Yesterday I got an interesting email message from Dan Allven. Readers of this website will recognize Dan Allven as the owner/driver of the cars that I navigated in during the last two Rallye Monte Carlo Historique events. Dan lives in Monaco which hosted a Formula E race last weekend. Dan had the opportunity to visit the pit and the grid during the race, to see the operation and the race from an inside view and found it to be quite interesting! Dan sent me the photos used in this post.
It turns out that a fellow who lives in the same building as Dan is the Manager of one of the Formula E teams. The fellow who is the manager of the Formula E team is Jacky Eeckelaert and he has been in racing all his life. He knew of Dan’s interest in cars from their casual discussions and he was able to provide Dan with the needed passes for the race.
The Formula E team that Jacky works for is owned by Jay Penske, Roger’s son and the main sponsor is Faraday of Penske’s team, Dragon Racing.
Jacky Eeckelaert On The Monaco Formula E Grid
Jacky Eeckelaert has had quite an interesting career around racing which I found on Wikipedia, much of which I copied for this post. After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree he spent four years working in Ford’s engine development department, before becoming head of the technical department of Champion’s European wing.
During this time he also competed as a racing driver, competing for privateer teams in Formula Ford and Formula Three. In 1985 he left Champion to become Team Manager of the Keerbergs Transport Racing team, which competed in the German and French F3 series. He moved to the DAMS International Formula 3000 team in 1991 and then to the Danielson team, which ran Peugeot 905 sports cars, a year later.
In 1994, Eeckelaert moved directly into the employ of Peugeot Sport, successfully overseeing the marque’s championship campaign in that year’s French Supertouring Championship with Laurent Aïello. For 1995, he was placed in charge of Peugeot’s Formula One engine testing programme, in which capacity he liaised between the Jordan team and the Peugeot headquarters. For the 1998 season, Peugeot switched to supplying the Prost team, and Eeckelaert joined the outfit as its Chief Engineer, although his role was downgraded to cover only the test team the following year. At the end of 1999, he was offered a similar role at the Sauber team and two years later returned to the Grands Prix as Kimi Räikkönen’s race engineer. In 2002, he was appointed the team’s Head of Track Engineering.
He moved to the Honda team in 2006 as Chief Engineer in the Advanced Research programme. In 2007, he was promoted to Engineering Director, after predecessor Mark Ellis moved to sister team Super Aguri. Eeckelaert himself then moved to Super Aguri, only for the team to shut down after running out money part-way through the 2008 season. After spending a year in sports cars, he returned to F1 in 2010 with the new HRT team, and was placed in charge of the team’s 2012 car. The Hispania F112 was the first F1 car over which Eeckelaert had chief responsibility to design. Before the new car was launched, however, he left the team to work for former Hispania team principal Colin Kolles’s sports car team, which was running Lotus-badged LMP2 cars in the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
In November 2012 Eeckelaert moved to the German DTM team Abt Sportsline, where he worked as Technical Director. He now works with the Penske Formula E team.
These Are Serious Race Cars
Interest in Formula E seems to be growing. And given the general increase in the acceptability and desirability of electric cars, it seems to me that interest in Formula E will continue to increase. A number of well-known racers and race teams are part of the Formula E world. Some of the drivers are Buemi, Di Grassi, Heidfeld, Piquet Jr., and Vergne. Owners include Penske, Renault, Andretti and ABt Audi. These are all serious racing people.
The Race Track Through Monaco Is Not Wide
Clearly the Formula E event is not the Formula 1 event, but time might prove the Formula E more enduring. However any street race through Monaco is still a prestigious event.
The Driver’s Parade Before The Race
As far as the race went, the Penske team didn´t have any luck and ended at the back of the pack due to different problems with software and one car was disqualified due to a problem with regulations. As Dan noted, this sport is more about computers than oil, pistons and fuel.
Formula E Cars Seem More Aerodynamically Efficient Than Formula 1 Cars
Thanks Dan for sharing these pictures of your Formula E adventure. Hopefully the next time that you see Jacky Eeckelaert he will be able to tell you about a podium finish in Formula E.
If you have any questions or comments about this post, then leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net