Home Featured “A lot of learning” in Hugh Barter’s maiden Formula E test

“A lot of learning” in Hugh Barter’s maiden Formula E test

by Alejandro Alonso Lopez

Photo: Maserati MSG Racing

Hugh Barter enjoyed a “very cool” maiden Formula E experience in the official rookie test in Berlin back in April, where he drove one of the championship’s Gen3 cars.

The 17-year-old, who was the youngest driver on track, completed 98 laps around the Tempelhof airfield circuit for Maserati (which previously competed as Venturi) and was 16th fastest.

He was eighth tenths of a second off the pace set by reigning Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich, who also drove for the Monaco-based Maserati team.

Barter was French and Spanish Formula 4 runner-up before stepping up to FIA Formula 3 for this year, and scored his first points last weekend at the Red Bull Ring. His best qualifying performance is fifth place, achieved on debut at Bahrain.

“[FE] is very different to what we do here in F3,” he emphasised to Formula Scout. “It’s a lot more, not professional but a higher standard, higher level because, you know, it’s a factory team at the end of the day.

“I did it with Maserati and at one point I had three or four engineers speaking to me while I was in box. That’s not something that you experience in F3. There’s a lot more people working behind the scenes and working to try and benefit you in a run that’s coming up or whatever. So in that sense, it was very cool and a new experience.”

The build-up to the test consisted of several full days in the team’s simulator and multiple meetings with their engineers as “there’s a lot of learning when it comes to FE” and its all-electric cars.

“The technical side is completely different,” Barter affirmed. “In the long runs you don’t have enough battery to finish the race, so you need to conserve. So they were going through this with us for two or three days.

“I had a total of four days in the sim, I think. But it’s more trying to prepare you to know what to do when you get into the car. Because you have different scenarios with different engine maps and you have adapt your driving to the race run and all sorts of things.

“And the warm-up is completely different to an F3. They drive on the semi-slicks, these tyres with grooves in them. In F3, we drive with full flicks. Everything is different besides the basics of pushing a pedal and turning.

Although Formula 1 is still Barter’s ultimate goal, he admitted that FE is a potential career path and “something I would look at” for the future.