Formula E in Valencia: Robin Frijns wins race simulation, Evans ends test week with track record
Nick Cassidy won the third test session at the Formula E pre-season test in Valencia. However, he was unable to beat the overall best time that his team mate Mitch Evans set on Tuesday due to power limitations after a battery in the paddock caught fire. King of Valencia Maximilian Günther finished second ahead of Cassidy's new teammate at Jaguar Mitch Evans in Friday's mammoth session, which lasted ten hours in total. A race simulation had also taken place in the morning, which Robin Frijns won. The new pit stops were simulated, but without the quick charge.
The last day of testing in Valencia began as announced with a simulation of the new race format. After initially two laps behind the safety car were followed by a "flying start". But Jehan Daruvala did not even get that far: The Indian turned into the pit lane at the end of the first lap and stopped in front of the FIA garage - no more propulsion for the Maserati. Sergio Sette Camara also had to deal with technical problems with his ERT and came into the pits one lap later.
Then the race got underway at race pace. Mitch Evans initially led ahead of Jake Dennis. The order at the start, however, was more or less coincidental - Evans had simply been the first to leave his pit box. After a few minutes Dennis took the lead, followed by Antonio Felix da Costa and Norman Nato. The new Andretti driver briefly led the race, then had to let the Porsche duo of Felix da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein go. Sacha Fenestraz, for his part, spent a few laps in the Nissan pit.
We're out on track ahead of this morning's race simulation! pic.twitter.com/xlgkSfzBmh- ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) October 27, 2023
Box stop exercises without fast charging
Then came the most important aspect of the simulation: the new pit stops. Many drivers came to their garages to mime the charging process. Due to the minimum pit stop time of 33 seconds and another 25 seconds for pit lane entry and exit, each pilot lost about one minute. Accordingly, the order in the field was shuffled.
It is worth noting that the cars were not charged! The reason: At the beginning of the test week, only eight fast chargers were available on site, i.e. not enough for all eleven teams. In addition, one charger was reportedly damaged during the fire on Tuesday. Thus, during the simulated stop, additional energy was released via the electronics, as e-Formel.de has learned. So the test was mainly to practise the processes.
The round of pit stops was followed by a full-course yellow and a safety car procedure. Then it was back to racing speed for a short time. Envision returnee Robin Frijns immediately snatched the lead from Evans. A little later, however, the safety car had to be deployed again - this time for real - because Oliver Rowland had stopped in turn 8.
The race was not reopened, so the unofficial victory went to Robin Frijns and the world champion team Envision Racing. Antonio Felix da Costa was second, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne. In total, only seven drivers finished the race. Behind the top 3, these were Wehrlein, Stoffel Vandoorne, Nyck de Vries and Ticktum - the latter one lap down after his technical problem. The regular race distance was only 27 laps, including the two opening laps behind the safety car.
Time session: Stellantis cars make good start
After a red flag interruption of around 20 minutes, regular time trials began at 9:50am. Formula E had cancelled the official lunch break to allow the teams as much track time as possible. At first, they were hesitant to take advantage of the offer, but then more and more drivers took to the track.
Not much worth mentioning happened in the first few hours. The Stellantis drivers from DS Penske and Maserati set the pace for long stretches: Stoffel Vandoorne as well as Max Günther and Jean-Eric Vergne took the lead at times. Ticktum had a radio dispute with his race engineer due to technical difficulties, Oliver Rowland was the only driver who was unable to leave his pit box for a long time and only intervened after 12 o'clock.
Not much happened over the next three hours. Some teams took a lunch break, others drove through. Jake Dennis had taken the lead in the early afternoon, followed by the Maserati duo Günther and Daruvala and Andretti team-mate Norman Nato. Otherwise, there were few changes or incidents worth mentioning.
Jaguar flourishes in the afternoon
While DS and Maserati put the fastest laps on the asphalt in the morning, Jaguar and Porsche came back stronger in the afternoon. Reigning world champion Jake Dennis led the field for a long time. This was followed by a couple of fast laps by Jake Hughes, Maximilian Günther and Lucas di Grassi, who secured the lead one after the other. However, di Grassi's lap was cancelled because he had skipped the chicane.
With just under an hour to go, Nick Cassidy and Mitch Evans made a comeback. They initially settled into fourth and sixth place and from then on steadily worked their way up the field. At one point, the new Jaguar driver was in second place behind Günther, before Mitch Evans beat Günther's best time by three thousandths of a second. In the last 5 minutes of the session Cassidy overtook his team mate and Max Günther also passed the New Zealander. Robin Frijns made a brave return after a battery replacement on his Envision and secured 4th place against Pascal Wehrlein and Norman Nato. Oliver Rowland, Jake Hughes, Jake Dennis and Stoffel Vandoorne completed the top 10.
Some teams had already started to pack the pits during the session, as the cars and car parts will be transported directly to Mexico from Valencia.
additional reporting by Svenja König