Testing continues for the Spark-Renault challenger that will be the centerpiece of the all-electric Formula E championship, which begins later this fall in Beijing.
Recently, an experienced hand stepped into the cockpit of the innovative new car: Jarno Trulli, a veteran of 256 Formula One Grand Prix and a past champion of F1’s cornerstone, the Monaco Grand Prix.
Trulli, who recently joined Formula E’s ‘Drivers Club’ pool, put the car through its paces at the La Ferte Gaucher circuit in France. The car featured the final version of the 200kw race-ready battery.
While the Italian regarded the sound of the Formula E car as something much different than what he’s used to, he also said that the Spark-Renault drives like a proper race car should.
“The sound is different but you still hear the sound of the electrical engine and gearbox, so in terms of feeling, it’s perfect for a racing driver,” he said. “Maybe from the outside it seems different, but inside, you don’t notice it. So far, I have enjoyed it because it’s a nice car to drive.
“…I expected something different and it certainly is, but having a feeling of a racing car was the most important thing. I have been racing for 30 years – 15 in Formula One – so I have seen, more or less, everything. So, I anticipated finding something unlike anything else. But it gave me the same feeling of the old days.”
The series reports that the first batch of cars will be delivered to teams at its headquarters in Donington Park, England in mid-May.
Brendon Hartley’s hopes of a points finish on his Formula 1 debut took a hit on Friday after the FIA confirmed the Toro Rosso driver will start the United States Grand Prix from the back of the grid due to an engine penalty.
Porsche factory driver and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Hartley was drafted in by Toro Rosso as a surprise replacement for Pierre Gasly in Austin, with the Frenchman tied up with Super Formula duties at Suzuka this weekend.
Hartley took to the track in an official grand prix session for the first time on Friday in Austin, marking his first run-out in an F1 car since a test with Mercedes in 20120.
However, FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer confirmed in his pre-race report that changes had been made to the power unit on Hartley’s Toro Rosso car since the last race in Japan, triggering a grid penalty.
Toro Rosso elected to take a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, energy store and control electronics on Hartley’s Renault power unit, totaling a 25-place grid drop that will be applied after qualifying. Confirmation of the penalty is set to follow later today.
The penalty comes as a setback for Hartley, but was necessary as Toro Rosso found itself short on engine elements to get to the end of the season.
Hartley is not the only driver to have a penalty confirmed, with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne also taking new engine elements, also confirmed in Bauer’s report.
A new ICE, turbocharger and MGU-H for Hulkenberg will see him drop 20 places on the grid, while an eighth ICE of the year for Vandoorne will trigger a five-place drop.