Formula E drivers react to impact of interrupted test after battery explosion

Pascal Wehrlein, Jake Dennis and Oliver Rowland discussed the impact of the fire on the opening day of Formula E pre-season testing


Formula E pre-season testing finally resumed on Thursday afternoon at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo after the event was suspended following a battery explosion that caused a fire in the paddock. understands the fire happened due to an explosion in the garage where the Williams Advanced Engineering batteries are stored near the Mahindra, ERT and Abt garages.

Robert Shwartzman came to a halt on his DS Penske in the Tuesday morning session, before being taken into the garage of Formula E‘s battery supplier WAE, formerly known as Williams Advanced Engineering.

“For sure it has an impact but it’s the same impact for everyone,” Pascal Wehrlein told “So we have a huge list of things we want to try and things we want to improve.

“The last race was quite a long time ago, so definitely we didn’t have enough time to really work through our programme. Most importantly is that everyone’s safe and everyone is fine and that we understand the problem.”

Pascal Wehrlein looks on during Formula E pre-season testing | Formula E

Reigning world champion Jake Dennis added: “I think the biggest thing is the cars are running safe and consistent.

“From our side, I think whether we have one day or two days testing isn’t going to make any difference to my performance in Mexico. So it was just a bit of an inconvenience, a bit of a pain for everyone.”

Reduced Formula E testing time

No running took place on Tuesday afternoon, the whole of Wednesday and Thursday morning. However, four-and-a-half hours of testing was completed on Thursday afternoon, with another 10 hours scheduled for Friday.

It means that 17-and-a-half hours of testing will have taken place, which is only 30 minutes less than planned. A simulation race to test fast charging will happen on Friday morning, one less than originally scheduled.

Nissan‘s Oliver Rowland was one of several drivers to complete a shakedown in early October and the revised schedule in Valencia meant he is relaxed about the situation.

“I guess we have to readjust the run plan a little bit,” explained Rowland. “It does affect a little bit but honestly it is what it is. We know the main thing is with what happened is that everybody was impaired. It could have been much, much worse.

“I think when we all saw the smoke coming out we were concerned for the entire building and the whole paddock at some stage.

“So I think Formula E did an excellent job, all the FIA medical staff, all the other people that were there to sort the fire out did an excellent job.

“I think the damage in the grand scheme of things is pretty slim based on what it could have been. A couple of teams had a little bit of damage, that were closer to the fire, but I mean, when you see the damage compared to what it could have been it’s it’s a huge relief. We just have to get on with the job.”

John Smith
Editor at and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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