Nicolas Prost has led a Renault e.Dams one-two on the sixth and final day of Formula E pre-season testing.
The day began on a solemn note, as drivers and team members alike joined together in the pit lane for one minute’s silence in remembrance of Justin Wilson. Wilson competed in last season’s Moscow ePrix, finishing in tenth place for his Andretti team. The Briton was highly regarded within the Formula E paddock, as he very much was around the world.
Prost’s fastest lap of 1:30.513s was set during the morning session, and with rain disrupting the afternoon running yet again, his time stayed at the top all day with team mate Sébastien Buemi 0.288 seconds behind. Dragon Racing’s Jérôme d’Ambrosio ended the day in third, ahead of Mahindra’s Bruno Senna and Venturi’s Stéphane Sarrazin.
Prost was happy to end testing on a high, but remains wary of rival teams heading in to the season. The Frenchman is also pleased that the ‘Race Mode’ power of the Formula E cars has increased for the forthcoming season
“Last week we were a bit lost but the last two days from my side have been really positive,” he said. “We had a really, really good pace. I’m quite happy but not over-confident as Abt was looking really strong, Sam Bird is looking strong. Reliability for us has been good too. For me and my driving style I think it’s better to have more power. It makes it a lot nicer to drive. 170kW makes it more challenging.”
Buemi, on the other hand, felt there is far more to come from the new Renault powertrain as the team prepares for the opening round in Beijing in less than two months’ time.
“We could have done some things better, but the most important thing is to get ready for Beijing,” he said. “So we were not able to show what we could do. The cars seems to be good, we’ve improved the reliability a lot, we drove in all kinds of conditions, so from that side I’m quite happy and I’m confident we can have a strong weekend in Beijing and I’m looking forward to seeing how the car behaves on a proper circuit.”
Further back in the field, IndyCar driver Stefano Coletti became the latest Formula E rookie to be trialed by Team Aguri. The Monegasque driver finishing in tenth place after completing 38 laps.
For the Andretti team who have struggled to get on track during the whole pre-season, there was positive developments. An overnight switch from its troublesome Andretti ATEC-01 powertrain back to the season one-specification SRT-01e (as still used by Team Aguri) was successful and allowed both Simona de Silvestro and another new driver in Robin Frijns to complete the team’s first flying laps ahead of Season 2.
De Silvestro completed 31 laps for eleventh on the timesheets, while Frijns’ performance stood out with the Dutchman setting the second fastest lap of the afternoon session on his way to eighth overall.
Even the Trulli team managed to run on circuit for the first time as Vitantonio Liuzzi clocked seven installation laps. While this is a step forward for the team, the team did not manage to set a flying lap time, and head to Beijing at a significant disadvantage. One wonders whether the precedent set by Andretti of switching back to the SRT-01e package for the opening event is now the team’s best option to at least run in China.
Fifty-one days now remain before the opening of the second FIA Formula E championship season, the Beijing ePrix on Saturday 17 October 2015.
|2015-16 Formula E Formula E Pre-Season Test – Day 6 Session Times|
|Pos||Driver||Team / Entry||Time||Gap||Laps|
|1.||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.DAMS||1:30.513||39|
|2.||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.DAMS||1:30.801||+ 0.288||35|
|3.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:30.860||+ 0.347||33|
|4.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:30.869||+ 0.356||47|
|5.||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||1:30.923||+ 0.410||41|
|6.||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing Formula E Team||1:30.997||+ 0.484||45|
|7.||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:31.259||+ 0.746||36|
|8.||Robin Frijns||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:31.434||+ 0.921||37|
|9.||Jacques Villeneuve||Venturi Formula E Team||1:31.895||+ 1.382||38|
|10.||Stefano Coletti||Team Aguri||1:32.573||+ 2.060||38|
|11.||Simona de Silvestro||Amlin Andretti Formula E Team||1:33.180||+ 2.667||31|
|12.||Nelson Piquet Jr||NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team||1:33.679||+ 3.166||32|
|13.||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:34.384||+ 3.871||39|
|14.||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||1:36.176||+ 5.663||27|
|15.||Vitantonio Liuzzi||Trulli Formula E Team||no time||7|
Images via FIA Formula E Championship