The first official pre-season FIA Formula E test has been and gone with all 20 cars having taken to the Donnington Circuit in the UK. Before the test took place, a showcase event occurred in London with several driver announcements made including Sebastien Buemi and Nico Prost being confirmed at E.Dams Renault, Antonio Felix da Costa for Amlin Aguri, Michela Cerutti at Trulli GP, adding a second female driver to the grid and Mike Conway for Dragon Racing. Although not all teams have confirmed drivers, every team had two test drivers, though unconfirmed race drivers. These were:
Andretti Autosport- Scott Speed, Gil de Ferran
China Racing- Jerome d’Ambrosio, Antonio Garcia
Dragon Racing- Oriol Servia
It is widely believed that due to DTM race clashes, da Costa will be replaced by Fabio Leimer at selected rounds. He tested on the second day while Conor Daly and Freddie Hunt, son of Formula 1 champion James Hunt are thought to be in the mix with potential drives too.
Former Toro Rosso F1 driver and Toyota LMP1 driver Sebastien Buemi topped the time sheets on the first day in dry conditions with a 1:35.475s. This is to be the first of five public tests with the Donningotn Park GP circuit modified to include an additional chicane at the exit to the Old Hairpin, perhaps explaining for the relatively slow lap times.
Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas Di Grassi was half a second shy in second while his team mate Daniel Abt left halfway through to contest the GP2 race at Silverstone. Virgin Racings Sam Bird and Mahindra’s Bruno Senna followed on behind with Venturi’s Stephan Sarrazin rounding out the top five.
The session ended with Katherine Legge for Amlin Aguri rounding off the bottom of the time sheets while Trulli’s Cerruti failed to post a time due to technical difficulties:
1. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 1:35.475
2. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +0.537
3. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +0.895
4. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +0.910
5. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +1.223
6. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +1.232
7. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +1.494
8. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +1.737
9. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +1.970
10. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +2.057
11. Franck Montagny, Andretti Autosport, +2.587
12. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +2.604
13. Jerome d’Ambrosio, China Racing, +2.611
14. Antonio Garcia, China Racing, +2.729
15. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +5.269
16. Mike Conway, Dragon Racing, +5.693
17. Gil de Ferran, Andretti Autosport, +9.497
18. Scott Speed, Andretti Autosport, +10.434
19. Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri, +12.821
20. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, No time set
The second day saw Di Grassi lead the field by the end, pipping d’Ambrosio’s early pace which was already faster than Buemi’s time set the previous day. Due to incidents with the artificial chicane, they were removed, allowing for times to tumble with Nick Heidfeld for Venturi coming in third behind Buemi while Sarrazin could only manage 13th. Scott Speed showed his speed in the Andretti car, posting the 4th best time while Bruno Senna rounded out the top 5. Jarno Trulli completed the top 10.
1. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport Abt, 1:31.973s
2. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 1:32.089s
3. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, 1:32.373s
4. Scott Speed, Andretti Autosport, 1:32.632s
5. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, 1:32.960s
6. Antonio Garcia, China Racing, 1:32.966s
7. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, 1:33.040s
8. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, 1:33.072s
9. Jerome d’Ambrosio, China Racing, 1:33.178s
10. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, 1:33.299s
11. Franck Montagny, Andretti Autosport, 1:33.754s
12. Fabio Leimer, Amlin Aguri, 1:33.792s
13. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, 1:34.006s
14. Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri, 1:34.071s
15. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, 1:36.064s
16. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, 1:36.962s
17. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, 1:37.415s
18. Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing, 1:43.239s
19. Mike Conway, Dragon Racing, 1:44.698s
*Absent: Daniel Abt, Audi Sport Abt
The test day also saw the announcement that pioneering electric car company Rimac Automobili is to supply the series with one of its exclusive fully-electric Concept_One supercars which will be used by the Race Director. The one-of-a-kind car, which can accelerate from 0-60mph in the same time as a Formula E single-seater, also took to the Donington track for a number of demonstration laps.
The next test days take place on July 9 and 10 at Donington Park with free access to fans, including a pitlane walk.
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