Renault e.dams season preparations commence
23 August, 2016: Reigning FIA Formula E teams’ champion Renault e.dams got its title defence underway today as official pre-season testing started at Donington Park.
2015/16 drivers’ champion Sébastien Buemi and team-mate Nicolas Prost, who finished in third position overall last year, got behind the wheel of their Renault Z.E.16 cars at the Leicestershire track for the first of six days of running, which will be split over the next three weeks.
With the final livery for Season 3 due to be unveiled at the first race of the year in Hong Kong in October, both cars ran in an interim livery of black and white for the first day of the three day test. It was an auspicious start for the team, with Sébastien setting the fastest time overall, a 1min 30.143 after 23 laps, eight tenths of a second quicker than second-fastest Nick Heidfeld of Mahindra Racing. Nico Prost was 11th with a best of 1min 32.309 and a tally of 30 laps.
The 2016/17 season will be the third season of the pioneering all-electric series and is set to be the toughest yet, with added manufacturer entries, an updated aerodynamic package and continued technical freedom on the sophisticated powertrains. As team champions for the last two years, Renault e.dams has a weight of expectation, but is keen to uphold its technical leadership in the field.
The season gets underway in Hong Kong on 9 October 2016.
Alain Prost, Senior Team Manager
At the start of the championship last year we said we had two objectives: to win the teams’ and the drivers’ championships. Our objectives this year are the same, but we are realistic about the challenge we have before us. We are going to have to work harder to compete with the other manufacturer teams such as Jaguar and Audi, and the smaller teams who were very strong at the end of the year as well. We will use these coming days to evaluate our position and reinforce where necessary, but we are cautiously optimistic about our continued goals this year.
Jean-Paul Driot, Senior Team Manager
We come back extremely motivated for Season 3. Every year the championship moves forward and we remain humble about the challenge in front of us. We can see that everyone has moved forward and the gaps are smaller than ever but today’s results are reassuring. Seb’s time was strong and shows we are going in the right direction for this season. We look forward to continuing this over the coming days of testing.
Vincent Gaillardot, Renault Sport Project Leader
As Donington is not necessarily representative of other circuits we encounter this year, we used the time today to continue the validation of our technical package for the year and run more in the configuration we will use at the start of the season. We also ran through a race day simulation, with qualifying and race work to prepare both the drivers and the team. It was a pretty successful day, although we are only at the start of the official testing programme at the moment.
Today was a very good day. It’s only the first day of testing so we can’t draw a lot of conclusions, but it’s clear it’s better to be ahead than behind! We checked the developments we have made to the car over last year and our time – practically a new lap record! – shows we are quicker than last year. It’s a good start so we will see how it continues tomorrow.
Things went well today, the car felt good and we were able to identify a few things beyond the initial tests we carried out earlier; we could still find some interesting data. We look very competitive, Seb posted a good time, so it was a really good first day and we need to carry on like that tomorrow and over the coming days.