Formula E Notes: Sebastien Buemi, Nicolas Prost in at e.dams-Renault (VIDEO)

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More than two decades ago, the Formula One world was captivated by the legendary battles between Alain Prost and the late Ayrton Senna. Now, Prost’s son and Senna’s nephew will be going head-to-head in Formula E.

Today, French squad e.dams-Renault (co-owned by Alain and Jean-Paul Driot) announced that World Endurance Championship drivers Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost will suit up for their side in the inaugural F-E championship that begins in September.

The addition of Nicolas to the F-E grid ensures a “Prost vs. Senna” revival, as Bruno Senna is set to drive at Mahindra Racing.

Former Toro Rosso F1 racer Buemi remains involved in that world as the current tester and reserve driver for four-time defending World Champion Red Bull.

As for Nicolas, he has past open-wheel experience as a tester for Lotus F1 and a racer in multiple leagues such as Spanish Formula 3, Euroseries 3000, and A1GP.

Said Driot in a Renault statement: “We have recruited two very talented drivers for this exciting new challenge. In addition to his driving skills, Nicolas Prost will bring his ability to think outside of the box to the table, as well as his technical background and his ability to analyze the technical aspects of this all-electric formula.

“Sébastien Buemi will bring his reputation and speed, along with the fact that he is extremely popular with the public and motor racing fans.”

Also making a driver announcement today was Jarno Trulli’s TrulliGP team, which has now paired Italian driver Michaela Cerruti with the longtime F1 veteran.

Cerruti becomes the second female driver on the F-E grid, joining Amlin Aguri’s Katherine Legge. She currently competes in both the AutoGP open-wheel series (where she won this past month at Imola) and in the Blancpain Endurance Series.

“Michela is a very talented driver with a natural skill,” Trulli said of his new teammate in a statement. “I was impressed by her recent results considering the very limited time she has spent in single-seaters.

“I’m extremely happy to share my long Formula 1 experience with Michela to make our team successful.  I’m convinced that Michela is an up and coming star, the one to watch for this season and the future.”

Adding to the busy Monday around F-E was the confirmation of Battersea Park in South London, England as the site for the London ePrix, which will serve as the 2014-2015 season finale on June 27, 2015.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said that the ePrix would “provide an awesome addition to the capital’s sporting calendar.”

“…Hosting the championship final of this all-electric race is a fantastic feather in our city’s sporting cap,” he added. “It shows that there is great confidence in London’s ability to stage the biggest and the best global sporting events, which play such an important role in boosting our economy and our international reputation.”

As part of the announcement, a fleet of Spark-Renault machines took to the city’s Westminster Bridge. You can check out the demonstration below:

F1 Preview: 2018 Australian Grand Prix

Photo: Getty Images
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Save for two occasions, in 2006, and 2010, the Australian Grand Prix has served as the season-opening event for the FIA Formula 1 World Championship since 1996, and this weekend’s event will be the 21st time that the city of Melbourne has kicked off the Formula 1 campaign.

The 2018 season is the fifth one of the current hybrid power unit era, the second season of the current aero regulations, and the second under Liberty Media’s guidance.

Last year saw titans Mercedes AMG Petronas and Scuderia Ferrari duel for supremacy for most of the season before Mercedes distanced Ferrari late in the season to take the constructor’s title and the driver’s title, with Lewis Hamilton, who is now tied with Sebastian Vettel on four world championships apiece.

Four drivers on the grid have Formula 1 world championships to their name: Hamilton, Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso. Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley also has a world championship to his name as a two-time titlist in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

So, what can viewers expect from the 2018 curtain-raiser in Australia? A handful of things to watch are below?

2018 Australian Grand Prix – Talking Points

Does Anyone Have Anything for Mercedes?

Only on one day during pre-season testing did a Mercedes driver lead the way – Lewis Hamilton was fastest on the final day of Week 1 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

However, all indications were that was by design, with the team focusing the majority of the second week, if not the entire second week, on long runs with their W09 EQ Power+ chassis.

Such a decision is an ominous one, in that it indicates the team is very comfortable with the amount of speed in the car and did not see a need, or desire, to show their hand during testing.

With that in mind, the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas may yet again have the best and fastest cars, and the team looks poised to potentially make it five constructor’s and driver’s championships in a row.

Ferrari and Red Bull Look to End Mercedes Reign

The biggest threats to Mercedes are undoubtedly Ferrari and Red Bull, the only other teams to win in 2017.

And both teams displayed a lot of pace during testing, particularly in the “one-lap speed” category. Ricciardo set a lap record around the Catalunya circuit during the second week, only for Vettel to supplant that mark later in the week. Teammate Kimi Raikkonen led the way during the final day of testing.

It is unknown how that pace will translate over the course of a race distance. Mercedes appeared to have an edge on both Ferrari and Red Bull over long runs and race simulations, but there is also a theory that neither Ferrari nor Red Bull had their true long-run form on display.

Still, if a team is going to knock off Mercedes, it will likely be either Ferrari or Red Bull.

McLaren on the Rebound?

Put simply, the previous three seasons for McLaren F1 Team were a bit of a disaster. Their partnership with Honda yielded point totals of 27 (2015), 76 (2016), and 30 (2017) in a three-year venture that was defined by poor reliability and underwhelming power.

The relationship hit a boiling point last year and both entities parted ways ahead of the 2018 season, with McLaren signing a new power unit deal with Renault.

Testing went better than in previous years, though the team continued to battle reliability problems. However, all issues appeared to be minor, needling issues rather than more significant, foundational problems, as the other Renault teams (Red Bull and Renault Sport F1 Team) had solid runs with few reliability issues.

The car does appear to have speed in it, so if the reliability problems are behind them, McLaren could be in for a rebound season.

Stuck in the Midfield Again

Formula 1’s battle amongst the midfield is set to be as fierce as ever as a host of a several teams have a chance at being “best of the rest.”

Sahara Force India has been the frontrunner from the the midfield teams each of the last two years, finishing fourth in the constructor’s title in both 2016 and 2017, though if the steady conflict between drivers Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez continues through 2018, it could hamper their efforts significantly.

Renault Sport F1 Team and Haas F1 Team look to improve on their 2017 form, while Toro Rosso is in a new partnership with Honda power units…and has experienced a surprisingly smooth pre-season as Honda’s 2018 platform looks significantly better, with the team enjoying a solid run of testing with few, if any, reliability problems.

Williams Martini Racing and Alfa Romeo Sauber appear to be at the back of the pack entering the season, but both could battle for points finishes if those ahead of them falter.