Bird leads Gunther on opening day of Formula E test
Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird topped the first day of Formula E 2019/20 pre-season testing at Valencia as Mercedes’ woes on Nyck de Vries’s car continued.With most of the afternoon action dedicated to long runs, BMW Andretti driver Maxmillian Gunther’s session-topping 1m15.926s effort from the morning continued as the day’s benchmark until Sebastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) posted a 1m15.913
Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird topped the first day of Formula E 2019/20 pre-season testing at Valencia as Mercedes’ woes on Nyck de Vries’s car continued.
Buemi improved his best time of the day to a 1m15.882s but was shuffled down the order due to a flurry of fast times being posted approaching the chequered flag.
Gunther looked to have secured the best time of the day after setting a 1m15.663s late on before Bird pipped him to the top spot by 0.093s.
Antonio Felix da Costa ended the afternoon session and the day overall in third place with a 1m15.681s for DS Techeetah, with Mitch Evans taking fourth for Jaguar ahead of da Costa’s new teammate, reigning FE champion Jean-Eric Vergne.
Buemi ended up sixth overall as the last driver to go quicker than Gunther’s fastest morning time in the afternoon session on a 1m15.882s.
Oliver Rowland finished the afternoon running in seventh place in the second Nissan e.dams-run car ahead of Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra Racing) and Bird’s teammate Robin Frijns.
The afternoon running was interrupted by a single brief red flag after an hour had passed by following Jaguar driver James Calado, who finished 19th in the second session, coming to a stop at the pitlane exit
Mercedes’ first day as an FE competitor ended with Stoffel Vandoorne down in 22nd place, 1.881 slower than Bird’s fastest time in the afternoon, while de Vries did not complete a lap in the second session.
The recently-crowned 2019 Formula 2 champion stopped after an hour of the morning running had been completed after a technical issue that resulted in a blown battery fuse on his Silver Arrow 01 car.
Mercedes continued to investigate the issue – which remains undiagnosed – during the afternoon running but was unable to get de Vries out again as it had hoped.