All the news from Formula E pre-season, in-season tests, and first runs of new cars
VENTURI'S EDOARDO MORTARA FINISHES TESTING IN TOP POSITION
ROKiT Venturi Racing's Edoardo Mortara recorded the fastest time of the day, and of the Valencia pre-season test during the fifth and final session on Thursday at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
PHOTO: FORMULA E
The 34-year-old flew to a 1m25.763s mid-way through the six-hour session, besting the previous benchmark set by Mercedes-EQ's Stoffel Vandoorne on Tuesday by almost a second.
DS TECHEETAH's double champion Jean-Eric Vergne followed, just 0.041 seconds back, while another Mercedes powertrain made it into the top three times of the week, in the shape of the Silver Arrow 02 of Stoffel Vandoorne - the Belgian also within a tenth of-a-second of Mortara.
A late lap from Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) saw the Kiwi fourth, and another last-minute effort from Porsche's Pascal Wehrlein hurled the German up the order into fifth spot. Reigning champion Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ) followed, with the Envision Racing pair of Nick Cassidy and Robin Frijns next up, also within the 1m25s mark.
In fact, every driver as far as rookie Oliver Askew (Avalanche Andretti) in 17th sat inside last season's qualifying lap record set by polesitter Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) and just a little over a second split Mortara's yardstick and Maximilian Guenther in 18th.
DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT's Sergio Sette Camara clocked the most laps, with 83 on the day - despite a technical issue seeing his Penske EV-5 carried back to the pits on the back of a lorry early in the day's running. Over the week, drivers racked up more than 4,100 laps, totalling almost 14,000km of the Valencia circuit.
Preparations and development work will continue for teams with private test sessions pencilled in up and down the paddock, as well as countless hours on simulators prior to the season-opening double-header in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on 28 & 29 January.
FRIJNS AND VANDOORNE ON TOP AFTER FIRST TWO DAYS OF TESTING
Envision Racing's Robin Frijns fired to the front in a shorter afternoon session on the opening day of the Valencia test, breaking the 1m27s mark with a 1m26.968s lap - two tenths up on the morning's benchmark by Sam Bird
PHOTO: FORMULA E
Frijns had finished third in the opening session, but went a fair way clear of the rest with his afternoon's best. Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) ended Session 2 0.173s back in second with teammate Antonio Felix da Costa third.
Conditions remained bright and warm at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, with air temperatures around the 13 celsius mark. This meant teams were able to lap for the duration, though with things curtailed for a qualifying simulation at 15:30, 18 laps was the most a driver managed - and that was Jaguar's Bird.
Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) came home fourth with Andre Lotterer (TAG Heuer Porsche) and Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) rounding out the top six.
Reigning champion Nyck de Vries had clearly been set a different programme by Mercedes-EQ for the session, with both he and Vandoorne well down the timing screens - though we know testing is about anything from race run simulations to bedding in systems and new drivers.
Mercedes-EQ's Stoffel Vandoorne led the way in testing on Tuesday at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo, with teams completing a race simulation, in-amongst their mileage across the morning and afternoon sessions.
The Belgian's 1m26.045s was some 0.7 seconds up on the morning's pace, set by Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH), with track conditions slightly warmer in the afternoon and the circuit a little more rubbered in. In fact, the top 15 in Session 4 ran inside the Portuguese driver's effort set earlier in the day.
Another Mercedes-powered car followed Vandoorne on the timesheets, with Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) second.
Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) followed with Nyck de Vries in the sister Mercedes fourth. Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche) wound up fifth, only 0.131 seconds back from Vandoorne, and Jaguar TCS Racing's Mitch Evans rounded out the top six fastest runners of the day.
Alice Powell took the wheel at Envision Racing for both sessions as she stepped up from her role as simulator driver - the Brit finished the day in 21st.
The field racked up another 1,756 laps, including that simulated 45-minute plus one lap race run before lunch. On-track action will return on Thursday at 09:00 CET, with drivers set for media duties on Wednesday.
2021/22 TESTING SCHEDULE REVEALED
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is all set for a return to Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, Spain for its official pre-season test between 29 November and 2 December.
