until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula E

Fire ends first day of 2024 Formula E pre-season testing early

by Sam Smith
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The start of Formula E's 2024 pre-season test has been severely hampered by a fire in the Valencia paddock that is believed to have been caused by one of the Gen3 cars' batteries igniting.

Formula E announced on Tuesday following the incident that that afternoon's second session had been called off.

The Race was informed that all Wednesday running would be postponed as well, and Formula E confirmed on Tuesday evening that action had been taken, with a view to the test resuming on Thursday.

UPDATE: Day two of Formula E testing called off

Formula E is trialling its new fast-charging energy boosters this week with eight charging units being shared among the 11 teams present.

But testing was interrupted during the lunch break on the first day of running as a fire broke out in the pitlane and garage area.

The battery that caused the fire had been taken out of the DS Penske car driven on Tuesday morning by Robert Shwartzman, which stopped on track. The battery was transported to the box of WAE, the company formerly known as Williams Advanced Engineering that has designed the Gen3 Formula E car's battery.

The fire was quickly dealt with and the danger averted, with one member of WAE taken to a local hospital for precautionary checks.

“In a break between practice sessions, a fire was detected in the pitlane and garage area which has been contained,” a statement from Formula E read.

“The on-track incident response team acted immediately to contain the incident while the main pit building and garages were quickly evacuated.

“One person has been assessed by medics and has been transported to hospital for precautionary checks.

“Formula E, the FIA and local fire authorities are investigating the cause and will provide a further update in due course.”

Responders were quick to tackle the flames and the garage where the fire broke out has been damaged, but not enough to collapse the framing.

The battery had been transported to the WAE box so it could investigate it during the break between sessions following Shwartzman's stoppage.

A couple of hours later the FIA officially cancelled the rest of day one, saying in a statement: "Following the incident earlier today, the FIA have advised Formula E and all teams that on-track activities have been cancelled for the rest of the day.

"This will allow for the area to return to safe working conditions. Further updates will be shared in due course."

Formula E later confirmed the second day of running had been abandoned.

Lead image courtesy of Andreas Beil

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