Maserati Boss Says ‘No Concerns’ of Further EV Battery Fires for Formula E

Jackson Wheeler
5 Min Read

The ABB FIA Formula E series is one of the best public laboratories for the EV revolution.

There’s been plenty to celebrate in the nine season of the electric open-wheel racing series—a series that has gone from car changes in the middle of races due to limitations in battery life to this year looking forward to actual fast-charge “refueling” during a race.

There have also been a few teachable moments.

One of those moments nearly brought down the house—or at least a garage—at a preseason test in October at Valencia. A fire triggered by an EV battery pack in garage of series battery supplier Williams Advanced Engineering Technologies damaged its garages and that of the Mahindra race team, and it resulted in one minor injury. The incident also shut down Day 1 of a two-day test session and gave social media channels plenty of new material for a few days.

The FIA put out a statement after an investigation, saying that “while being manually inspected by the battery single supplier team, there was an arc flash and some sparking, that resulted in a localized fire.”

The FIA later confirmed that all the batteries used at the test session were checked and that “none of the batteries present(ed) the same type of symptoms as the unit that failed.”

Much like an EV fire in passenger cars caused by a failed or defective battery that go viral on social media, a fire could be devastating to Formula E’s upward trajectory. A fire that shuts down a dest session is one thing, but a similar fire during a race weekend that could postpone a race or shut down a race weekend would be a tough one for the series’ public relations department to spin.

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Maserati is ready for its second season in Formula E.

Maserati Corse boss Giovanni Tommaso Srgo, whose second-year team this year includes returning driver Maximilian Guenther and series rookie Jehan Daruvala, said he’s not worried about another fire issue for the series. He’s confident the FIA and the series battery supplier solved the problem and learned from it.

“Thanks to the enormous work done by the FIA in recent years, on-track safety and inside the circuits has been greatly increased, and even in the case of rare events such as the one that happened in Valencia, the damage was contained without serious consequences for people and facilities,” Giovanni Tommaso Srgo, head of Maserati Corse told Autoweek ahead of this weekend’s opener in Mexico City.

“The FIA carried out a specific investigation that resulted in an intensive check of all batteries and a reduction in available power during preseason testing, which underlines how all necessary measures were taken to ensure a safe place for all of us.

“I believe there are no concerns in this regard ahead of upcoming season, and I am sure that if this were to happen during a race weekend, the FIA and Formula E would be equally prepared to deal with the situation in the best possible way.”

Headshot of Mike Pryson

Mike Pryson covered auto racing for the Jackson (Mich.) Citizen Patriot and MLive Media Group from 1991 until joining Autoweek in 2011. He won several Michigan Associated Press and national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for auto racing coverage and was named the 2000 Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club’s Michigan Motorsports Writer of the Year. A Michigan native, Mike spent three years after college working in southwest Florida before realizing that the land of Disney and endless summer was no match for the challenge of freezing rain, potholes and long, cold winters in the Motor City.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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