BMW i Andretti fastest again on final Valencia test day

Image by Staley/LAT

BMW i Andretti fastest again on final Valencia test day

International Racing

BMW i Andretti fastest again on final Valencia test day


For the second time in three days, it was BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alexander Sims who ran fastest in the final day of pre-season in Valencia with a time of 1m17.402s. Despite the rookie driver’s comparative lack of Formula E experience, he outdrove his teammate Antonio Felix da Costa by more than a second.

“All in all it was a really positive preseason test in Valencia for BMW i Andretti Motorsport,” Sims said. “I was a bit hesitant of how to judge things after the first session on Tuesday, but we’ve gone through all the different conditions, particularly with the rain today and a fairly green track this afternoon. I think we’ve managed different situations well with our BMW iFE.18 cars.

“Obviously, the track itself is still unrepresentative but nevertheless we’ve been competitive in all conditions. I learned a lot from my side as the team was able to put me through different runs and setups, which has been really beneficial.”

For all three days of testing, the German factory team has finished top of the timesheets, with da Costa posting the fastest lap of the week (1m16.977s) on day two.

“[I’m] surprised in a really good way,” said the Portuguese driver, referring to the pace of his new BMW iFE.18.

“I’m not surprised in the way that I thought BMW couldn’t do it…but we came here not knowing if we’re quick enough? Does the car have enough power? Are we efficient? …but we’ve been strong,” he added.

Second fastest of the day was DS Techeetah and reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne who, despite spinning in the morning’s wet conditions, posted a time of 1m17.620s. Still some way off his best time this week of 1m17.342s.

“So far I’ve been happy with what I’ve seen,” said Vergne. “There’s still a lot to come from understanding the car and system. We now need to go back and analyze everything ready for Ad Diriyah.”

Third fastest went to Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans with a time of 1m17.864s. The New Zealand driver’s time sees the British manufacturer team make it into the top three for the first time this week. While Evans made it into the top three, teammate Nelson Piquet Jr.’s car stopped on track at Turn 2 due to technical issues. With the red flag raised, the Jaguar I-Type III was recovered and reset before Piquet returned to the track.

For Oliver Rowland, who took the seat of Nissan’s Alex Albon on the final day of testing, the British driver managed to post a 1m20.416s in the wet conditions despite technical issues keeping him confined to the garage for a significant amount of time. The 26-year-old marked his return to Formula E after racing for Mahindra Racing in Punta del Este in Season 2. Rowland suffered more technical issues in the afternoon as his car came to a halt on track, bringing out the red flag. Albon failed to set a time all week.

Stepping in for HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne was Mercedes DTM driver Dani Juncadella, who set a best lap time of 1m19.353s. The 27-year-old comes to the team with Formula E experience after filling in for Nick Heidfeld at Mahindra Racing at pre-season testing last year. The test day was followed by another trial with the Indian team at the rookie test after the 2018 Marrakesh E-Prix.

Venturi driver Edoardo Mortara failed to make it out of the garage in the afternoon session due to technical issues, while his teammate Felipe Massa set a best time of 1m19.328s for the final day of testing.

With pre-season testing complete, it’s off to Saudi Arabia for the first race of the 2018/19 season on December 15.

(Click on the image below for a larger version.)

Friday’s results:

Combined fastest times over three days:

1. Antonio Felix da Costa, BMW i Andretti Motorsport, 1:16.977s
2. Jean-Eric Vergne, DS TECHEETAH, 1:17.342s
3. Alexander Sims, BMW i Andretti Motorsport, 1:17.402s
4. Jerome D’Ambrosio, MAHINDRA RACING, 1:17.431s
5. Andre Lotterer, DS TECHEETAH, 1:17.437s
6. Sebastien Buemi, Nissan e.dams, 1:17.473s
7. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, 1:17.535s
8. Felipe Massa, VENTURI Formula E Team, 1:17.696s
9. Edoardo Mortara, VENTURI Formula E Team, 1:17.729s
10. Pascal Wehrlein, MAHINDRA RACING, 1:17.781s
11. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, 1:17.819s
12. Jose Maria Lopez, GEOX DRAGON, 1:17.830s
13. Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, 1:17.864s
14. Maxi Gunther, GEOX DRAGON, 1:17.947s
15. Stoffel Vandoorne, HWA RACELAB, 1:18.032s
16. Robin Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing, 1:18.088s
17. Sam Bird, Envision Virgin Racing, 1:18.115s
18. Gary Paffett, HWA RACELAB, 1:18.164s
19. Tom Dillmann, NIO Formula E Team, 1:18.217s
20. Oliver Turvey, NIO Formula E Team, 1:18.240s
21. Antonio Fuoco, GEOX DRAGON, 1:18.284s
22. Nelson Piquet Jr, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, 1:18.498s
23. Dani Juncadella, HWA RACELAB, 1:19.353s
24. Oliver Rowland, Nissan e.dams, 1:20.416s
25. Alexander Albon, Nissan e.dams, NO TIME SET