The teams competing in the inaugural all-electric FIA Formula E Championship finally got to take their Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars out onto the Donington Park circuit.
Karun Chandhok, Bruno Senna (Mahindra Racing), Franck Montagny (Andretti Autosport), Jaime Alguersuari, Sam Bird (Virgin Racing), Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt (ABT), the seven drivers who have already secured seats for the inaugural Formula E season, all took part, along with several other racers being evaluated.
With many of the drivers not having driven the car before, the tires not having been tested before and the team owners not being able to have their hands on the cars before, reliability and the understanding of the cars took a much higher priority than lap times.
“We’ve had virtually no issues,” said Rob Arnott, Team Manager at Andretti Autosport. “The car has run exceptionally well for us, almost like clockwork … which say a lot for a car straight out of the box.
“Franck [Montagny] has been really surprised with the car and its balance, especially in the wet. I was concerned the tires 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 analyze the data but it’s apparent battery management is going to be key.”
Nicolas Mauduit, Team Manager at Venturi Autombiles, echoed Arnott’s claims about battery strategy.
“Overall it’s been a very good day learning the car and running a mixture of low and medium power setups,” said Mauduit. “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.”
Team principal Dilbagh Gill said: “We’ve had a few teething issues today but overall it’s been very positive. The drivers have enjoyed it and Bruno had a big smile on his face the first time he got out of the car.”
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 official Formula E test will take place on July 3 2014 at Donington Park, while the first race will be run on September 13th in Beijing.