Three days of collective testing are planned at Spain’s Ricardo Tormo track in Valencia, beginning on October 2, through to October 5, with a one-day break on the Wednesday.
Although there’s been no public running since the season finale in Montreal, Virgin Racing, like the rest of the teams, has been busy tweaking its season four powertrain in private. Now, what was private becomes public, with all 10 teams running in Valencia giving the first glimpse of what they’ve been up to. But what actually happens in pre-season testing and how can you follow all the action? To explain here’s our handy guide…
Firstly, what is the point in testing?
Testing is essentially practice and, as we all know, practice makes perfect. In short, it’s the team’s chance to test their theories about the best way to make the car go faster for the energy allowed. A lot of work has already been done on the simulator but nothing is like testing it for real and correlating your theories with reality. And remember, unlike other series, Formula E happens all in one day so there’s very little margin for error and little opportunity to take big risks. As such, testing is the perfect place to take those risks and find the limits so you’re fully prepared come race day.
How do teams approach the three days?
Weather is obviously a factor but assuming the Spanish sun shines and the wind is not too strong (also a factor), then most teams will start with focusing on the balance of the car, basically ensuring it’s not under or oversteering. From here, teams will start going through their set programmes (sadly it starts to get confidential here) but this will start with replicating qualifying conditions and undertaking a race simulation, as well as aspects such as software development.
But Valencia is not a street circuit so how relevant is the data the teams get?
As with previous testing at Donington Park, the data obtained is never a direct correlation. Valencia is a purpose-built race track with a smooth race surface and plenty of run off as opposed to the rough, bumpy, tight and twisty street tracks of Formula E. However, for sure, Valencia – particularly with its track modifications – is far more representative to the street tracks Formula E race on…and also a greater chance of dry weather!
Where and when exactly is testing taking place?
All teams will be using the 3.09km National Circuit configuration of the track, with an additional chicane inserted on the start/finish straight, giving 12 turns in total. Each day of testing will be split into two sessions, with cars running between 9-12 in the morning session and 2-5 in the afternoon.
Will there be any new drivers?
More than likely. Of the 10 teams, most have now confirmed their line-up but there’s still some slots to fill. These include NEXTEV NIO, Techeetah, Andretti and Venturi.
How can I follow all the action?
Easy! Just follow through the Virgin Racing social channels and website, where we’ll be bringing you all the latest on the team with results, photos, videos and behind-the-scenes insights. Live timing will be available via the official Formula E website – www.fiaformulae.com – with the link easily found on our social channels.