Teams competing in the FIA Formula E Championship familiarised themselves with the all-electric Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars at the Donington Park circuit in the United Kingdom today.
A full day of testing in wet track conditions used for system checks and for the seven confirmed race drivers it was a first to get to know their future race car. A modified configuration of the National Circuit was used, which included an additional chicane on the main straight to simulate a street circuit.
The seven confirmed drivers – Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi (Abt), Sam Bird and Jaime Alguersuari (Virgin Racing), Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok (Mahindra Racing) and Franck Montagny (Andretti Autosport) – were all in attendance together with several new drivers under evaluation. As we published a non-official list on the ElectricAutosport.com live blog earlier, also Nick Heidfeld (Venturi Grand Prix), Antonio García (China Racing), Nicolas Prost (e.DAMS) Juan Manuel Lopez (Formula E test car) were on track. According to Current-E, Kevin Korjus and Antonio Felix da Costa drove for Super Aguri, Jean-Karl Vernay for Drayson Racing. Katherine Legge and Stoffel Vandoorne were also spotted at Donington Park.
— Nick Heidfeld (@NickHeidfeld) June 4, 2014
Rob Arnott, Team Manager at Andretti Autosport, said: “The car has run exceptionally well for us, almost like clockwork. We’ve had virtually no issues which say a lot for a car straight out of the box and Franck [Montagny] has been really surprised with the car and its balance, especially in the wet. I was concerned the tyres wouldn’t be able to cope being a ‘one-stop-shop’ so to speak but they are very impressive and a good compound. Tomorrow we’ll debrief and analysis the data but it’s apparent battery management is going to be key.”
Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal at Mahindra, said: “We’ve had a few teething issues today but overall it’s been very positive. The drivers have enjoyed it and Bruno [Senna] had a big smile on his face the first time he got out of the car. We have a great team using the experience of the successful Carlin outfit so now we need to convert them from petrol heads to ‘spark heads’!”
Nicolas Mauduit, Team Manager at Venturi Grand Prix, said: “Overall it’s been a very good day learning the car and running a mixture of low and medium power setups. We’ll go away now and look over the data and get to grips with the car better as well as look in more detail about the regeneration system and improving battery life.”
Mark Preston, Team Principal at Super Aguri said: “Our new electric car ran more laps than I expected and overall the shakedown went really well. The engineers and drivers learned a lot and we went through our programme to collect as much data as we could in preparation for the tests in July.”
Peter McCool, Technical Director at Super Aguri said: “I’m really pleased with the way the team operated today. Everything was completed and run as we expected, it was safe and we got the data we wanted. It was a shame that the conditions were wet, but we’ve got to know the car and we know that it will perform and do exactly what it needs to do come the first Formula E race.”
Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, added: “Today has been a proud moment for everyone involved in the FIA Formula E Championship. To have the teams running their cars for the first time is very special to see – and hear – and it’s fantastic to watch the championship becoming a reality. This is the beginning of a new era of motorsport.”
The first public pre-season Formula E test takes place on July 3 and 4 with free access to spectators. Check here to find out what you need to do in order to see future electric race cars on track.
Provisional results we have seen could indicate that Montagny in the Andretti car drove the fastest lap.