Following an investigation by the FIA into the fire detected in one of the garages on Tuesday at Circuit Ricardo Tormo causing the suspension of all on-track activities, Formula E pre-season testing resumed in Valencia on Thursday.
In the morning, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) gave the green light for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship to resume pre-season testing in Valencia at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
“Following the incident that happened on Tuesday and subsequent investigations, the FIA has authorized Formula E pre-season testing to resume today from 2 pm CET,” read the statement released by the FIA.
Adding: “The investigations and findings provided by the technical suppliers and reviewed by the FIA confirm that it is acceptable for on-track activity to go ahead.”
“Pre-season testing will now continue through Friday.”
As session two got underway, the cars hit the track to resume testing the GEN3 machinery.
Swiss driver Edoardo Mortara wasted no time, becoming the fastest man on with Mahindra Racing, leading most of the four-hour, 30-minute session.
However, Mitch Evans got the best of his running for Jaguar TCS Racing, recording a lap time of 1:24.791s, which saw him finish first again.
On Tuesday, the 10-time E-Prix winner registered the fastest time in session one, 1:24.474s, before running was cut short following the incident in the pitlane.
After recording the fastest time on Thursday, he brought the session to an abrupt end when his car stopped on track.
Season 6 champion Antonio Felix da Costa, who took part in session two during the final hour, crossed the finish line as the second fastest at the wheel of the TAG Heuer Porsche challenger, Mortara, Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns and Da Costa teammate, Pascal Wehrlein completed the top five.
Mahindra Racing garage was adjacent to the box of Formula E battery supplier WAE, where the fire was detected and sustained substantial damage.
The only Indian team to compete at the world championship confirmed early on Thursday to have suffered damage to its trackside infrastructure, expanding to the engineering stations and both race cars.
As a result, for Thursday and Friday sessions, the squad runs the #48 car, driven by Mortara.
In that regard, Mahindra Racing CEO Frederic Bertrand commented: “First of all, I would like to extend my thanks to the Incident Response Team. Although we have sustained extensive damage to our trackside operations, without a doubt, their quick actions helped to avoid a much larger incident.
“I would also like to express my gratitude to the FIA, Formula E, and to each and every single one of our competitors. The support for Mahindra Racing at this difficult time has been unanimous and is a clear indication to me that we exist and compete as one family within the paddock.”
Bertrand remarked: “I am extremely proud of everyone at the Mahindra Racing team. It has taken a huge amount of time, effort, and dedication to get us to a position where we can resume testing with a single car in Valencia this week. Although this comes with some obvious sporting disadvantages, we are all looking forward to resuming our program.”
The teams will have a full day of running on Friday, the last before the Season 10 opener that will take place in Mexico on January 13 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
What happened on Tuesday
On Tuesday morning, an eventful opening session of pre-season testing set off the 2023/24 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship campaign, with the driver from New Zealand, Evans, topping the timesheets.
But with one hour of running remaining, the DS PENSKE of Robert Shwartzman wound up off-track in Sector 3, which caused the session to be red-flagged.
Then, in a break between practice sessions, a fire was detected in the box of the series battery supplier, canceling all on-track activities for the remainder of the day.
Later on Tuesday evening, the FIA and Formula E issued an official statement outlining: “An investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing, but has already identified an issue which is being addressed.
“The investigation and further safety assessments will be completed, and we aim to resume on-track activities from Thursday, subject to final confirmation tomorrow.”
There was no further on-track running at the circuit on Wednesday.