Sebastien Buemi sets the pace in first Formula E test
Fans enjoy free admission and pitlane walk at Donington Park
E.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi set the fastest time during today’s maiden official test for the new FIA Formula E Championship at Donington Park, as fans got their first glimpse of the new all-electric series.
The first of five public tests took place at the Leicestershire circuit in dry, bright conditions and saw all 10 teams and drivers use the full Donington Park GP circuit, modified to include an additional chicane at the exit to the Old Hairpin.
Being the first outing for many of the drivers, the day focused on getting to grips with the Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars with German driver Daniel Abt, driving for Audi Sport Abt, laying down the early benchmark for the morning session. The German, who ended the day eighth overall after missing the afternoon session due to other commitments, lapped in the low 1:37s, closely followed by Buemi and Andretti’s Franck Montagny.
Times began to tumble in the afternoon session with Buemi once again on the pace, posting a 1:35.475s with under an hour to go and holding on to the top spot until the end of the day. Abt’s Lucas di Grassi finished over a half a second shy of the Swiss despite only running during the afternoon session with Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird a further three-tenths back in third. Mahindra Racing’s Bruno Senna ran well all day to finish fourth with Venturi’s new signing and ex-Le Mans driver Stephane Sarrazin rounding out the top-five during his first outing in a fully-electric single-seater.
Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault), son of four-time Formula One World Champion Alain, finished sixth to edge out Jarno Trulli with Virgin Racing’s Jaime Alguersuari and Mahindra Racing’s Karun Chandhok completing the top-10.
The day also saw outings for several of the championship’s new signings including Amlin Aguri duo Katherine Legge and Antonio Felix da Costa, Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld, Trulli’s Michela Cerruti and Dragon Racing’s Mike Conway.
Former F1 racer Jerome d’Ambrosio and Spain’s Antonio Garcia tested for China Racing with Scott Speed making his test debut for Andretti – sharing the car with IndyCar legend and Formula E ambassador Gil de Ferran.
Sebastien Buemi said: “I’m more than happy to be honest. I didn’t have any problems with the car at all and that meant we were able to learn quite a lot about it. It’s always nice to be P1 so let’s hope it continues tomorrow.”
Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, added: “Today’s first test has been a special occasion for everyone involved with the FIA Formula E Championship. This project has been a long time coming but to see all the cars and drivers taking part for the first test is a very proud moment and my thanks goes to all our investors, partners, teams and Formula E personnel for transforming the FIA’s dream into a reality.”
Day two of testing gets underway tomorrow at 9am with free access to fans, including a pitlane walk. For more information visit www.fiaformulae.com
FIA Formula E Championship – Day 1, Donington Park – Test results (Combined times):
1. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 1:35.475
2. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +0.537
3. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +0.895
4. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +0.910
5. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +1.223
6. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +1.232
7. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +1.494
8. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +1.737
9. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +1.970
10. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +2.057
11. Franck Montagny, Andretti Autosport, +2.587
12. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +2.604
13. Jerome d’Ambrosio, China Racing, +2.611
14. Antonio Garcia, China Racing, +2.729
15. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +5.269
16. Mike Conway, Dragon Racing, +5.693
17. Gil de Ferran, Andretti Autosport, +9.497
18. Scott Speed, Andretti Autosport, +10.434
19. Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri, +12.821
20. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, [No official time set]