The FIA Formula E Championship isn’t an ordinary new racing series. For the first time, an all-electric category will race on ten city circuits worldwide. The combination of racing with brand new technology on temporary tracks is a recipe for headaches. Will technology withstand for the full race day? And are the tracks well designed, safe and would it prevent any unforeseen troubles? They have a cure.
Formula E wants to rule out any problems, starting with a thorough preparation. While the teams are testing their new equipment, the organisation organises repetitions. Most of the work has been done behind the scenes, but we’ve seen the first ever start of Formula E cars lined-up on the grid earlier this month (see video).
On Thursday, a full race day has been simulated with practice time in the morning, qualifying around lunch time and a race in the afternoon. Access to Donington Park, the race track were Formula E has its operational HQ and were the teams are located, was restricted for organisation and team personnel only. Pit tents were built to simulate a paddock as it would look like in the city centre, along with dedicated power supply and pit box gear.
Lucas di Grassi, driving for Audi-Sport ABT Formula E team was the man to beat: grabbing pole position and he won the test race. The Brazilian driver crossed the chequered flag with a ten second lead over Mahindra’s Bruno Senna. Stéphane Sarrazin finished in third. However, the results are hardly an indication as the teams didn’t run all four cars necessary to complete the race. It seemed that only eight drivers were able to change cars during the obligatory pitstop, with Nelson Piquet jr. ranked eight.
— CHINA RACING (@ChinaRacingFE) July 24, 2014
The Brazilian driver received the chance to test drive the electric single-seater for China Racing. Other newcomers were Matthew Brabham, grandson to the late three-time Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham, driving for Andretti Autosport. Ralph Firman (Amlin-Aguri) and Thimoté Buret (China Racing) tasted the electric Formula E racer for the first time.
The test day went pretty well, based on what ElectricAutosport.com has learned. Of course, there is still room for improvement for the second race day repetition that will be held in two weeks – with all forty cars running – just before the fifth public pre-season test day on August 19.