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Porsche of Da Costa on track at Formula E testing in Valencia

Formula E: Drivers’ initial thoughts as testing gets back underway

Testing recommenced on Thursday afternoon

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Formula E pre-season testing has resumed at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia following Tuesday’s fire.

McLaren Formula E drivers Jake Hughes and Sam Bird
Sam Bird partners Jake Hughes at McLaren for Season 10. (Image credit: Simon Galloway / Formula E)

After a day and a half of delays, on-track action has returned to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo. Testing resumed at 2pm local time following hours of uncertainty. Only three hours of testing had been completed on Tuesday, with the first day brought to an early end after a fire in the WAE pit garage.

Mitch Evans led the way in Tuesday morning’s session with a lap time of 1:24.474. Second to the Jaguar driver was Porsche’s Antonio Felix da Costa, a just over a tenth off of Evans. Whilst the quickest laps were set with a power output of 350 kW, the fastest lap at a 300 kW output was set by Jean-Eric Vergne. The DS Penske driver set a time of 1:25.426.

Getting back into the swing of things

Even despite the limited running, McLaren’s Jake Hughes shared that he had learned “quite a bit” from Tuesday’s session. “The track’s been resurfaced, so it’s different without being drastically different,” Hughes told FormulaNerds. Hughes stated that, compared to last year’s day one testing times, “the lap times are noticeably faster”.

There’s around 1.6 seconds difference between the fastest time set in session one at last year’s pre-season test. A lap time of 1:26.096 was set by Maserati’s Max Günther. Hughes himself improved on the fastest lap he set in session one last year by about half a second.

Much of Tuesday morning was spent “getting used to things again”, said Hughes. “I hadn’t driven anything since London, believe it or not,” the Brit elaborated. “It’s been a while for me.”

Hughes added, “Quite quickly we got down some test items, some important ones that we all established or identified we wanted to improve on from last year, so we got some good data for that.” 

Porsche feeling competitive — but too soon to tell

Although Antonio Felix da Costa finished second-fastest, the Porsche driver spent the latter stages of the session in the top spot. Teammate Pascal Wehrlein wasn’t far off the pace, logging the fifth fastest lap.

“As soon as we left the garage the car was competitive and looking at 12 months ago, that wasn’t the case,” Da Costa told FormulaNerds. “Everything is just in a much better place. The car is much better on setup side, we’ve brought some updates here as well and things are working well.” 

But it was still too soon to take much away after only three hours of testing. “Obviously I don’t like to judge performance after only three hours of running,” said Da Costa. “Jake [Dennis], for example, wasn’t even in the car so it’s not fair or we shouldn’t be celebrating anything.”

He added, “I’ll be happy to take some conclusions after three days of testing but we haven’t done that yet. We have a huge list of items we want to bring forward, so we focus on our stuff. We believe we’ve done some good steps forward, let’s see where we are.”

Day two of testing saw rookie Gabriela Jílková occupy Da Costa’s seat for the majority of the session, with the Portuguese driver taking part in the final hour. Both drivers will take part in the final day of testing on Friday, which has been extended to ten hours of uninterrupted running to compensate for testing time lost throughout the week.

Featured Image Credit: Simon Galloway / Formula E 

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