The Spanish pilots Carlos Sainz Y Laia Sanz they believe that electric car racing like Extreme-E is part of an unstoppable future, and believe that engineers must be given time to develop technology that will help make the world and sport more sustainable.
In an interview granted to EFE in Chile, before starting this weekend in the northern city of Antofagasta the fifth round of the second edition of the Extreme-E championship for electric off-roaders, the Acciona Team drivers agreed that progress is visible and that the challenge is still “battery life”.
Sanz and Sainz are third in the standings, 33 points behind the team of former Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg, made up of the Swedes Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Johan Kristoffersson, who, if they did a good race in the mythical Chilean desert of Atacama, they would guarantee the championship in the absence of the test in Uruguay.
The Spaniards started the test very well, with good feelings and results in the first test in the Saudi desert, but a collision in Sardinia has hurt them in the two tests in Sardinia.
In second place, and with a single point advantage, is the American couple formed by Sara Price and Kyle Leduc, from the EV Chip Ganassi, whom they will try to overcome in the dust of the small Copper Prix track, sponsored by “Antofagasta Minerals ”, one of the main world extractors of copper, a fundamental raw material for batteries.
What is the main difficulty of the circuit?
Laia Sanz: I can speak for both of us, we are happy to return to Chile, we had been here racing in the Dakar and to be able to enjoy this land again and to be able to return here where we both have good memories of here. We haven’t seen it yet, but we’ve both done the Dakar and we know it’s a very dry place with a lot of dust.
Carlos Sáinz: The difficulties are simply memorizing it and adjusting the car depending on the type of terrain to be as good as possible and obviously dust is an important enemy for this championship and therefore we hope that there is not too much.
What balance do you make of this second edition?
Laia Sanz: We started the year well in Saudi Arabia, I think we took a very important step compared to the year and in Sardinia I think that the first weekend we were very, very good, having a great race and the pity was that they crashed us. These two races conditioned us a lot that we could have gotten better results.
What are the improvements compared to the previous edition?
Carlos Sainz: Without a doubt there has been an important evolution. Last year there were many technical problems, it was a new championship, which came from a period of Covid-19 where the tests had been quite complicated and difficult to do and it was paid. The cars stopped, with the power steering, the suspensions, and different problems related to the software.
From there, I think an important step has been taken this year with the evolution of suspensions, with the evolution of the software and with the power steering, which were the main problems. And it has really been noticed, it has been noticed. In these races the cars have gone better and with fewer problems and little by little those problems of youth that the car had last year are being corrected.
What is the main difference with a combustion car?
Laia Sanz: The first thing obviously is the noise, there isn’t much noise, the fact that we don’t have a gear change, that’s simpler, in the electric car we don’t have as much work and the power delivery is immediate. Another interesting thing is that you can play with the power maps, it is something positive that you can play with more than with a combustion car.
And the main flaw?
Laia Sanz: Perhaps the issue of battery life still limits you a bit because you can’t do a very long race, that would be the only negative point that we can say there is regarding a combustion car”
Carlos Sainz: The challenge continues to be the duration, unless it happens, like the car that we drive in the Dakar, there is an engine that is constantly charging the batteries, the duration is short, we are talking about 20-25 kilometers at most.
In that sense, there is a long way to go. The future, obviously a line of work has been opened and now it is necessary to leave it to the engineers to continue improving the duration, the recharge, the times, but the way is open, it is clear that nothing must be demonized or prohibited, follow this way and give technology and engineers time to do their job.
What message does the Extreme-E convey?
Carlos Sainz: The championship’s message in this sense is clear, forceful and at the same time very powerful, fighting for a more sustainable world, also in the world of sport, in this case in the motor world, closely related to combustion, with the noise, with the combustion… you can run with electric cars is the first message, you can run and have a one hundred percent sustainable championship, it is a race that has begun and will not end.
And then on the other hand the message of equality, here right now we are a man and a woman where what Laia does and what I do counts exactly the same, where the efforts, the strength and the ability of the two are added. And I think that today this message of equality in today’s society is also very important in a world like sports and motorsports.