The new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship has had a demo run in the U.S. before in Los Angeles, but not to the degree that the first official public demo did yesterday.
The series’ official car – the Spark Renault launched in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show – turned heads and laps up and down the Las Vegas Strip in front of a throng of fans, media and onlookers. Lucas di Grassi, who’s been involved in the car’s testing, was behind the wheel.
“2014 is a very big year for Formula E with the championship starting in September so it’s important to be starting on such a positive note,” series CEO Alejandro Agag said, via its official website. “Today will also be the first of many roadshows we have planned over the coming months as we want as many people as possible to see, and hear, what we believe is the future of motorsport.”
Have a quick look at the video above. It’s a big public entrance for the series that has attracted a wealth of mainstream media attention, as well as involvement from Hollywood with Leonardo DiCaprio and Sir Richard Branson both part of team ownership.
Car No.: 27
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 10th
Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.
With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.
Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.
When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.
But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.
Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.
Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.