Preston: 2015 win due to tech and talent

Aguri Team Principal, Mark Preston, reflects on their first Formula E win and how it all came together in the hot Buenos Aires sun in 2015.

In an interview with fiaformulae.com, Preston said they always prided themselves on doing things differently at Super Aguri.

“The first season was an amazing journey for a start-up such as ours, built from a core group of the Super Aguri F1 Team which had competed with its own sense of innovation and daring in earlier Formula 1 years.

“We always prided ourselves on doing things differently at Super Aguri; we took a five-year-old car and transformed it into something special in just 100 days, eventually ending up seventh fastest in practice at the last race of the season in Brazil.

“In Formula E, we made a bold decision to run the season one power train because we were confident in our calculations about where and when to use our resources.

“Antonio had not had much pre-season practice with the team in season one due to pre-organised testing with Red Bull Racing in F1, while he had to miss the first race because of a clash with DTM. This meant that there were flashes of brilliance but we had not been able to hook up a complete race weekend before the first in-season test in Punta del Este,” said Preston.

“The test in Punta just before Christmas was the first time that the team had everything in place to run a full test with Antonio and the new driver Salvador Duran. The test finished with Antonio running consistently in the top five, which gave us a good feeling of preparation ahead of the first race of 2015.

“Buenos Aires is such a great location for a race! The city boasts passionate motorsports fans and a beautiful backdrop thanks to the classical architecture of the city.

“The high temperatures meant that all the teams were struggling to maintain car core temperature, which will again be the challenge in the season two race here.

“With Antonio in high spirits after the Punta test, he approached qualifying happy that our increased performance and race proven energy management would get us on the podium: anything from seventh would be fine!

“Settling for eighth, he was still confident that the track, temperatures and the topsy-turvy nature of the Formula E races thus far, as well as his proven race craft, would provide a great opportunity for a big result.

“As we watched the race with increasing levels of tension, Antonio continued to climb the ladder and with one of the fastest pit stops we had done up until that point in the season he was well on his way to the podium.

“There was an element of luck in the win but I have always found the old adage that luck only happens to those who are prepared delivered on the day.

“All the hard work that the team had done to get us up and running was rewarded in one incredible day of racing. ¬†It’s hard to describe the relief when a strategy, not only in the race, but in all the months leading up to the event comes together. ¬†Probably the closest thing to this win for me was when an opportunity arose in the Canadian Grand Prix of 2007 when Takuma Sato passed my old team mates at McLaren to bring home our highest points finish at Super Aguri in F1.

“And so to 2016, a new year which is turning out to be just as exciting as season one!
With our performance in Putrajaya giving us fourth, we proved that with good engineering and a great driver it is possible to fight for a win. As always racing sometimes throws you a curve ball and whilst running in second place the central control system twice shut down on Antonio’s car. He managed to get it back up to sixth in the last laps of the race.

“A similarly successful Punta del Este race and subsequent test, where we finished fifth fastest, means we arrive in Buenos Aires similarly buoyed by preparation and opportunity that it should again supply in abundance. The track is similar to Putrajaya in respect to ambient temperature and its twisty nature which means that given a good practice and qualifying we should put on a good show for our fans,” he concluded.

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