5 issues we realized from Method E pre-season testing 

Lower than three months separated the season finale in London from the beginning of Method E pre-season testing in Valencia final week and the start of a brand new marketing campaign. 

It was occasions off the observe that proved to be the primary speaking level from the check on the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Spain following a battery hearth which forged the check unsure. As soon as operating did finally resume it was a well-known crew on the head of the instances, with loads of different sub-plots all through the grid. 

With simply over two months till the season will get underway in Mexico Metropolis, this is what we realized from pre-season testing in Valencia: 

No room for complacency with battery security 

Photograph by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Photographs

A hearth on Tuesday triggered important disruption to pre-season testing

The upcoming season will mark 10 years because the all-electric championship was first launched, and remarkably throughout that point, there was little in the best way of dramatic battery failures. 

That each one modified on Tuesday afternoon in Valencia, although, following a small explosion and subsequent hearth within the storage of battery provider WAE (previously often called Williams Superior Engineering). The paddock was evacuated, and one particular person taken to hospital for precautionary checks, whereas operating was postponed indefinitely in order that an investigation into the incident may very well be carried out by the FIA and WAE. 

The investigation discovered that whereas the battery – taken from the DS Penske of Robert Shwartzman’s automotive after it had come to a cease on observe – was “being manually inspected by the battery single provider crew, there was an arc flash and a few sparking”. 

It confirmed after assessing all different energy provides that “not one of the batteries presents the identical sort of signs because the unit that failed”, with the identical specification of battery having been utilized in all vehicles at each race final season. 

Happy with the findings, testing resumed on Thursday afternoon and throughout Friday with energy output restricted to 300kW as a security precaution. Regardless of shedding a scheduled day and a half, the precise observe time was solely lowered by half-hour though in actuality it was barely extra as groups wanted to recharge vehicles through the practically 10-hour session on Friday. 

NEWS: How Mahindra rose from the ashes after Method E’s Valencia battery hearth

Following the check, all batteries shall be returned to WAE previous to the Mexico Metropolis E-Prix in January, which though initially deliberate earlier than the incident will little doubt tackle better significance after the occasions of final week. The failure in Valencia has acted as a well timed reminder that because the all-electric championship pushes the boundaries of battery know-how, security should stay a primary precedence. 

Jaguar’s powertrain stays the category of the sector 

Jaguar head into the season-opening weekend with their heads up after dominating testing

Photograph by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Photographs

Jaguar head into the season-opening weekend with their heads up after dominating testing

Jake Dennis could have received the 2022-23 Method E title with the assistance of Porsche energy aboard his Andretti International machine, however over the second half of the season Jaguar and its buyer outfit Envision got here to the fore because the package deal to beat. 

That sturdy type from the Massive Cats continued into pre-season testing, with Mitch Evans quickest on Tuesday and Thursday earlier than Nick Cassidy, who has joined his fellow Kiwi within the manufacturing facility Jaguar fold after transferring from Envision, set the tempo on Friday. 

Robin Frijns made it three Jaguar-powered vehicles inside the highest 4 on the ultimate day, the Dutchman having changed Cassidy at Envision, whereas his team-mate Sebastien Buemi accomplished essentially the most laps throughout Friday’s operating with 127. 

Earlier within the day, Frijns had additionally headed the simulation race from Evans, signifying the British producer’s sturdy type regardless of Jaguar crew boss James Barclay warning towards complacency. 

“I feel in motorsport typically, and significantly Method E, you may in a short time be silly and we should not take something as a right,” he mentioned. “The standard of the competitors right here in Method E is improbable, however I feel what you may say is our base package deal, evaluate it to final yr means we begin with a great baseline.” 

With many points of the Gen3 vehicles homologated this season the formbook from final time period is prone to stay largely the identical, at the very least initially. As ever testing instances needs to be taken with a pinch of salt, particularly from an occasion the place operating was compromised for everybody, even when the whole subject was coated by lower than 0.7s on the ultimate day. Even so, for Jaguar’s rivals there have been ominous indicators. 

De Vries up towards it on Method E return 

He may be a returning champion, but things are not going De Vries' way so far

Photograph by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Photographs

He could also be a returning champion, however issues are usually not going De Vries’ method to date

Nyck de Vries’s return to Method E couldn’t have been in harder circumstances. The Dutchman had not pushed a Gen3 machine for greater than a yr after a one-off check session previous to his fleeting AlphaTauri Method 1 transfer, that means each lap in testing could be essential. 

