Renault e.Dams showed their early form was no fluke in Free Practice, with Sebastien Buemi enjoying a clear half second advantage over team-mate Nicolas Prost and close to a second gap to Dragon Racing’s Loic Duval.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for Renault e.Dams however, with Prost stopping out on track and having to reboot before resuming. It was a similar story for a few of the quick teams running new bespoke powertrains.
DS Virgin Racing’s Jean-Eric Vergne had a long walk back to the pits after coming to a halt, while Nelson Piquet was struggling with regenerative brake-balance issues, which saw the current champion involved in a number of spins.
Amlin Andretti showed some early promise, running as high as sixth and seventh before dropping down the order. Like Team Aguri, the American outfit have reverted to last year’s powertrain, but look to be concentrating on suspension set-up, with their car looking very compliant over the kerbs at Beijing.
Any small advantage could come into play, especially in the middle sector where the 200kW didn’t appear to yield a significant advantage.