Mitch Evans ended first day on top in 2023/24 pre-season test at Valencia, as Formula E had to cut short running due to fire.
Test Session 1 –
The 2023/24 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship kicked off in earnest with the opening session of the Valencia test from Circuit Ricardo Tormo, as Jaguar TCS Racing’s Mitch Evans fired to the top of the times. Mitch Evans flew out of the gates in the opening session of the Valencia test with the fastest time of the morning’s running on a 1m24.474s as the chequered flag approached.
The Jaguar TCS Racing driver headed TAG Heuer Porsche’s Antonio Felix da Costa, with the Season 6 champion winding up 0.143s back ahead of third-fastest Sebastien Buemi in the Teams’ title-winning Envision Racing car.
Edoardo Mortara (Mahindra Racing), Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche), Maximilian Guenther (Maserati MSG Racing) and rookie tester Taylor Barnard in the NEOM McLaren rounded out the top seven on the timesheet, all within last year’s fastest time from testing set by Guenther; a 1m25.127s – such has been the pace of development in 10 months since GEN3’s debut outing. We also caught a first glimpse of fast charging in the flesh, with each team trialling the technology for the first time proper in a live Formula E pit-lane.
Porsche had hit the ground running early on, with Pascal Wehrlein setting a 1m26.167s and da Costa following just a couple of tenths of a second back. The team looked strong throughout GEN3’s inaugural campaign and showed dominant pace through the opening throes. Team Principal Florian Modlinger says that qualifying and one-lap performance has been an off-season focus given their relative struggles in that department as Season 9 wore on.
Rookie Barnard set the timesheets alight to go top at around the half-way stage of the opening session, driving Sam Bird’s NEOM McLaren. The rookie steered to a 1m24.929s, which was well within Maximilian Guenther’s fastest time from the Valencia test last season (a 1m25.127s).
With just under an hour’s running left, Robert Shwartzman at DS PENSKE wound up off-track in Sector 3 required the use of the jib and a precautionary outing from the medical car. The final flurry of times saw Evans the cream rising to the top.
Formula E ends day early due to fire –
Following the incident earlier today, the FIA have advised Formula E and all teams that on-track activities have been cancelled for the rest of the day. This will allow for the area to return to safe working conditions. Further updates will be shared in due course.
UPDATE: Formula E shared an update regarding the person who was taken to hospital, as they have cancelled running on Day 2 with testing action to resume on Thursday once confirmed.
[Note: The story is as per press release]