Teams competing in the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship got their first chance to familiarise themselves with their Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars today during a shakedown session at Donington Park.
The teams completed a full-day of systems checks at the Leicestershire track in wet conditions using a modified configuration of the National Circuit, which included an additional chicane on the main straight.
The seven confirmed drivers – Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi (Abt), Sam Bird and Jaime Alguersuari (Virgin Racing), Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok (Mahindra Racing) and Franck Montagny (Andretti Autosport) – were all in attendance together with several new drivers under evaluation.
Rob Arnott, Team Manager at Andretti Autosport, said: “The car has run exceptionally well for us, almost like clockwork. We’ve had virtually no issues which say a lot for a car straight out of the box and Franck [Montagny] has been really surprised with the car and its balance, especially in the wet. I was concerned the tyres 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 analysis the data but it’s apparent battery management is going to be key.”
Dilbagh Gill, Team Principal at Mahindra, said: “We’ve had a few teething issues today but overall it’s been very positive. The drivers have enjoyed it and Bruno [Senna] had a big smile on his face the first time he got out of the car. We have a great team using the experience of the successful Carlin outfit so now we need to convert them from petrol heads to ‘spark heads’!”
Nicolas Mauduit, Team Manager at Venturi Automobiles, said: “Overall it’s been a very good day learning the car and running a mixture of low and medium power setups. 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.”
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 takes place on July 3 2014 with free access to members of the the public. Spectators will need to pre-register their attendance in order to gain access. For further details and to register visit http://www.donington-park.co.uk/events/formula-e-testing/.