As last year, the ABB FIA Formula E Championship went to the 4.005-km long Circuit Ricardo Tormo, with Tuesday being the first time all 22 cars go out on track together, ahead of the first race in Saudi Arabia on 15th December 2018.
Despite all 22 cars having their first outing Venturi’s Felipe Massa thinks: „You can’t compare this test to a race. It’s not giving us a real understanding of how it’s going to be during race weekends with all the others. The tight tracks Formula E is racing on are really making a difference.“
„It’s also quite interesting that I don’t know any of the new tracks so there is a lot to learn for us new drivers and with 22 cars it will be busy. In addition it’s crucial to understand how to race with these cars compared to what I was used to do in my career until now“, the Brazilian driver closed.
Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing) jumped on and admitted that he also prefers challenging street circuits: „One mistake and you end up in the wall. That’s a point I really appreciate, as most of the times you speak about track limits and white lines and if you can cross them or not and on a street circuit it is very clear where the limit is.“
Another limit has been created by an artificial chicane at the end of the start/finish straight. The electric race cars have to be slowed down artificially otherwise the straight would be too long. It is the same point where Gary Paffett caused a moment of suspense by testing the limit, hitting that artificial chicane. Apart from slight damage to the car, nothing further happened even if he couldn’t rejoin the session.
Issues have also been a topic for HWA’s Formula E Rookie Stoffel Vandoorne. „Today was difficult for us, as we missed a lot of running time due to issues. On the other hand, they were expected because we are a new team and there are a lot of things we have to get on top of. The aim for this test is to get everything right operationally and make sure we get all the procedures right and hopefully we turn up with a good package for the first race in Riyadh.“
Having missed season 4, Robin Frijns returns to the grid for Envision Virgin Racing in Season 5. The Dutch driver’s day also had its fair share of problems. Nevertheless, both he and the team hopes to benefit from using the Audi powertrain. „Sometimes it’s not easy to get everything to run smoothly, especially with a new package. But we will try to look into certain things and it will hoepfully be better tomorrow.“
At the end the day passed as quickly as the driver made their times on the sheet fall. At the end of the day it was BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Rookie driver Alexander Sims who set fastest time in both – the morning and the afternoon session with a lap time of 1:17.553s.
Despite the order on the time sheets, of course, it’s too early to say anything. „Comparing the first test that we did to the last one, all I can say is that we really improved the car. But as we were testing alone it’s hard to say where we are compared to the others.“
„We still need to improve and understand so many things to develop the car as well as the team in the right way before the start of the season as the competition is high. We can only compare to the others when everyone is giving the maximum at the first race weekend. I hope we can be as competitive then and fighting for good positions“, summarised Massa.