PHOTO: FORMULA E
Prior to the season opener in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on 28/29 January 2022, the championship will make its sixth visit to Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain, between 29 November and 2 December.
Testing will take place every day with the exception of Wednesday 1 December, with all the teams and drivers on track together for the first, and last time before the start of the 2021/22 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship proper, with revised qualifying regulations, and the new calendar, about which you can read here.
The first two days’ running will be broken into a morning session between 09:00 and 12:00, with an afternoon session taking place between 14:00 and 17:00. Session 5 on Thursday 2 December will run between 09:00 and 15:00.
2020/21 TESTING - DAY THREE: GUENTHER CONCLUDES THE PRESEASON ON TOP
BMW racer, Maximilian Guenther, stopped the stopwatch on the lap time of 1:11.760 on the fifth session of preseason testing with the whole field separated by three-quarters of a second
PHOTO: FORMULA E
German driver closed out the action from Circuit Ricardo Tormo top of the pile, after he flew to the top of the timesheets mid-way through the afternoon's action today, which was enough to edge out the previous benchmark set by Alex Lynn late on Sunday.
DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT pair Sergio Sette Camara and Nico Mueller impressed, following Guenther in close company - both less than 0.050 seconds shy of the young German's best.
DS TECHEETAH's reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa, Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing), Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche), Oliver Rowland (Nissan e.dams), Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) and Oliver Turvey (NIO 333) followed and all broke the 1:12 barrier, while less than 0.250 seconds separated the top ten runners, with eight different teams represented.
A brief stoppage at around the half-way point of the six-hour session was caused by a spin for Sette Camara in Sector 3. Aside from that, it was heads down from the drivers as they steered through their testing programmes and 1,828 laps between them during a marathon stretch.
The only real quiet spells arrived during the half-hour interludes required to recharge the cars to their maximum usable energy capacity, and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler's new full-time signing Rene Rast chewed through more laps than anybody, racking up 98 tours and 392 kilometres alone as he sought to familiarise himself with the e-tron FE07.
Rowland, Evans and Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-Benz EQ), to name a few, were all subject to 15-minute stop and go time penalties for exceeding track limits, as drivers rung out every last hundreth of a second from their cars and every inch of the race track in what was an ultra-close session.
All 24 runners lapped within just 0.761 seconds of one-another, and all bar Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) were, incredibly, separated by little over half-a-second.
Preparations and development will continue for teams, with drivers taking part in private test sessions and plenty of work in the simulator prior to Round 1 of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship; the season-opening double-header from Santiago, Chile on 16-17 January.
2020/21 TESTING - DAY TWO: LYNN SHOWS PACE OF MAHINDRA AFTER DA COSTA WAS ON TOP IN THE MORNING
Reigning Formula E Champion, Antonio Felix da Costa posted the fastest time in the morning session in his DS Techeetah car, while Alex Lynn managed to beat the BMW drivers to the top at the end on day two.
PHOTO: FORMULA E
After yesterday's mixed conditions, with rain ruling Session 1 and a drying track making things difficult in the opening stages of Session 2 on Saturday, drivers and teams took advantage of three hours of stable conditions to work through their busy testing programmes and rack up the laps - to the tune of 1,094 between them.
Da Costa's 1:11.948 came late on in the session, but from its half-way stage, the majority of drivers had managed to squeak their way under Andre Lotterer's Saturday benchmark.
As the chequered flag fell, 23 of the 24 runners were covered by less than a second, with only Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing), who was quickest out of the blocks in the opening session yesterday, outside of that bubble. There were also eight different teams represented in the top 10 on the timing screens.
Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH), Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing) and Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) rounded out the top six.
As ever, times are to be taken with a pinch of salt, as ultimate pace isn't always the priority with teams working through different, programmes including race runs, qualifying simulations and using different power deployments.
Alex Lynn closed out Day 2 of testing from Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo on top of the timesheets after the Mahindra Racing driver's late lap edged out the BMW i Andretti Motorsport pairing of Maximilian Guenther and Jake Dennis.
As drivers scrambled to squeeze their final laps in before the chequered flag in Sunday's second session, Mahindra Racing's Alex Lynn flew to the second sub-1:12 lap of the test so far, with a 1:11.941 to close out Sunday at the top of the times - undercutting the previous best we'd seen in Valencia, set this morning by Antonio Felix da Costa, by 0.007 seconds.
