Formula E test interrupted by crash at 'dangerous' chicane

Formula E's opening day of pre-season testing was interrupted by a crash at a temporary chicane that has been deemed "dangerous" by drivers

Formula E test interrupted by crash at 'dangerous' chicane

The electric single-seater series is using Valencia's National configuration, with a chicane inserted three-quarters of the way down the main straight.

That has been done to avoid the cars hitting the rev limiter too early, to lower speeds before the fast, left-hand Turn 1 and to make the high-speed track more representative of the city-centre circuits used by FE.

The chicane has been made by staggering two concrete blocks, with tyres placed in front of them, which one senior team member described as "pretty average compared to what we're looking for from an international championship".

Autosport understands some drivers expected temporary kerbing to be bolted into the track surface, as FE does for its street tracks, or TecPro barriers.

Discuss Formula E testing on the Autosport Forum

Multiple drivers have raised concerns about the chicane, and DS Virgin driver Sam Bird caused a red flag by crashing there early in the afternoon.

Sebastien Buemi told Autosport he thought it was "really bad", adding: "It's dangerous. We go to FE tracks that are safer than this.

"They could have agreed with the circuit to give us proper kerbs, I would have preferred to see this.

"I just want something safe. I'm not very impressed."

Bolting kerbs in place on the start-finish straight would have required the circuit's permission, as FE had to seek to modify the Mexico City Formula 1 track, but it is not known whether this was discussed by the organisers.

Buemi said his concerns had been raised at a drivers' briefing before the start of Monday's running, and Autosport understands it has been flagged up since, but FE does not intend to change the design.

Speaking during the lunch break before the incident, Bird said the high-speed approach to a heavy braking zone was a "clumsy" solution.

"We've tried to replicate a slow-speed chicane but it's just not very representative," he said.

"[Other tracks don't go] from massive speed to a chicane.

"I'm not being critical because I understand it's very difficult. Where can we go?

"I would say this is not somewhere I would go [to test]."

Repositioning the chicane earlier on the straight is not an option because Turn 1 entry speeds would be too high, but Bird suggested having two chicanes.

Although such a design would not be more sophisticated, adding an earlier chicane would stop drivers maxing out at 200km/h before braking, and Bird stressed that for him "the top speed is the issue".

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