After ending backside of the order in Tuesday’s opening session as he received again in control, catastrophe struck the Mahindra squad amidst the battery hearth incident, having been positioned subsequent door to the WAE storage. 

The crew’s IT gear was put out of motion, as was de Vries’s automotive, leaving the squad with just one for the rest of the check. Edoardo Mortara accomplished the operating on Thursday earlier than de Vries had sole use of the automotive on Friday, registering 100 laps. The truth that the crew had been in a position to proceed in any respect was a testomony to their efforts. “I am tremendous proud, nobody has mentioned ‘okay we won’t handle’ as a result of it was actually unhealthy shock after unhealthy shock,” mentioned crew boss Frederic Bertrand. 

Mahindra can even be “compensated” for its misplaced operating in Valencia and can be capable to run at the very least one automotive at a personal check between now and the season opener in Mexico. For a crew which struggled within the first yr of the Gen3 machine after being delayed with its growth, as a lot observe time as doable shall be wanted whether it is to climb the sector this season. 

Bertrand added: “It’ll by no means be pretty much as good as being with everybody, it can by no means be as environment friendly, it can by no means give us the identical sort of data. However okay, that is a part of the sport, we’ll lose a bit of bit.” 

Jury nonetheless out on fast-charging pitstops 

Fast charging pit stops are set to be introduced this year, but the jury remains undecided on the prospect

Photograph by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Photographs

Quick charging pit stops are set to be launched this yr, however the jury stays undecided on the prospect

One new facet set to be launched this season is the addition of fast-charging pitstops, that are due for use at sure races for the primary time in 2024. Because the title suggests, the idea is to fast-charge the vehicles through pitstops in a bid so as to add a brand new strategic component to races. 

The know-how was examined in Valencia as a part of an ongoing course of, however because of the battery hearth earlier within the week this was restricted. Groups solely simulated the process throughout Friday’s mock race, remaining stationary for about 30 seconds earlier than rejoining, whereas it was used throughout testing itself however at a lowered voltage. 

Having already been delayed final season resulting from an absence of infrastructure and information, questions stay about whether or not the know-how shall be prepared forward of this marketing campaign regardless of having been written into the present laws. 

“We’ve not carried out a lot testing on it,” mentioned Andretti International crew supervisor Roger Griffiths. “We simulated I assume the actions of doing the assault cost simply to get an understanding of the strategic component. I feel what’s most likely not that well-known is there are various points to the assault cost which we’ve to tick the packing containers on. There’s the know-how, is it sturdy, is it dependable, is it going to operate each single time? There’s the sporting component, how are the laws going to work, is it going to work properly on an extended observe, is it going to work properly on a brief observe?  

“There’s lots to be carried out, I must say it is most likely come a bit of later than we might have been tremendous snug with.” 

2024 calendar but to be finalised 

Undecided venues, tracks set to be changed. There is a distinct lack of clarity in the current calendar

Photograph by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Photographs

Undecided venues, tracks set to be modified. There’s a distinct lack of readability within the present calendar

Though the 2023-24 calendar was introduced earlier this month following the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council assembly, there stay some unknowns forward of the brand new season. 

The vacation spot of the race in Rome on 13-14 April has but to be determined, with representatives from Misano and Vallelunga having held talks with Method E because the championship eyes races on extra conventional circuits. However there stays a chance that the Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR web site, used since 2018, might nonetheless maintain the race however with a brand new format higher suited to Gen3 machines. 

Motorsport.com understands that the format of the Tempelhof Airport Avenue Circuit for the Berlin E-Prix can be set to be utterly revised in an try to supply higher racing given the quicker, extra aero-draggy Gen3 machines. 

Stories in native media additionally recommend that the Jakarta race, which was dropped, is looking for to return to the calendar, presumably as early as this season with talks ongoing and which might add to the present 16-race schedule. 

Whereas the format for the first-ever Tokyo E-Prix was unveiled throughout testing which options an 18-turn, 2.582km road circuit surrounding the Tokyo Worldwide Exhibition Centre.

Nick Cassidy, who has joined the factory Jaguar fold after moving from Envision, set the pace on Friday

Photograph by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Photographs

Nick Cassidy, who has joined the manufacturing facility Jaguar fold after transferring from Envision, set the tempo on Friday

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