Lynn and Maximilian Guenther (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) pipped Jake Dennis' earlier effort, leaving the rookie in an impressive third spot. Sam Bird's last gasp flier saw him home fourth fastest of the afternoon, just ahead of Edo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) fifth and Sergio Sette Camara (DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT) sixth.
The circuit here in Valencia offers up a very different test to the street circuits found on the Formula E calendar, too. That said, being up the order on the timesheets in any session can only be a source of encouragement for teams and drivers that things are going in the right direction.
Formula E Testing will be back in action on Tuesday, December 1st.
2020/21 TESTING - DAY ONE: MORTARA & LOTTERER ON TOP OF THE TIMESHEETS
ROKiT Venturi driver, Edoardo Mortara, was the quickest in the first session of testing at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, while Andre Lotterer of TAG Heuer Porsche posted the fastest lap of the first day of testing.
PHOTO: FORMULA E
A late flurry of laps on a drying track surface after prolonged mid-session drizzle saw the timesheets shuffling rapidly, with Edo Mortara coming out on top.
The Venturi man set the benchmark with one of the final laps of the session, pipping reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) by 0.031 seconds whilst Oliver Turvey hoisted his NIO 333 and its all-new powertrain into third.
Alexander Sims looks to have made himself right at home at his new team, Mahindra Racing, on this first morning back in the office, whilst Sergio Sette Camara (DRAGON / PENSKE) and Nick Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing) rounded out the top six runners.
Mortara's 1:18.148 was partly a byproduct of that drying track after steady drizzle soaked the surface throughout the middle third of the morning session, with 18 cars separated by just 0.7 seconds come the chequered flag.
Those 18 runners all lapped beneath the 1:19 mark, with early the first hour's running a second slower still as Circuit Ricardo Tormo shook off the standing water after yesterday's torrential rain and thunderstorms.
All 12 teams managed good mileage from both of their drivers with little drama, save for brief excursions into the Sector 1 gravel for Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) and Sette Camara. Everybody worked through their intricately planned practice programmes, seeking to prove their new powertrains and cars.
Lotterer and Jean-Eric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) squeezed in a couple of late full-power efforts to take first and second spots, respectively, with the Frenchman's teammate Antonio Felix da Costa winding up third quickest.
The field took advantage of the afternoon sun and raised track temperatures which yielded a drying line at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, with times some six seconds quicker than was seen in the morning. In the end, the top 19 runners were separated by less than a second.
Lotterer did set the early pace in Session 2 with an early sighter, with Nico Mueller able to follow suit in the DRAGON / PENSKE. It was Nick Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing) that caught the eye, though, as he flew to a 1:12.982, which was enough to see him atop the times for more than two hours of the afternoon's running.
Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-Benz EQ) looked handy, too - his Sector 1 the best of the bunch at the time, though Cassidy controlled Sectors 2 and 3 until the late flurry of activity from Lotterer, Vergne and Da Costa.
Cassidy will be pleased with the day's fourth-quickest effort, however, with the rookies arguably the story of the day. Norman Nato (ROKiT Venturi Racing) rounded out the day seventh best and Jake Dennis (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) also finished Day 1 inside the top 10.
As always in testing, being fastest isn't always the priority, with a lot of work to be done between now and close of play on Tuesday.
NEEL JANI COMPLETES FIRST PORSCHE FORMULA E RUN
Formula E Challenger of Porsche covered it's first kilometers at Porsche‘s testing ground in Weissach.
The run was the first drive of the outfit's new car ahead of its entry into the sixth season (2019/20) of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
“I am very proud to have been behind the wheel the first time our Formula E racing car was driven," said Jani.
"Being allowed to drive the rollout is not only a great honour, it is also very exciting. We’re breaking new ground."
"It was a fantastic feeling for me. Everyone in the team feels it: The project is really gaining momentum now."
"We didn’t push it to the limit during the rollout, but the powertrain and the car made a very good first impression overall. I can’t wait to get back to testing.”
