Formula E rookie test in Berlin: Felipe Drugovich & Maserati with best time, Sheldon van der Linde crashes
Aston Martin's Formula 1 junior driver Felipe Drugovich completed the Formula E rookie test with the fastest lap time. The Brazilian, who competed for Maserati MSG, managed a lap time of 1:05.509 minutes on the Berlin-Tempelhof circuit. The German junior drivers, David Beckmann and Tim Tramnitz, made it to 8th and 11th place. For astonishment caused an incident with Sheldon van der Linde, who had to end the session early after a mysterious accident.
After the rainy race Sunday, the sun shone again over Tempelhof on Monday morning. With still fresh 15 degrees air temperature, it went off punctually at 9 o'clock. The rookies had three hours in the morning session to familiarize themselves with the Gen3 car and to promote themselves. Initially, however, only a few drivers were on track, including the two Mahindra - Jordan King and Jehan Daruvala - and Will Stevens in DS.
The rookie test is underway! ?- Envision Racing (@Envision_Racing) April 24, 2023
Jack Aitken is in the car for this morning's session, with Jonny Edgar set to take his turn in the afternoon. pic.twitter.com/cYvNxMRUp1
Envision surprisingly entered only one car on Monday. According to information from 'e-formula.news', Sebastien Buemi's #16 car was already on its way to Italy for investigation by chassis manufacturer Dallara with damage from Sunday's race. Jack Aitken had to share "his" car with the starting number 37 accordingly with Jonny Edgar and should hand over in the afternoon to his British compatriot.
Overview: The entry list for the 2023 Formula E rookie test
|Team||Driver 1 (number)||Driver 2 (number)|
|ABT Cupra||Tim Tramnitz (4)||Adrian Tambay (51)|
|Avalanche Andretti||Zane Maloney (27)||Linus Lundqvist (36)|
|DS Penske||Will Stevens (1)||Robert Shwartzman (25)|
|Envision Racing||Jack Aitken (37, morning)||Jonny Edgar (37, afternoon)|
|Jaguar TCS Racing||Sheldon van der Linde (31)||Simon Evans (99)|
|Mahindra Racing||Jordan King (morning) & Roberto Merhi (afternoon) (8)||Jehan Daruvala (11)|
|Maserati MSG Racing||Felipe Drugovich (7)||Hugh Barter (48)|
|Neom McLaren||Luke Browning (5)||Charlie Eastwood (58)|
|Nio 333 Racing||Daniil Kvyat (3)||Mikel Azcona (33)|
|Nissan||Luca Ghiotto (17)||Victor Martins (23)|
|TAG Heuer Porsche||Ye Yifei (13)||David Beckmann (94)|
Mahindra set the pace in the first quarter of an hour. The two ABT testers Adrien Tambay and Tim Tramnitz were also on track early with their customer Mahindra. The Indian manufacturer apparently also wanted to use the test to drive forward its own development for the current season. King's early best time was "only" a good two seconds slower than the previous track record (1:05.301 minutes; Max Günther).
After the first half hour, only 16 of the 22 drivers had set a lap time. The fastest was Jack Aitken in the Envision with the first 1:06 time of the day. He was followed by Zane Maloney (Andretti) and Robert Shwartzman (DS). Then Jaguar rookie Simon Evans - brother of Berlin winner Mitch - stopped on the long back straight in Sector 2. Race control had yellow flags waved in the meantime, but then the race continued.
Jaguar also top on rookie morning
After 40 minutes, King set a new best mark. He was matched in the following minutes by Shwartzman, Felipe Drugovich, Daniil Kvyat and Sheldon van der Linde. After the first of six hours of testing, DS driver Shwartzman (1:06.437 minutes) led ahead of Maloney and Drugovich. Then things quietened down at Tempelhof. Only Maloney, van der Linde and Shwartzman managed any notable improvements by the halfway point of the morning session. Rounding out the top 5 at this point were Victor Martins and Linus Lundqvist.
In the next half hour, another name joined the leading group: Luca Ghiotto put his Nissan in interim fifth place. In the lead at that time was Shwartzman ahead of Kvyat. Most teams concentrated on collecting data. ABT Cupra, for example, confirmed in response to our inquiry that the German team had not planned a qualifying lap with 350 kW of power. The focus was primarily on energy management.
By the 12:00 noon break, lap times tumbled to 1:05.814 minutes. This best was achieved by van der Linde in the factory Jaguar. Behind him, Ghiotto, Daruvala, Kvyat and Shwartzman completed the top 5. David Beckmann in the Porsche finished 14th, while compatriot Tim Tramnitz in the ABT Cupra was 19th, missing out on the top spot by a good 1.3 seconds.
Showers of rain during the lunch break had no effect
After the two-hour interruption, the teams continued their development programs. A short, heavy rain shower immediately before the start of the session initially caused somewhat slower lap times. But after just a few minutes, the drivers had returned to the time level of the morning.
In the first phase of the afternoon, the Germans - Beckmann and Tramnitz - set the pace: After 30 minutes, both had already beaten the morning's best time. A little later, however, Shwartzman and Martins were able to set good times again and take the lead. Then there was the first and only red flag of the day, brought out by Sheldon van der Linde.
Since no TV cameras were filming the rookie test, few details of the crash were initially known. However, the South African is believed to have gone off the track at turn 6, damaging the right side of his car's front end.
Behind a lowered garage door, Jaguar began evaluating data from the crashed vehicle as early as Monday afternoon - so a simple driving error is unlikely. According to our information, Williams Advanced Engineering (battery manufacturer) and Spark Racing Technologies (chassis manufacturer) are also said to be keen to respond. In response to inquiries from 'e-Formel.de', however, all parties involved held back from announcing initial conclusions. It was too early, they said, to name reasons for the crash.
Drugovich sets late pole-level best time
After the session was interrupted, however, lap times improved once again. Zane Maloney in particular was able to put exclamation marks with good sectors, but ultimately Felipe Drugovich managed the best lap. He completed a lap in 1:05.509 minutes - 0.104 seconds faster than Sebastien Buemi's pole lap before Saturday's race. On the other hand, he was two tenths of a second off Günther's record lap - also in a Maserati.
Second was Victor Martins ahead of Maloney, Ghiotto and Shwartzman. Porsche's test driver David Beckmann was eighth in the end, while Tim Tramnitz finished the session in 11th place for ABT Cupra. Immediately after the test, the cars were loaded for transport to Monaco. The next world championship round of the electric series will take place there on May 6.
additional reporting by Tobias Bluhm