the leader Nick Heidfeld.
Before anyone would say that the statement of “performed a bit poorly” is mean it is good to know that Engel posted the fastest lap of the race last year. So seeing him struggle on the 18th grid was a negative surprise however everyone was confident in him and we knew that despite this bad start he will prove himself.
During the two practice sessions, work focused primarily on the brakes, since deceleration is particularly important on the Berlin track. Although it took some time to perfect optimal braking, overall vehicle balance was achieved quickly. The team also monitored wear on the tyres very closely during the morning sessions: the surface at the former Tempelhof airport causes premature damage.
It was good to see that during practice two Engel started to improve and he made a 1:10.332 lap time which was good for the 14th position.
In the qualification he improved further and reached a lap time of 1:10.248. He finished on the 13th position right after his team mate Dillmann.
Seeing him stepping out of his car at the VENTURI box it was sure that he is not happy. His result was far away from his prediction.
Berlin e-Prix 2018
By the start of the 2018 Berlin e-Prix there was a completely changed Maro Engel in the VENTURI Formula E car. He was focused an determined.
On the starting grid the two VENTURI cars started head to head from the 12nd place for Dillmann and the 13th for Engel.
Right after the green lights — driving in front of his home crowd — Engel started to climb up on the chart by immediately overlooking his team driver Dillmann. But it was not enough for Engel and by the end of the second lap he already climbed up 4 positions(!) being the 9th in the race. What a great and ambitious driver.
For a moment Dillmann also tried to catch up with him, but Engel proved himself better in the 2 laps long battle of the VENTURIs.
At half time, just before the car change Engel’s car had only 2% of battery level and many of the spectators talked about whether he can make it to the box or not. He did it.
After changing cars there was no stop for Engel and he climbed towards to the 8th position.
During the last part of the race Engel maintained his position and reached the chequered flag in 8th place, securing another 4 points for the VENTURI Formula E Team. Well done.
It was a good race. The battle to get up to eighth place from thirteenth was intense. As always when there’s a lot of overtaking, you need to keep an eye on energy consumption. That went well from start to finish. The car performed admirably, aside from a few niggles with the energy regeneration controls. I’m thrilled to have chalked up some more points.
After the race the President and owner of VENTURI Formula E Team, Mr Gildo Pallanca Pastor stated in a very brief way:
Maro managed his two runs well.
We felt that the team expected an another glorious 4th place just as it happened in Paris. However it was a great race and an exceptional effort from Engel. As he stated in our interview it is a race series packed with Former Formula E drivers so finishing 8th in this group of elite pilots is spectacular.
The truth is that despite a terrible first practice Engel never lost his coolness and he came up to the 8th place from the 13th which is a respectable results from a highly skilful driver. Such skills proves that there are a lot of potential is Engel.
Obviously there were spaces to improve, but overall it was a fantastic race and a good result for VENTURI.
The next race will be in Zurich (Switzerland) on 10 June 2018 for the tenth event of the championship. We are confident that spectators will see a very focused VENTURI Formula E time with a superb result.
Read our complete Berlin e-Prix reportage:
- Exclusive weekend with Monaco’s VENTURI Formula E Team
- Trackside with Gildo Pallanca Pastor
- Michael Benyahia – The new generation of race drivers
- Maro Engel: Monaco’s very own race driver
- Tom Dillmann: Sometimes one chance is all we need
For more information about VENTURI please visit: http://www.venturi.com
Tags: ABB Formula E, Berlin, Berlin ePrix, Formula E, Gen2 car, Gildo Pallanca Pastor, Gildo PASTOR, interview, Jean Todt, Maro Engel, Mercedes-AMG, Monaco, Monaco resident, Monaco track, Monagasque team, race, racing, Venturi, Venturi Automobiles, Venturi Formula E Team