Formula E have confirmed that session two of the official pre-season test has been cancelled, following a fire in the Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) garage during the lunch break.

Tuesday’s afternoon session was due to get underway at 1pm GMT but it was announced at 2pm GMT that it’d been cancelled. The fire in the WAE garage is believed to have been caused by a Gen3 battery which they supply. It was a battery used by DS Penske rookie Robert Shwartzman in particular, which was being checked over in the WAE garage at the time.

Shwartzman had stopped on circuit during the morning session, resulting in a red flag.

The fire was dealt with very quickly by the local fire authorities; however, a WAE employee was taken to hospital for “precautionary checks”. When the blaze ignited, the entire paddock at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia were evacuated. Black smoke from the fire could be seen rising into the sky by the media centre, in what was a dramatic shock to all.

What the plan is for the schedule going forwards is yet to be confirmed, given that it’ll need to be tweaked. Following the cancellation of the rest of Tuesday’s activities, Formula E has instructed all the teams to collect their things and depart, with the cars not to be worked.

Formula E stated: “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.”

The cancellation of the second session has impacted six drivers in particular, who were replaced by a rookie driver on Tuesday morning. Each team must field a rookie for three of the 18 hours of testing this week.

One of the drivers to sit out the session was reigning World Champion Jake Dennis, who was replaced by Formula 2 driver Zane Maloney. Both Nissan drivers were also replaced by rookies.

It was Mitch Evans who topped the session after setting a 1m 24.474s, almost seven-tenths of a second quicker than Maximilian Günther’s leading time from testing almost 12 months ago. This highlights just how much has been learnt about the Gen3 machinery, although the top-five still consisted of two Jaguar-powered cars and two Porsches.

The returning Nyck de Vries was the slowest driver and was two seconds off the pace, with him clearly needing time to get back up to speed. Fast-charging pit-stops were also trialled by each team, in what’s set to be a new feature for season 10.

Should the pit-lane be safe to return to on Wednesday, then action is scheduled to get underway at 8am GMT.

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