Dragon Racing is becoming a manufacturer entry in Formula E because it feels it is the only way to ensure it remains competitive in the championship.
The Jay Penske-owned American team finished second in the inaugural teams’ championship when Formula E was a spec series. It struck a deal with Venturi to use a VM200-FE-01 powertrain for season two and is currently third in the teams’ standings, five places and 36 points clear of its supplier.
Managing director Oriol Servia said Dragon is taking on the responsibility of its own motor, gearbox, inverter and cooling system so it can continue to give bigger operations “a run for their money”.
“The main reason we wanted to do it was so we could be in contention for the championship, drivers’ and teams’,” said Servia. “This year the package we have with Venturi is working well but at the end of the day you don’t have complete freedom on what you want to do. They have to supply the same hardware but software, they can continue to have an evolution and they are not forced to give us that.
“Software is huge in this championship because it’s how you manage the battery management and the power control. We’re very limited with what we can do there.
“You almost have to be a manufacturer, not tied to someone else that is not just someone from the outside – it’s another team that’s trying to beat you every Saturday.”
Servia said the team was “very close” to finalising the form of its new powertrain, which he believes Dragon would not be doing if so-called manufacturer entries were building parts themselves.
“The reason last year we didn’t apply is we’re not a car manufacturer, we’re a race team,” he said. “We’re good at optimizing a package. But the truth is nobody is really going into their garage and building an electric motor. You have to go to people who have been doing it for years. You work together with suppliers, tell them what you want and hopefully they do it for you and you package it together.
“It’s part of the beauty of it and it’s what allows us to be a ‘manufacturer’ – we can look and decide the best package we want.”