Formula E

After battery fire at Formula E pre-season testing in Valencia: FIA publishes results of investigation

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

The FIA, the car's world governing body, has now published the results of its extensive investigation into the incident following the fire at Formula E's pre-season testing in Valencia on Tuesday. In order to reduce the risk of a similar defect, the available power had been reduced to 300 kW for the remainder of the tests.

A fire in the garage of battery supplier WAE Technologies had paralysed testing at Circuit Ricardo Tormo for a total of 48 hours. WAE had previously brought the faulty battery from Robert Shwartzman's DS Penske to its garage to carry out an investigation on the battery, which weighed around 280 kg with its carbon casing.

"While being manually inspected by the battery single supplier team, there was an arc flash and some sparking, that resulted in a localised fire," the FIA summarised the incident in a statement. In order to rule out the possibility of this incident happening again, all the batteries were subsequently subjected to an intensive check.

"The single supplier of batteries for Formula E cars has assessed available data for all batteries and confirmed that none of the batteries present the same type of symptoms as the unit that failed," the statement continues. It added that the batteries were the same as those used in the 2023 races. "The batteries are of the same specification as used in all twenty-two cars and sixteen races last season."

"Requirements are within acceptable safety tolerances"

After finding no fundamental problem with the batteries, the FIA gave the go-ahead to resume testing on Thursday afternoon: "The investigations and findings provided by the single supplier of batteries for Formula E cars and reviewed by the FIA confirm that use of the battery packs in line with the single supplier's recommendations and requirements are within acceptable safety tolerances for a motorsport environment and therefore acceptable for on-track activity to go ahead."

Nevertheless, there were some restrictions on the continuation of testing that all teams and drivers had to take into account. "In addition to the normal monitoring, and to mitigate risks, a series of additional safety measures have been introduced including reducing the power output (from 350) to 300kW and investigating with immediate effect any potential issue or similar occurrence," the statement continued.

Formula E extended the remaining sessions to make up for lost time. So on Thursday, 4.5 hours were run instead of three. On Friday, the available time was even extended from six hours to 9:45 hours.

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