Robin Frijns Tops Opening Day at Valencia – Formula E Pre-Season Testing Report

Pre-Season Testing Robin Frijns

22 drivers and 11 teams kicked off the FIA Formula E World Championship Season 8 with pre-season testing at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia.

The Morning Session

Southern Spain welcomes drivers and teams for their crucial and only pre-season testing with warm and bright conditions on the first of four days. The temperature is around 13 degrees celsius which made it perfect for testing.

In the first session, Sam Bird led the field with a lap of 1:27:169. The veteran Lucas Di Grassi had a promising debut for the Venturi squad. The team wears a stunning black livery this year, sponsored by Rokit. He finished the session in 2nd, just one-tenth behind the Briton. Teammate Edoardo Mortara finished in 4th, capping off a positive day for Venturi Racing. Formula E veterans such as Robin Frijns and Oliver Rowland enjoyed a strong session and finished third and sixth respectively. DS Techeetah had a mixed day with Antonio Felix Da Costa 5th but Jean-Eric Vergne 17th. 

The first-ever Dutch world champion Nyck De Vries and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne finished with a respectable 9th and 10th for reigning Constructor Champions, Mercedes. The rookie trio includes Formula One driver Antonio Giovinazzi, he’ll drive for Dragon Penske when he leaves Formula One after the final two races of the 2021 season. 2019 Indy Light champion Oliver Askew will drive for the renamed American squad Avalanche Andretti. Two-time Macau GP winner and Formula 2 race-winner Dan Ticktum will drive for NIO 333 this year. All three drivers used this session to familiarize themselves with the Gen2 machine. Understandably, the trio finished last, but they were only half a second off Andre Lotterer, who sat in 19th. This will give them plenty to work on in the coming days.

The Afternoon Session

Most teams opted for race simulation in the afternoon session, and qualifying runs didn’t begin until 3:30 pm local time. Limited representative runnings meant that only 18 laps were completed by Jaguar’s Sam Bird, more than any other driver. The Mercedes duo ran a different program, and thus they ended up well down the timing screen, 21st and 22nd. One Dutchman at the bottom, one Dutchman at the top. Robin Frijns went fastest with a great lap of 1:26:968, some 0.173s ahead of the DS Techeetah drivers. The “Quick Kiwi” Nick Cassidy came home in 4th, with Andre Lotterer and Mitch Evans rounding off the top 6. 

The three rookies are still getting used to the car, with Oliver Askew in 15th, a long way off teammate Jake Dennis in 7th. Antonio Giovinazzi finished ahead of the Mercedes duo, which didn’t set a representative lap time. In contrast to two other rookies, Dan Ticktum narrowly went quicker than his teammate Oliver Turvey. 

Even if testing is not about setting the quickest time, teams still have a lot to do in the next three days. Stay tuned!


Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

What do you make of pre-season testing so far?