FE: BMW i-Andretti Drivers support closed door races – for now

Closed door events are being cited across every sport as the quickest way of getting back up and running after Coronavirus. 

BMW i-Andretti drivers Alexander Sims and Max Gunther both are in favour of closed door races to get up and running but also regret the fact that fans cannot enjoy the return of Formula E racing.

“As the alternative to racing without spectators or on permanent racetracks seems to be not to race at all anymore, I am sure that any racing driver will be in favour of giving that a go.” said Sims.

“In the current situation, it is vital to be able to guarantee a safe way of doing things. Permanent racetracks can also help in that regard. Let’s just hope that this is only a temporary solution and that we can gradually return to the normal Formula E races we all love – in big cities and in front of thousands of spectators.”

Max Gunther, BMW, at the Hong Kong Stay at Home E-Prix © BMW Motorsport, FIA Formula E

Gunther agreed: “I think it is fantastic to drive in front of as many fans as possible at the racetrack. That is what it is ultimately all about – to travel to the fans in the various cities and to put on a great show for them.

“Unfortunately, Formula E races as we know and love them are unrealistic at the moment. As such, I support the idea of both races behind closed doors and on permanent racetracks.”

Sims and Gunther are third and fourth respectively in the Season 6 championship and BMW is second in the teams standings but they think there could be more.

“To be honest, it could have been even better. The opening weekend in Diriyah was fantastic for me, with two pole positions and the win on the Saturday.” said Sims.

“That was partly because the car was fantastic, and partly because I was more experienced coming into my second season, and was able to use that experience to my advantage. After that, the car was always strong, but we definitely missed out on some possible points in Santiago and Marrakesh.”

Gunther’s success is even more admirable after having a sporadic season for Dragon last year despite being very fast. He puts it down to a strong relationship with the team. “Although I was new to the team, things were already going well by the tests, at which I set the fastest time.

“The team and I were immediately on the same wavelength. In particular, the communication with my engineers has been superb from the word go – something that you cannot take for granted when you are new to a team.”

Max Gunther celebrates his win in Santiago © FIA Formula E

Gunther has won the first round of the Formula E stay at home Esports championship and has really burst onto the sim racing scene showing significant pace in The Race esports events as well.

“I have always been good at adapting quickly to new circumstances. That obviously helps hugely when, as I did, you only started sim racing a few weeks ago.” he said.

“You could see in the test round and the opening race that all the Formula E drivers initially took some time to suss out the limit of the simulation. I think we will all improve from race to race in that regard. As such, I believe the races will also be closer.”

The next round on Saturday will be at the Formula E Test Track.

“I have never driven there before, but I do know the layout. It looks fast. I will stick with my approach: to get the maximum out of every race I compete in. If that is a win, as it was most recently, that is excellent.” said Gunther.

Sims is the first to admit he has not been as succesful in sim racing as he has been in real life but did finish in the points in the Hong Kong race.

Alexander Sims, BMW, at the Hong Kong Stay at Home E-Prix © BMW Motorsport, FIA Formula E

“Sim racing is completely new territory for me. As such, I have gone into the races with relatively low expectations. However, it is great fun to dip into the virtual world and get a little of that competitive feeling, which is otherwise missing at the moment.

“I am not sure whether I might by chance have driven on the track with my son – but I may well be mistaken. It went very well for me in Hong Kong – I would like to back that up now.”

The next round of the Formula E race at home series is on Saturday at 15:30 BST.