The Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team are preparing for race start at full speed, most recently with the completion of pre-season testing in Valencia earlier this month. As they prepare to return to the track in Santiago next month, we looked to a Vestas colleague for some insight on the preparation that goes into putting on a motorsport event.
On the job, David Jankowski works as a Service Technician for Vestas in Germany. During his vacation time this summer, he worked as a Scrutineer at Formula E’s final Season 6 races in Berlin, running technical checks on the race cars and ensuring FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile, the governing body behind Formula E) safety and sportsmanship standards are upheld.
Scrutineers at the racetrack are each assigned to specific Formula E teams, who they support and perform technical checks on during the race period. This entails ensuring that all members of the team follow closed-park regulations, including that only authorised personnel come in contact with the race cars, that drivers follow safety attire protocol, and more. During the last two days of racing in Berlin, he also supported in the official FIA box with technical tasks such as registering the weight of race cars, measuring nitrogen content in the tyres, and ensuring race cars aren’t tampered with.
The test is in the technical details
Although servicing wind turbines and inspecting race cars are vastly different, David’s technical background from Vestas gave him an extra edge when inspecting the intricacies of a car.
“Working on a wind turbine every day definitely helped me understand the functions of a race car,” he says. “The job is also all about organising and planning, which you learn at Vestas very well, but also about being flexible and able to react to changes, such as weather, quickly but safely. That is key in my job at Vestas and also as a scrutineer.”
The influence that track conditions can have on a race also bore striking similarities to David’s daily work in Service.
“On hot days, like we saw in Berlin, all eyes are on the cooling systems of the race cars, and the teams’ race strategists frequently examine the track temperatures to ensure the right tyre pressure is selected,” David says. “This is almost very similar to our pitch (nitrogen) accumulators in wind turbines and how much they are filled.”
But beyond the machinery, there is also a human aspect to take into account. In intense weather conditions, both Formula E drivers and technical staff must prioritise staying hydrated, and keeping an eye on the weather forecast.
“These focus areas are the same for us in Service,” David points out. “We always need to stay hydrated up in a turbine – even in Germany, the temperature inside a nacelle can reach 40-45 degrees. And like on track, we also always have to keep the weather in focus and make sure we’re not up in the turbine when a thunderstorm shows up.”
Powered by passion and collaboration
Whilst working as a Scrutineer, David also got the chance to meet several members of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team and share some #PoweredbyVestas vibes with them. Across all teams, he was impressed by the level of effort that goes into the preparation for a race.
“All the work that a team does isn’t limited to racing. All races are different, and the teams have to prepare their whole setup from scratch in a new city for each race,” he says. “It is a lot of hard, dedicated work from a lot of passionate people – and as in Vestas, it is all about collaboration.”
*Pitch accumulators are pressure storage containers installed in the hub of a turbine. They act as an emergency brake system during extreme weather conditions by adjusting the blades into a safe position to protect the turbine.