Nico Prost set the pace as e.Dams Renault returned to the top of the times to conclude Formula E pre-season testing at a rain-hit Donington Park.
A lap time of 1:30.513s from the morning session was good enough to end the day top, in what marked the 10 team’s final opportunity to get track time and try out their new powertrains, ahead of season two which begins in Beijing in two months’ time.
Vergne had set the pace after an hour of running in the morning session, before e.dams Renault flexed its muscles as Nico Prost shaved more than a second off his fellow countryman’s time to lower the benchmark with a time that would not be bettered as rain hit once more in the afternoon.
Prost led a strong one-two for the team ahead of Sebastien Buemi, while Amlin Andretti hit the circuit for the first time this week, having only managed one flying lap in testing so far.
The American-backed squad confirmed on Tuesday that it has opted to revert back to last season’s Spark SRT_01E chassis that uses a McLaren electronics system and five-speed Hewland gearbox, after running into a number of software related problems while testing its new ATEC-01 motor.
In the hands of Simona De Silvestro and Robin Frijns, Andretti completed more than 50 laps worth of running in total. De Silvestro had a spell at the top of the leader board early on in the day’s second session, before beaching her car into the gravel as light rain fell. The Swiss driver ended the afternoon 11th.
Trulli finally managed to get out on track after what has been a challenging pre-season for the Italian outfit, but it wasn’t long before reliability woes struck again in the team’s desperation to test its new Motomatica JT-01 powertrain. The new car managed just a single installation lap before Tonio Liuzzi returned to the garage behind closed doors.
The team fared better as rain intensified in the afternoon session, and managed a total of six laps before the end of the day, including a first run for new recruit Salvador Duran. Trulli now face the decision whether to continue with its new motor, or take the same decision as Andretti and go back to the 2014/2015 model, before the cars are freighted to Beijing.
Impressive performances included that of Frijns, who finished the day eighth and within a second of Prost, with the Dutchman understood to be chasing the second seat at Andretti. Meanwhile Bruno Senna concluded a positive pre-season for Mahindra with the fourth best time, as well as completing a significant amount of mileage.
Defending champion Nelson Piquet Jr tested both NEXTEV Team China Racing cars and ended up 12th as the team continued to focus on reliability ahead of the new season. The sixth and final day of testing gave GP2 winner Stefano Coletti an “enjoyable” first Formula E experience, as he drove alongside Nathanael Berthon at Team Aguri.
Tuesday also provided the unveiling of the all new for 2015/2016 BMW and Qualcomm safety car, which comes with an improved, faster Halo-based wireless charging technology.
FIA Formula E Championship – Donington Park – Pre-season testing (Day 6) – Results:
1. Nicolas Prost, Renault e.dams, 1:30.513s
2. Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams, 1:30.801s
3. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, 1:30.860s
4. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, 1:30.869s
5. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, 1:30.923s
6. Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin Racing, 1:30.997s
7. Loic Duval, Dragon Racing, 1:31.259s
8. Robin Frijns, Andretti, 1:31.434s
9. Jacques Villeneuve, Venturi, 1:31.895s
10. Stefano Coletti, Team Aguri, 1:32.573s
11. Simona de Silvestro, Andretti, 1:33.180s
12. Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV TCR, 1:33.679s
13. Daniel Abt, ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, 1:34.384s
14. Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, 1:36.176s
15. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Trulli, no time set
Photos by Nat Twiss