After announcing its entry into Formula E, the team has been busy preparing for the new challenge. With a proven pedigree in world-class motorsport, all eyes will be on the marque as it challenges for the Formula E championship title in 2019/20 against fellow German factory teams BMW, Audi and Mercedes.
“The newly developed Porsche powertrain for Formula E completed its baptism of fire. It is an important day for everyone involved in this project," said Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport.
"Many thanks to everyone who has poured their heart and soul into the construction of the powertrain and car in recent months and made this successful rollout possible."
"We still have a lot of work to do on the road to our works entry in Formula E, but an important initial step has been taken. Now we will be fully focussed as we continue to work on familiarising ourselves with the particular challenges of Formula E,” he added.
VERGNE SETS LAP RECORD IN MEXICO CITY TEST
Seven drivers have beaten the former lap record, but JEV set a new unofficial lap record of 58.775s
Both Audi's were fastest in the morning session with Daniel Abt posting a 58.917s lap, followed closely by his teammate and yesterday's race winner Lucas di Grassi with a time of 58.962s. "It feels good but it makes me sad at the same time because of yesterday," said Abt.
"We had everything to be at the front but I made a mistake in Quali. It's a shame there are no points for today!"
Third fastest of the morning's session was Venturi's Felipe Massa, who set a 58.977s lap. The Brazilian scored his first points in Formula E in the Mexico City race, putting him 16th in the standings. Abt's time topped the former lap record of 58.963s set by BMW i Andretti Motorsport's Antonio Felix da Costa in Practice 2 ahead of the 2019 CBMM Niobium Mexico City E-Prix.
With 18 cars all posting times within a second of each other, only Mahindra Racing's Pascal Wehrlein and his teammate Jerome d'Ambrosio, NIO's Oliver Turvey and Panasonic Jaguar Racing's Nelson Piquet Jr. failed to post a time under a minute. Following a spectacular collision with Jean-Eric Vergne in the race yesterday, Piquet Jr. spent the morning breaking in the rebuilt car.
During the afternoon session, times tumbled further as DS Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne posted the fastest time overall, setting a new unofficial lap record with a time of 58.775s. HWA Racelab's Stoffel Vandoorne posted the second fastest time of the day in the afternoon (58.817s) followed by Mahindra Racing's pascal Wehrlein with a time of 58.873s.
NICO MULLER FASTEST IN MARRAKECH TEST
All 11 Formula E teams brought together nine female drivers running alongside the series' current line up of drivers around the testing Ad Diriyah circuit.
For the second year in succession, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver Nico Muller has topped the combined time sheets of the in-season ABB FIA Formula E Championship rookie test held in Marrakesh following yesterday’s thrilling E-Prix. The German posted an impressive time of 1:17.074s late in the afternoon.
Muller said, “It was good fun, I really enjoyed being back in the Gen2 car after Riyadh, where we didn’t have a smooth day, but today was a good one. We had a big test programme to complete, lots of stuff to be tested for the next Formula E event.
“I’m happy to have ticked most boxes, learned a lot, and I think we’re now better prepared for what’s to come and to finish the day top of the times is obviously nice.”
Muller narrowly edged out DS TECHEETAH’s James Rossiter by just over one tenth of a second, while GEOX DRAGON’s Antonio Fuoco ended the day third fastest on a 1:17.338.
It was an eclectic mix of young talents and seasoned campaigners taking to the 2.971km circuit, with the criteria for entry being that the drivers must never have held an eLicence. The day was split into two sessions, with times improving throughout the afternoon as the winter sun warmed the race track.
Promising young dutchman Nyck De Vries was fifth fastest overall despite slight damage to his Envision Virgin Racing car curtailing his track time. He was a tenth ahead of 3 Jann Mardenborough for Nissan e.dams in sixth.
Tatiana Calderon, who tested for DS TECHEETAH in the Ad Diriyah test in December, posted an impressive time of 1:17.674s in the morning, which would have been good for fourth place in yesterday’s Super Pole shootout. The Columbian ultimately posted the seventh overall time, but did not run in the warmer afternoon conditions.
“It's a completely different track here – you need to be a little bit more confident on the brakes,” said the FIA’s European Young Women Programme – The Girls on Track – ambassador after her morning run.
