ABB FIA Formula E Championship is once again hosting a test day on Sunday, the day after Round 5 of the 2019/20 season has been run.
The test is the so-called Rookie test, so none of the usual or former Formula E drivers is allowed to participate in the test. But there are names on the list with quite a lot of Formula E miles under their belt.
DS Techeetah has opted to call up James Rossiter, who has been a test- and development driver for the team for several seasons. The second car will be driven by Filipe Albuquerque. He has primarily raced in sportscars for the last 10 years but has single-seater knowledge from the past.
Nissan e.dams har called up Jann Mardenborough, who has been connected to the manufacturer since he won the Nissan GT Academy in 2011. He has raced all over the world for Nissan, in both Super GT and their Le Mans programme, and will have a go in their electrical car now. Mitsunori Takaboshi is a test- and reserve driver for the team, so he will, of course, get a shot. He is a former champion in Japanese Formula 3, and currently races in Super GT.
Mercedes-Benz EQ brings Daniel Juncadella to the test. He has raced for the German brand for many years, competing in everything between Formula 3, DTM and GT3 with a Mercedes engine in the car. He was recently lent out to R-Motorsport and their DTM programme. Jakes Hughes is one of the young single-seater talents at the moment. His first priority this year will be the FIA Formula 3 Championship, but will test the electric car this weekend.
ROKiT Venturi Racing has chosen Norman Nato for one of their cars. His current daytime job is racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship for Rebellion Racing, winning the latest round. Like the majority of the other drivers in the test, he has a lot of knowledge from single-seaters. Arthur Leclerc does, however, have more current knowledge with this kind of cars, having made his way up the ladder, and have currently reached Formula Regional European Championship, but also did a Formula E test last year.
Envision Virgin Racing will bring Nick Cassidy. The New Zealander arrived fresh from the Asian Le Mans Series, where he was fighting for the title, but lost out on it at the end. This will be the first time in a Formula E car for him. Alice Powell already has a bit of feeling for electric racing cars, since she currently races in the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, but is one of the very best drivers in W-Series, which she will do again, later this year.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing has brought the probably toughest competitor for Powell in the W-Series. Jamie Chadwick is certainly defending champion in the series and will try to defend the title again this year. On top of that, she has a test driver role at Williams F1 Team, plus competing in various single-seater races over the winter in Asia. Sacha Fenestraz is defending champion in the Japanese Formula 3, and will do Super GT and Super Formula this year. This will be his electric debut.
GEOX Dragon has brought a driver, who previous has tested a Formula E car. The new former BMW works driver, Joel Eriksson has been named test- and reserve driver for the team, which is run by Jay Penske, son of the legendary Roger Penske. Sergio Sette Camara has also been named test- and development driver for the team and will test the other car in the team. After some years in the Formula 2 series, has his one of the candidates in the NTT IndyCar Series. If he will get that seat or not, isn’t clear yet.
TAG Heuer Porsche has thrown the dice on the long list of works drivers, landing on Fred Makowiecki and Thomas Preining. Both drivers have primarily done various kinds of GT racing, but Mako has actually tested a Formula E car for Techeetah, back when they ran the Renault drive train.
Mahindra Racing has brought Sam Dejonghe once again, since he is their simulator- and development driver since 2017, and has tested the car in the real world a few times in the past. He will be joined by Pipo Derani, who has raced pretty much everything with four wheels, already committed to a full season of sportscar racing, plus being a top favourite for the same IndyCar seat as Sette Camara.
NIO 333 has brought Chinese driver Daniel Cao, which is no surprise, based on the Chinese background of the team. Cao has primarily raced in Asia in Formula 4 and Formula Renault. Antonio Fuoco is a much more well-known name around here since he has taken all the way up the European single-seater categories, with Formula 2 being his current level.
BMW i Andretti is the final team on the list. Lucas Auer was hired by the team just recently to do DTM, has also got this test. It’s a few years since he last raced in Formula 3, but will probably soon get up to speed again. The single-seater rhythm sits firmly in the body of Kyle Kirkwood, who races for Andretti in the USA in Indy Lights, and is one of the absolute hottest names in American motorsport regarding talents.
The test won’t get much media attention since there are no clues about the different programmes, that the team will run. The previous tests have been a lot start-stop, since drivers are not used to racing in electrical cars, nor used to street circuits. That usually ends up with a lot of crash damage or technical issues due to the wrong usage of the cars. So don’t expect anything exceptional from this Sunday’s test – but the teams are of course collecting important knowledge, for the rest of the season.