ABB Formula E set for exciting season after competitive Valencia test

The first official FIA Formula E World Championship season in 2020 looks set to be an exciting affair, if the three days of pre-season testing in Valencia was anything to go by.

As the circuit bedded in over the duration of the test and drivers got used to their cars, so the lap times tumbled. And it was Maximilian Guenther who ended the final day atop the lap times, a 1:11.760 mark putting the German BMW driver ahead of the Dragon Penske duo of Sergio Sette Camara and Nico Mueller, as reigning champion Antonio Felix da Costa was fourth fastest for the DS TECHEETAH team, partnered by Acronis.

Interestingly, and boding well for the season ahead, less than 0.250 seconds separated the top ten runners and eight of those runners represented different teams, Jean-Eric Vergne, Oliver Turvey (NIO 333) and Norman Nato (ROKiT Venturi Racing) rounding out the top ten in teams also partnered by tech Cyber Protection firm Acronis.

“It was great to be on track again with the all the other cars,” reflected Turvey. “It was a productive three days of testing where we made steps forward as a team. The lap times were very close, so it was satisfying to be consistently quick and inside the top ten on the final day. We completed a lot of laps which highlighted where we can make further improvements ahead of the first races in Santiago.”

Oliver Turvey prepares to put the NIO 333 001 through its paces in Valencia

LYNN RULES THE ROOST ON DAY 2

Guenther’s fastest time on Tuesday was better than Monday’s quickest effort of 1:11.941 posted by Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn, the German again impressing with the second fastest time ahead of BMWi Andretti teammate Jake Dennis.

It was another solid Tuesday for the ROKiT Venturi Racing outfit with Edoardo Mortara fifth fastest and Nato again in the top ten as he quickly settled into his role as first team driver.

“Our three days in Valencia went by extremely quickly – a lot of hard work but it felt very constructive and we learned a huge amount,” said Mortara. “It was good to get so many laps under our belt, especially with a brand new car. On paper, we know that the car is quick and we are competitive in some areas. If we can continue to extract the performance over the next month and work well as a team, I’m confident that we’ll be able to score some decent points as the season starts.”

Likewise new NIO 333 FE team recruit Tom Blomqvist, who was 12th fastest ahead of evergreen teammate Turvey, now gearing up for a seventh season in the championship.

“It’s been a really productive few days in Valencia and a good foundation to build on,” said new NIO 333 FE Team driver Blomqvist. “We completed more than 530 laps as a team, which is the highest on the grid, so there’s plenty of data to analyse before round one. It was key to familiarise myself with the team and the car, and relearning the various processes required. The week has been promising from all aspects and I thoroughly look forward to getting the season underway in Santiago next month.”

It was Porsche driver Andre Lotterer who got the ball rolling on the opening day of testing, heading former teammate and good friend Vergne in the charts as the Frenchman’s new teammate Da Costa wound up third quickest on a day that started wet and gradually dried over the course of the day. And it was an impressive start from Nato, who finished the day seventh fastest ahead of Mueller, Dennis and Robin Frijns.

“It’s been a really positive three days of testing in Valencia,” said Nato. “The mixed conditions we experienced on Day 1 were very helpful because it allowed me to drive the car in wet, damp and dry conditions. We tried a lot of different set-ups on the car over the week and I think our pace showed promise, especially on push laps. On the long runs, we collected a lot of data that we now have to analyse before Santiago.

“I’m getting ready for the first race of the season and I’m very happy with the work we’ve done. The team did a great job at the test, with long, hard days and not the nicest weather conditions so I’m grateful for their help and all their efforts making me feel so welcome and as prepared as possible for the season ahead.”

Next up for the drivers is the opening race of the 2020 season that sees the teams travel to Santiago, Chile on 16 January, 2021.

Motorsport Technology

Motorsport Technology