“It's good for me to have experience on both tracks and I hope that I can help the team to develop the car even more. Every day, Formula E becomes more of an interest for me.”
BMW driver Bruno Spengler spent much of the day near the top of the timesheets, with the third fastest time in the morning, however he didn’t improve greatly in the afternoon and finally posted the eighth quickest tour of the day.
Following a tough Marrakesh E-Prix for the HWA RACELAB squad, their 24-year old rookie Raffaele Marciello achieved a top-ten lap time, sixth tenths off the ultimate pace. Monegasque youngster Arthur Leclerc rounded out the top ten for Venturi Formula E Team just ahead of his team-mate Norman Nato, with both drivers improving dramatically on their morning session lap times.
The day’s running went relatively uninterrupted, with the only lengthy stoppage a result of crash for Audi’s Jamie Green at Turn 7 late in the day.
FEMALE DRIVERS ON TRACK FOR Ad Diriyah in-season test
All 11 Formula E teams brought together nine female drivers running alongside the series' current line up of drivers around the testing Ad Diriyah circuit.
In the aftermath of the 2018/19 season opener in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship welcomed fresh as well as familiar faces to the in-season test taking place on the Ad Diriyah circuit on December 16.
Fastest of the day was Envision Virgin Racing's Sam Bird who posted a time of 1:09.668s in the afternoon session with DS Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne close behind as the second fastest of the day. Vergne finished second overall in the 2018 SAUDIA Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday behind Antonio Felix da Costa (BMW i Andretti Motorsport). After an impressive performance in the race, Nissan e.dams rookie driver Oliver Rowland posted the third fastest time of 1:10.264s. The British driver climbed seven places in the race, finishing up in seventh behind his teammate Sebastien Buemi.
Fastest of the fresh faces was Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler's Nico Mueller who posted a 1:10.432s lap time behind the wheel of the Audi e-tron FE05. Mueller first tested for Audi during the Rookie Test in Marrakesh earlier this year, where he bettered the race lap record around the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan. Formula E returns to the circuit for the second race of the season. Click here to buy tickets.
With a total of nine female drivers on the track throughout the day, the test saw the highest female participation in a Formula E event. Former Formula E driver Simona de Silvestro rounded off the top ten fastest drivers of the afternoon session by posting a 1:12.048s lap. The Swiss driver drove for Andretti Autosport in the inaugural season before returning to the series for the first time since 2015, today with the BMW i Andretti squad.
Close behind was Nissan e.dams Sebastien Buemi, followed by DS Techeetah's Tatiana Calderon. Outside of the test, the Colombian is the official test driver for the Alfa Romeo Sauber Formula One. "It's fun being on the streets but you need to be very precise - you go a bit offline and you hit the wall quite easily," she explained. "To be testing here in Saudi Arabia is incredible. I think the step they've taken to allow women to drive and to encourage more women to get into motorsport with such great teams is a really great initiative - I'm really happy to be a part of it and I hope that it leads to more opportunities and leads to more women in motorsport."
Present on the day was the FIA's Women in Motorsport Commission President Michèle Mouton who watched the test trackside. “It is great to see so many strong female drivers testing the new Formula E car.
"I strongly believe that in order to see the potential of the best women drivers in the world, they need to get a chance to drive with the best teams, which is exactly what is happening here.
"Through our FIA Women in Motorsport monitoring and assessment programmes, we know that some of the best are here today. I hope that this initiative with Formula E can continue in the future and I can’t wait to get all the feedback from the drivers and teams.”
British F3 driver Jamie Chadwick finished up 14th after missing much of the morning's session due to technical issues on her Gen2 NIO Formula E car. Behind Chadwick was fellow British driver Katherine Legge who finished the test in 16th place for Mahindra Racing, ahead of Geox Dragon's Maximillian Guenther, HWA Racelab's Carrie Schreiner (18th) and Amna Al Qubaisi (Envision Virgin Racing) in 19th. "I really like the car but it's quite different from what I'm used to," said Al Qubaisi. "The track here is testing - when you lose the racing line, you're pretty much in the wall." she added. The UAE-born driver touched a barrier on Turn 17 towards the end of the morning session, damaging the car which brought her day to a close early.