James Barclay: Compromised qualifying ruined podium chances
Panasonic Jaguar Racing Team Director James Barclay believes that a poor qualifying performance at the Santiago E-Prix robbed the British marque of a potential podium finish at the Chilean capital.
In Santiago, Jaguar experienced a difficult day of running, with Mitch Evans and Nelson Piquet Jr racing in extreme 37°C heat which marked Formula E's hottest E-Prix to date..
Due to constant track evolution in qualifying, both Evans and Piquet missed out on a spot inside the top six, relegating the pair from a potential Super Pole spot.
Starting the race in 11th and 19th, with each gaining one position due to a post-qualifying disqualification for momentary polesitter Lucas di Grassi, both drivers were able to fight through the field, with Evans taking a hard-fought sixth place while Piquet missed out on a top 10 finish, taking 11th.
"Unfortunately, we were compromised by our qualifying which put us out of podium contention," explained Barclay.
"With that in mind we thought we had to go aggressive with our approach in the race and we showed good progress – Mitch [Evans] moving up to P6 and Nelson [Piquet Jr] just out of points in P11.
"I think we probably made the most progress out of any teams on the grid, and from our point of view that is a positive – we have a good racecar."
Due to high temperatures at the Parque O'Higgins Circuit, a number of issues manifested across the grid of 22, with battery temperatures reaching a critical point for numerous runners while a breakup of the racing surface, where asphalt was essentially uplifted, caused extreme marbling.
With extreme marbling, driving only became more difficult alongside overtaking, with Oliver Rowland and Stoffel Vandoorne crashing out as a result of going off-line while Sebastien Buemi also clattered the barriers.
"The break up of the circuit made it very hard to overtake in the spots you usually could, and it made it treacherous if you went offline to try to," continued Barclay.
"That hindered our progress a little bit, but overall with the high temperatures we made great progress.
"We must get qualifying right. That’s our one area where we’ve probably compromised our results this weekend.
"That’s going to be our key focus now; putting that together with the race pace that we have, and I think we’re on for a positive result, we just need to execute our qualifying really effectively."
After three races in the 2018/19 campaign, Jaguar currently occupies sixth in the Teams' Championship with 21 points, while Evans is only one of three drivers to currently hold a 100% top 10 finishing streak in Season Five.