Preview: Everything you need to know about Formula E pre-season testing in Valencia 2023
Formula E is back - at least for its annual collective testing in Valencia. Next week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, the eleven teams will take to the track in a total of six sessions to prepare for the upcoming 2023/24 World Championship season, which will start in Mexico on 13 January. Read everything you need to know about the pre-season test in our preview.
What's on the schedule in Valencia and how can I follow the test?
On Sunday, the Formula E teams will already start setting up their garages. Various meetings and compulsory appointments for the participants are scheduled for Monday, then it's time to get serious: Tuesday morning from 9 am to 12 pm (CEST) is the first of six test sessions. After a two-hour lunch break, the afternoon session continues from 2 to 5 pm (CEST). This daily schedule awaits the drivers and teams on Wednesday and Friday as well. Thursday is reserved for media activities, so there will be no official session.
In addition to the regular time trials, two race simulations are planned to test the new race format. Formula E will introduce the new "Attack Charge" at the start of the season in January: fast-charging pit stops where the drivers are supposed to refuel energy and activate the Attack Mode. Formula E has not yet announced exactly when the simulations will take place.
Pre-season testing will not be broadcast on TV or online. Formula E will only provide a livetiming. However, e-Formula.news will be at the track and report on the action in Valencia with daily summaries, among other things. We'll also be steadily updating a Valencia edition of our popular "Paddock Whispers" series from Monday to Friday.
Which drivers & teams are taking part in the tests?
By today, all teams have presented their driver line-ups for the upcoming Formula E season. You can find an overview including all starting numbers on our Drivers and Teams Overview. In addition, numerous rookies will be given a test drive.
What's the deal with the rookies in Valencia?
For the first time in pre-season testing all teams had to nominate at least one rookie who had not competed in a Formula E race before. The inclusion of rookies is intended to give them a rare testing opportunity to draw attention to themselves with good performances. Rookies can theoretically take part in any of the six sessions, with the exception of the race simulations.
"We are excited to give the very best emerging racing talent the chance to show why they deserve a seat in the championship in the future - by going up against the elite drivers and world champions in Formula E today," explains Alberto Longo, co-founder and Chief Championship Officer of Formula E.
Overview: Rookie entry list for the Formula E tests in Valencia 2023
|Team||Driver 1||Driver 2 (optional)|
|ABT Cupra||Tim Tramnitz||Adrian Tambay|
|DS Penske||Robert Shwartzman||-|
|Envision Racing||Jack Aitken||-|
|Jaguar TCS Racing||Sheldon van der Linde||-|
|Mahindra Racing||Jordan King||-|
|Maserati MSG Racing||Jehan Daruvala*||Yann Ehrlacher|
|Neom McLaren||Taylor Barnard||-|
|Nio 333 Racing||Mikel Azcona||-|
|Nissan||Luca Ghiotto||Victor Martins|
|TAG Heuer Porsche||Gabriela Jilkova||-|
* Note: Jehan Daruvala counts as a rookie himself and therefore does not have to vacate his cockpit for another driver.
Where will the Formula E test drives take place?
As in previous years, pre-season testing will be held at the permanent Circuit Ricardo Tormo near Valencia. It will use the same circuit configuration as last year: it runs counter-clockwise for 3.376 km, has a total of 15 corners and an artificially constructed chicane on the start and finish straight to accommodate the "normal" Formula E characteristics a bit more.
For years, drivers and teams have criticised that the Valencia track layout is not very representative of Formula E, which tends to race on bumpy street circuits during its season. Test data and lap times should therefore be treated with caution. Not least because of the usually stable Spanish weather at this time of year, Formula E nevertheless returns to Valencia year after year.
"This test is always cool because all the teams and all the drivers are there," says Porsche driver Antonio Felix da Costa. "There we can see in direct comparison where we are, where we are already strong and where we might still have to improve."
What can we expect from pre-season testing?
On the Gen3 car that made its public test debut in Valencia a year ago, nothing has changed in terms of hardware. The tyres also remain identical in season 10. "We have made no changes to our tyre for the upcoming season. For one thing, the tyre is 100 per cent in line with Formula E specifications, and for another, the compound and construction has worked wonderfully," says Felix Kinzer, communications director of supplier Hankook. Nevertheless, the teams have improved a lot over the past twelve months - in the area of software, among other things - and have been able to gain a lot of experience with the Gen3 car.
It can therefore be assumed that the lap time record from last year will fall. The best time of the 2022 test week was set by Max Günther in the Maserati. The German lapped the circuit in 1:25.127 minutes. Apart from that, a year ago some teams were still struggling with technical difficulties, which should not occur with the same frequency this year. Formula E was also able to sort out the frightening accidents due to brake failure with an upgrade earlier this year. So we expect fewer interruptions and red flags.
Who the favourites are is hard to say and ultimately hardly relevant due to the characteristic of the Valencia circuit. Last year, Maserati MSG Racing had the edge. During the season, however, it was mainly the Jaguar and Porsche cars that set the pace. But Nissan and its customer team McLaren were also tops on a fast lap. The most exciting part for us will be the race simulations, where the new Attack Charge will be seen in public for the first time - because it is still not entirely clear how exactly the fast-charging pit stops will be incorporated into racing.