Williams rejects Formula E battery criticism after Putrajaya issues

Formula E supplier Williams believes it is unfair to criticise its batteries after the spate of technical issues in last Saturday's Putrajaya ePrix

Williams rejects Formula E battery criticism after Putrajaya issues

Thermal management of the Williams Advanced Engineering battery was the most significant part of the Malaysian event, as teams struggled to deal with the 39-degree ambient temperature and high humidity.

Renault e.dams drivers Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost were both hit twice by problems in the race, while frontrunner Antonio Felix da Costa also stopped on track.

Williams's programme leader Gary Ekerold said some drivers initially thought it was a battery fault because of a 'battery management system' error that appears on their dash.

"It was a stretch for every aspect of the car," Ekerold told Autosport. "That level of heat places the entire car under immense pressure and stress.

"The error that comes up on the steering wheel is a BMS error that protects the entire system on the car.

"That could be an error on any aspect and the battery will protect the car.

"The battery was never designed to run at 39 degrees ambient temperature. So we're already past that operating window.

"It wasn't designed to run at 170kW, it was designed to run at 133kW. So we're already past that operating window.

"Racing is about being on the limit and sometimes teams trip over the limit. That can affect any number of things.

"In terms of a fundamental design fault, that's certainly not the case."

Teams will not be given advice on how to manage conditions if the heat is repeated in Uruguay and Argentina.

"No, in actual fact it's the contrary," said Ekerold. "We can't share that.

"We can't share the ultimate level of data with teams because they need to learn this process and understand it themselves.

"It's part of running the cars. Some teams have an advantage because they understand the system better, that's what makes them different."

Though not fundamental problems, some battery issues have been identified over the opening two rounds.

Da Costa's Team Aguri outfit had to borrow a battery from the absent Trulli squad in Putrajaya after one of its own developed a fault and Williams ran out of spares.

There was also an external issue when a charger explosion damaged Sam Bird's battery on Saturday and meant the Virgin team had to change it in record time before the start of the race.

In Beijing, four batteries had to be replaced after Friday's one-off test session because Williams identified potential issues with the recently upgraded units.

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