Formula E takes off at Donington

by Tom Errington

Donington Park, the new home of Formula E, saw the ten teams get to grips with the Renault-Spark for the first of five test days.

Ideal conditions, dry and bright, saw e.dams-Renault‘s Sebastien Buemi top the times on the full Donington Park GP Circuit.

The track was modified to include an additional chicane at the exit to the Old Hairpin to further test the Renault SRT_01E car, but it appeared to unfaze the French driver.

The morning session saw Daniel Abt set the fastest time, with the Audi Sport ABT driver lapping a fastest time of 1 minute 37.212 seconds with Buemi and Andretti Autosport‘s Franck Montagny close behind.

It was all change in the afternoon session. Abt’s time soon fell to eighth as Buemi’s 1 minute 35.475 seconds was enough to top ahead of Abt’s teammate Lucas Di Grassi, who finished in second despite running in just the afternoon session.

“I’m more than happy to be honest,” said Buemi. “I didn’t have any problems with the car at all and that meant we were able to learn quite a lot about it. It’s always nice to be P1 so let’s hope it continues tomorrow.”

While Abt has been signed to the series for some time, Buemi is one of a number of new drivers such as Amlin Aguri‘s Katherine Legge and Antonio Felix da Costa who were joined by more newcomers such as TrulliGP‘s Michela Cerutti, Dragon Racing‘s Mike Conway and Venturi GP‘s Nick Heidfeld.

There were also new names testing in the series. Scott Speed and Gil de Ferran took it in turns to test alongside Montagny in the Andretti car, while Jerome d’Ambrosio and Antonio Garcia tested for the China Racing team.

Also in attendance was Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag who described the first test as a ‘special occasion.’

“Today’s first test has been a special occasion for everyone involved with the FIA Formula E Championship,” said Agag. “This project has been a long time coming but to see all the cars and drivers taking part is a very proud moment and my thanks goes to all our investors, partners, teams and Formula E personnel for transforming the FIA’s dream into a reality.”

The Formula E series will continue to familiarise with the Donington base and the Renault car for four more test days.

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