Seven Formula E manufacturers have completed a closed two-day test of their season five cars at the Monteblanco circuit.
Audi, DS, Jaguar, Venturi, Mahindra, Penske and Nissan all experimented with their new Gen2 cars – which have increased battery storage compared to their predecessor that means drivers will no longer have to swap cars mid-race – at the southern Spanish circuit this week.
The test was split across three days, with Tuesday acting as a rest day, and was conducted under closely private conditions.
Venturi split its running between development driver Michael Benyahia, who drove on Monday, and completed the test with part-time season FE three driver Tom Dillmann.
Mahindra handed testing responsibilities to Felix Rosenqvist – a two-time winner so far this season – while Nissan, which is taking over the Renault squad that currently fields Sebastien Buemi and Nico Prost, also sampled its season five car for first time.
BMW was also set to take part in the test ahead of its debut as a works FE entry for the 2018/19 season, but the German manufacturer withdrew before the action got underway on Monday.
“During our final preparations before loading the car, an unexpected malfunction occurred,” read a BMW statement. “We decided to continue working on the car in Munich.”
The ninth season five manufacturer, NIO, also missed the Monteblanco test as it was out of kilter with its 2018/19 preparation plan.
“When we laid out our engineering timing plan for the designing and manufacturing and testing of the season five Gen2 powertrain and chassis – the tests weren’t actually even scheduled,” explained Nio team boss Gerry Hughes at the recent Punta del Este FE round.
“So if I look internally, we’re starting our testing program at the same time as we’ve started it for season three, for season four – so there’s been no change for us internally. We’re just a month out in terms of having the car ready for the test in Monteblanco.
“There is no engineering matter behind it, there’s no design matter. There’s no other reason, the fact is the timing plan is just slightly out for us in terms of this first test.”
A second group test is scheduled to take place at the Calafat circuit in Catalonia this month.