Formula E preseason testing 2023: five key findings from Valencia

Formula 1 may conduct its preseason testing just before the start of the new schedule of races, but Formula E conducts its testing months before the first E-Prix. The official action starts in January in Mexico City, but last week the all-electric series Taken to the turn of Valencia For its annual preseason test. The 2024 season will be the second for the 10 ultra-efficient Gen 3 car, after a debut that provided plenty of wheel-to-wheel racing and a tough driver’s championship that was decided in the final two races. Although there aren’t any new cars this year, there’s still a lot to know before the lights go out in Mexico.

a battery fire cut test short

Teams lost a significant amount of track time after a battery fire following the Tuesday morning session. race reports The incident occurred in a pit stall occupied by WAE, the battery supplier of the all-electric series. The fire reportedly started from a battery that was removed from the DS Penske driven by rookie Robert Schwartzman for three separate stages. An issue caused Schwartzman to stop at the track and once the car returned to the pit lane, the battery was removed and taken to WAE for inspection. reports The driver stopped due to the automatic battery protection system activating. According to race, Eyewitnesses say there was a small audible explosion about 90 minutes after the car stopped at the circuit.

Formula E canceled both Tuesday afternoon’s and Wednesday’s sessions while it investigated the cause of the fire. One person was taken to hospital as a precaution but was released without any treatment. Formula E reported that following “investigations and findings provided by technical suppliers”, the series’ governing body, the FIA, deemed conditions safe to resume testing on Thursday afternoon.

As race Note, there has never been a traction battery fire in an E-Prix in almost 10 years of incidents. Such incidents occurred in 2015 and 2017, but they affected smaller 12-volt batteries. It was also unrelated to the new attack allegation because Schwartzman had not yet demonstrated that infrastructure. There were only eight units for 11 teams in Formula E and DS Penske did not have one at the time, race Report.

First female driver in Gen3 car

Gabriela Zilkova, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, Porsche 99X Electric Gen3
Gabriela Jilkova drives a TAG Heuer Porsche
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During the preseason test in Valencia, teams had to field rookie drivers in their cars for three of the scheduled 18 hours. The lineup included former F2 driver Robert Schwartzman (DS Penske) and current F2 drivers Victor Martins (Nissan) and Zane Maloney (Andretti). The rookie test also saw the first female driver in a Gen3 Formula E car. ​LMP3 and GT4 driver Gabriela Zilkova sat behind the wheel of the Porsche team’s EV and completed the 46-lap race. Formula E has previously conducted novice testing before the Berlin E-Prix and during an additional practice session in Rome, both taking place earlier this year.

First test of attack charge

During a 10-hour session last Friday, Formula E held a simulated race, giving teams a 27-lap trial to test setups, run through safety car periods and demo the upcoming attack charge pit stop Went. The series had planned to introduce stop starts the previous season, but supply-chain issues meant the technology would only be ready for the final few races. By then, Formula E felt it was too late and decided to postpone the introduction of the attack charge to this season.

There is still a lot unknown about how the stops will work, but what we do know is that they will take place during a specific window that will be announced by Formula E officials just before the race. The series also said that teams will be unable to double stack their two cars, the practice of parking both vehicles one behind the other, which could lead to some interesting decisions as to which driver will get priority. An attack charge stop is also expected to be quite long at 30-35 seconds. A mechanic connects a charging cable to the back of the car while filling the battery.

Jaguar and Porsche are fast again

Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing, Jaguar I-Type 6
Mitch Evans in Jaguar TCS Racing I-TYPE 6
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After strong performances at the start of the Gen3 era last season, it looks like Jaguar TCS Racing and TAG Heuer Porsche are going to be contenders once again. Jaguar and Porsche vehicles claimed four top-five finishes in each of the three testing sessions, including quick laps from the Envision team running Jaguar powertrains.

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans posted the fastest time of the week, achieving a mark of 1m24.474s which was more than half a second faster than the fastest lap in last year’s testing. Evans, who finished third in the driver’s championship in season nine, also finished top in season two. New teammate Nick Cassidy, who finished second in the championship last season while driving for Envision, prevented Evans from sweeping all three sessions with a 1m24.617 in the final race of the week.

Mahindra looks ready to make a comeback

Season nine was one to forget for Mahindra. The team finished 10th out of 11 in Formula E since the series began. Significant changes in the offseason included a brand new driver pairing of Edoardo Mortara and season seven winner Nick de Vries. Mortara had the fifth-fastest time in the week’s first session while De Vries posted the third-best time in session two. A battery fire caused damage to Mahindra’s equipment and both cars, but both drivers showed great pace at different times during the week.

The driver’s championship should be close again

19 out of 21 drivers set lap times within 0.7 seconds of each other during the last session of the week. Sure, this is one-lap pace as opposed to managing all the nuances of a Formula E race (like energy consumption and regeneration), but it’s clear the drivers are learning how to unlock the potential of Gen 3 cars. For example, last year teams struggled with new cars and new tires to find optimal performance for the tough Hankook compound.

This article was originally published on Engadget

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