Formula E News – Pit lane fire brings test day 1 to an early end

Formula E: Mitch Evans set the quickest time in the morning, but the afternoon pre-season testing session was canceled due to a fire in the pits during lunch.

At the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, drivers and a few novices took to the track for a three-hour morning session to begin testing for the tenth season of Formula E. This year’s modification is that on Tuesday and Wednesday, each team will lend one practice session in each vehicle to a rookie. The lone exception to this rule is Maserati, where Jehan Daruvala, their recently hired driver, will not be required to forfeit a session because he is a rookie this season.

Day 1 of the 2023 Valencia Test Results

Rookie driver Taylor Barnard set a 1:24.929 lap time in Sam Bird’s McLaren during the morning session, besting the fastest time from the previous year’s test, which was recorded by Maximilian Guenther at 1:25.127. The session was red flagged for around fifteen minutes prior to the start of the final hour when Robert Shwartzman’s DS Penske, driven by Stoffel Vandoorne, came to a stop on the circuit.

Lap times dropped after the session resumed, and Mitch Evans of Jaguar TCS Racing won the opening session of the week with a 1:24.474. Teams will also be testing rapid charge pit stops during testing; they will be introduced into the races this season.

A fire broke out in the Williams Advanced Engineering garage during the lunch break, when teams were working to get some promotional video done on schedule. As a result, all of the buildings and garages had to be evacuated while the fire was put out and one individual was sent to the nearby hospital for routine examinations.

A Formula E statement stated, “A fire was detected in the pit lane and garage area which has been contained during a break between practice sessions.”

“The main pit building and garages were promptly evacuated, and the on-track problem Response Team moved swiftly to contain the problem.

“After being examined by medical professionals, one individual was taken to a hospital for preventative measures.

“The cause is being investigated by Formula E, the FIA, and local fire authorities. A further update will be provided in due course.”

The reason of the fire, according to The Race’s Sam Smith, who was present, is the battery from Shwartzman’s car, which was taken from the DS Penske and brought to the Williams Advanced Engineering garage for examination. However, the official cause of the fire has not yet been disclosed.

The remainder of the day’s events were then canceled by Formula E: “Following the incident earlier today, Formula E and all teams have been advised that on-track activities have been cancelled for the remainder of the day by the FIA.”

“This will enable the restoration of safe working conditions in the area. In due course, more updates will be released.


An update on the issue was provided on Tuesday evening, stating that while the investigation and safety checks were still ongoing, there will be no on-track action on Wednesday. Although a final decision will be reached on Wednesday, it is hoped that testing can resume on Thursday. An update on the paddock member who was hospitalized was also provided, revealing they were discharged from the hospital without requiring medical attention.

The statement said, “On-track testing activity will not go ahead tomorrow, Wednesday, in response to an incident that occurred earlier today at Formula E pre-season testing in Valencia when a fire caused damage to a garage in the pit lane.”

“After emergency protocols were initiated, the incident’s damage was contained. One person was treated and released from the hospital after being brought there as a precaution.

“While the investigation into the incident’s cause is still ongoing, it has already revealed a problem that is being fixed. After the inquiry and additional safety evaluations are finished, we hope to resume regular operations on Thursday, pending final confirmation tomorrow.

Rookie schedule: (as released prior to Tuesday’s incident)

Team Car # Driver Rookie driver Rookie session
Andretti Global 1 Jake Dennis Zane Maloney Tues AM
DS Penske 2 Stoffel Vandoorne Robert Shwartzman Tues AM
ERT FE Team 3 Sergio Sette Camara Mikel Azcona Troyas Weds PM
Envision Racing 4 Robin Frijns Jack Aitken Weds AM
NEOM McLaren FE Team 5 Jake Hughes Taylor Barnard Tues PM
Maserati MSG Racing 7 Maximilian Guenther Yann Ehrlacher Weds AM
NEOM McLaren FE Team 8 Sam Bird Taylor Barnard Tues AM
Jaguar TCS Racing 9 Mitch Evans Sheldon van der Linde Weds PM
ABT Cupra FE Team 11 Lucas di Grassi Tim Tramnitz Weds PM
TAG Heuer Porsche FE Team 13 Antonio Felix da Costa Gabriela Jilkova Weds AM
Envision Racing 16 Sebastien Buemi Jack Aitken Weds PM
Andretti Global 17 Norman Nato Zane Maloney Weds PM
Maserati MSG Racing 18 Jehan Daruvala
Mahindra Racing 21 Nyck de Vries Jordan King Weds AM
Nissan FE Team 22 Oliver Rowland Luca Ghiotto Tues AM
Nissan FE Team 23 Sacha Fenestraz Victor Martins Tues AM
DS Penske 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Robert Shwartzman Weds PM
ERT FE Team 33 Dan Ticktum Mikel Azcona Troyas Weds AM
Jaguar TCS Racing 37 Nick Cassidy Sheldon van der Linde Weds AM
Mahindra Racing 48 Edoardo Mortara Jordan King Weds PM
ABT Cupra FE Team 51 Nico Muller Adrien Tambay Weds PM
TAG Heuer Porsche FE Team 94 Pascal Wehrlein Gabriela Jilkova Weds PM

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