The FIA Formula E championship has returned to the race track, as the ten teams and their drivers all rack up their respective lap counts around the Circuit Ricardo Tormo-Valencia. The three day test allows the teams to trial their season four competitors, and offers an opportunity for any new drivers to the all-electric series to experience the cars behind the wheel.
The 3.09km national circuit in Valencia is a change of destination for the Formula E pre-season testing, having been held at the base of Formula E in Donington in the UK for the past three years. It was widely known that the British circuit was in no way representative of the street circuits the championship race on, with Valencia expected to offer more reliable and relevant data for the teams. The Circuit Ricardo Tormo-Valencia has also had a chicane added to the start finish straight just before the entry into turn 1, something that is also expected to make the track more like the street circuits the championship race on.
Temporary Chicane causes complaints from drivers
A chicane that has been added to the start finish straight, around three quarters of the way down, has caused many drivers to speak out and critic the temporary structure.
Put in place to slow the cars down and replicate more of a ‘street circuit’ vibe to the Valencian track, the concreate and tyre barrier has been labelled as a step in the wrong direction for Formula E safety.
Sam Bird of DS Virgin Racing was the first casualty into the barriers earlier, damaging the right side of his car; something that was rebuilt by mechanics into the afternoon.
It is understood that the drivers made several comments Monday morning in the drivers’ briefing, ahead of day one of testing, showing their disapproval of the chicane and questioning why it was not similar to the structures that are used during ePrix around city centres.
BLOG – Meet the new Formula E Contenders
With pre-season testing currently underway for season four of the FIA Formula E championship, many teams have used the opportunity to explore driver options for the season ahead.
The pre-season testing in Valencia is welcoming seven new drivers, and below is a quick “who’s who” guide to the new talent we can expect on track over the next three days.
READ the full article here: Pre-season testing: Meet the new Formula E Contenders
REACTION – Seeing Double? Confusion between MS&AD Andretti and NIO Liveries
After Andretti secured a new title sponsor in insurance company MS&AD, a change of colour scheme and livery was inevitable. Unfortunately, this change of design is almost identical to that of neighbour garage NIO Formula E Team. The two teal liveries have been causing confusion amongst media and fans online, and even the mechanics themselves!
New title partner for Andretti Formula E Team
Andretti have welcomed a new title sponsor to their team, resulting in a rebrand and new team name – MS&AD Andretti.
MS&AD Insurance are a large Japanese company and a great choice for a title sponsor, with ever growing interest in electric vehicles and the Formula E championship in Asia. It is understood that Japanese viewers are one of the top three audiences for the all-electric championship.
The American team, who confirmed they will continue to race Antonio Felix da Costa throughout season four, are also trialling two new and fresh Formula E talents for the chance of their second racing seat in Valencia.
Alexander Sims and Tom Blomqvist, both British BMW works drivers, are taking to the track on Monday with Sims in the morning and Blomqvist in the afternoon. They will then both test the cars in full on Tuesday with confirmed season four driver da Costa watching from the sidelines. Thursday will also see Tom and Antonio test the Andretti car in its new teal livery.
NIO Formula E Team unveil Season four car and driver line-up
The newly rebranded NIO Formula E Team will continue to race Briton Oliver Turvey, who will begin his third season with the team, as well as welcoming a new face in the Formula E paddock: Luca Filippi.
The Italian racer has experience with a large selection of racing series, beginning his career at Formula Renault 2000 and the 2005 Italian Formula 3000 Championship, winning the latter. From there Filippi has had stints with Minardi and Honda in Formula 1, becoming a test driver for the Japanese team before they departed the sport in 2008. At this time he also began a GP2 career before making the jump to the Indy Car series in 2013.
Discussing his new motorsport challenge, Filippi said: “it is a new electric world for me and a new racing system oriented to the future that is full of talent and clean technology, so I am extremely excited to become a part of it.
“During [my] first test run in Spain I immediately had a great feeling with the car and all the people in the team. To join NIO for Season Four is a dream come true and I am very much looking forward to working with Oliver and Gerry [Hughes] and starting this journey with everyone in the NIO Formula E team.”
The car will continue to be powered by NextEV, a former title sponsor for the team.