Preparations for the Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team’s first season are now in full swing with just over a month to go before the opening round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship in Saudi Arabia. The team took part in official testing for the series at Valencia from 15 to 18 October.
Over the course of the three days of testing (with a break on Thursday), the team gained valuable experience with the new Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 and posted more test kilometres. Lessons learned from the test outings, which were not without some teething problems initially, will be used in getting ready for the team’s race debut at the end of November in Diriyah.
“The first two days of testing this week were tough for us,” said Team Principal, Ian James. “There were some challenges to overcome that we had not anticipated. It was unexpected, to be honest, but we found the right solutions. It just goes to show how important these test outings are in the run-up to the season. We were consistent when conducting our own private tests and found some stability. We must now ensure that we can achieve that again during the first race weekend. After a difficult start to the week, we’ve finished Friday’s test on a positive note. I think we’ve created a sound basis on which to build, so that we can continue to develop during the season.”
And so, testing in Valencia was primarily about learning more about the car and procedures while posting as many laps as possible. Lap times played a minor role.
“What we’re trying to do at the moment is improve consistency,” said James. “But of course, we want to be competitive when we get started. Valencia is a permanent race track that is very different to the street circuits we would normally compete on during the season. In addition, each team follows a different programme during testing, so it’s not easy to draw comparisons. Therefore, we don’t yet have the final picture in terms of how competitive we are compared to other outfits. Nevertheless, I think we’ve created a sound basis, on which to build so that we can continue to develop during the season.”
The team’s race drivers, Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries, were in the cockpits of the two cars on all three test days. In total, they covered 259 laps or 801 kms of the 3.094-km Circuit Ricardo Tormo just outside Valencia.
“We’re obviously not completely satisfied after this test week, but that’s precisely what testing is for,” said Stoffel Vandoorne. “We’ve ticked off quite a few points on our to-do list, but there’s still plenty to do before the season opener in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, I am happy that we are finally racing again. We have been testing for a long time now and the feeling is good. Everything is in place for us to mount a serious challenge, but we have to get it all together. This is by no means an easy task in Formula E. Let’s wait and see what happens next. After the long break, I’m really looking forward to getting back into the car and competing in actual races.”
“We’ve had some challenging days with unexpected problems that we managed to fix quickly,” said Nyck de Vries. “Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the chicane and lost a lot of time on the track. That, along with a few other difficulties, virtually cost me a whole day. That’s why it was very important to have a flawless day today, during which I was able to put in a lot of laps and gain further experience. The morning was very positive in this regard, and the afternoon also was very interesting with regard to the race simulation. It was a pity that there were so many interruptions on the way, but that’s all part of racing.”
For Ian James, it is vital that his two drivers form an important part of the development team. “The good thing about Stoffel and Nyck is that they give very direct feedback,” said the Team Principal. “We can only find the increase in performance necessary if they give us the nudge. They are very frank and will tell us what’s good and what’s not working out quite so well. The mood within the team is phenomenal despite the enormous challenge and the many tasks that still have to be mastered before the season starts. I am very proud of the way the team are performing.”
After official testing in Valencia, the team will return to the factory to prepare for the race debut of the Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01 on November 22/23 at Diriyah.
Source: Mercedes-Benz EQ Team