Formula E rookie Alexander Sims says he is not expecting to be at the front of the 2018/19 field at the season five opener in Saudi Arabia next month.

Sims topped the timesheets on two of the three days of pre-season testing at Valencia in October as the BMW Andretti squad completed a clean sweep at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Despite BMW’s promising pace, Sims was keen to downplay expectations heading into the inaugural Ad Diriyah E-Prix, which takes place on December 15.

Formula 1 2019 - Spanish GP Driver Ratings

“So far things look good,” Sims said.

“But it’s one thing to do a fast lap at Valencia where the open circuit doesn’t punish you for every small mistake, whereas on a narrow street circuit things look very different.

“I think the BMW iFE.18 is a great car but for me as a rookie the race weekends will be a big challenge.

“I don’t expect to be on top from race one. I will have to learn a lot in such a difficult and competitive championship as Formula E.

“Let’s say I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m really confident in the work the BMW i Andretti Motorsport Team will do.

“They have fantastic engineers and a lot of experience, but I’m a rookie and don’t want to overpromise anything.

“I hope for the best, but I’m also prepared for difficult times.”

Adapting quickly key to ‘mental challenge’ of Formula E


Sims’ last single seater race outing came at the 2016 Macau Grand Prix before he switched to GT racing in recent years, and the Briton says his vast experience has proved beneficial in his bid to get up to speed with FE machinery.

“Having the experience of driving lots of different race cars for sure broadens the range of skills you can draw from,” he explained.

“That helps a lot when adapting to Formula E which requires a different approach in many aspects compared to conventional cars and circuits.

“I have learned to understand the strengths and weaknesses of many different cars and how to get the best possible lap time out of it on different kinds of circuits.

“Adapting quickly will be a big thing in Formula E with all its different and mostly bumpy street circuits.

“I’ve already talked a lot to António Félix da Costa about it. He can help me a lot with his experience.”

When asked what his biggest challenge has been so far, Sims replied: “It is difficult to name one big challenge as there were many things that required me to adapt my approach.

“One thing that really surprised me was the amount of freedom I had in improving the software to fit perfectly to my driving style.

“For most of my career in single seater and GT racing there was a limited number of things that you could realistically change for the driver.

“Another big topic for me is understanding all the systems you have in the Formula E car to manage the energy,” he added.

“Racing other guys wheel-to-wheel and at the same time thinking of your energy management and race strategy requires a lot of multitasking.

“All in all, Formula E will be a fantastic mental challenge and a lot of fun.”