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Olivier Champenois: keeping an ear out.

Thoughts of New York

A few days have passed since the event in New York and now I feel significantly better. The time shift and the travel left me slightly more winded than before. We all know what it’s like: Sometimes an event is more taxing, sometimes not so much. My days in New York were busy as usual. Though I didn’t see much of the city privately, it was still nice to be there. At least I got glimpses of it on the way to the track. What I noticed was that there are still restrictions due to the Corona pandemic, but all in all New York is on a good track.

Everything considered, I felt better there than during the race in Puebla despite having less sleep. I even handled the heat quite well. Though it did bother me, it wasn’t quite as much as I expected. After all, it was at a constant 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) – occasionally cooling down a little due to some rain, but that was only a short relief.


My advantage was being familiar with the track since I’ve looked at it 2 years ago during the preparations back then. And it hasn’t changed much since: It still is special and has a certain atmosphere. It’s unusual to race in a city like New York. And different from the classic, permanent racetrack.

Listen closely, language crosses barriers.

Throughout the entire time, I had the feeling that the team had a good amount of confidence. We felt great and gave off that energy. Even in those moments when things didn’t go according to plan.

During the first race, for example: Pascal made a small mistake with profound effects after a strong qualifying. While trying to activate the Attack Mode, he missed the braking point, resulting in a collision. He was forced to end the race due to a broken suspension. After Pascal dropped out, I could focus fully on André – usually I have to focus on both vehicles. He was fast on the track and due to the heat, we had to keep an eye on the battery temperature.


We did that well. I saw that Buemi was racing directly in front of us and I knew that French was being spoken on their radio. So, I could perfectly understand what they were talking about and decided to listen a bit closer. That’s how I gained insights from the opposing vehicle.


On day 2, we had both vehicles close to each other, which can be a strategic advantage. At the same time, you have to make sure you don’t make any mistakes and in the worst case, lose both vehicles. But in the end, we got a good result as both vehicles got into the top 10 and collected important points.

All in all, I have the impression we did a good job as a team through the weekend. Even though we’re quite self-critical: Each and every one of us has to make decisions in seconds. Even if we managed that quite well overall, you always try to understand how we could have done better and use your learnings for future events. But in general, I’m satisfied with the results from the weekend. We’ll go from there. After all: London is ahead of us, the preparations are in full swing.


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