Formula E

FIA Formula E

Buemi dodges safety cars, FCY to take Paris Formula E win

Leave a comment

Sebastien Buemi kept his cool to dodge a number of possible pitfalls and win Saturday’s Paris ePrix, extending his lead at the top of the Formula E drivers’ championship in the process.

Buemi scored his second pole position of the season in qualifying, edging out home favorite Jean-Eric Vergne by just 0.006 seconds in the final Super Pole shootout.

The duo enjoyed a close battle at the front of the pack for the first half of the race, with Buemi’s two-second lead being wiped away by a Full Course Yellow called following a crash between title rival Lucas di Grassi and Antonio Felix da Costa for Andretti.

The FCY was near enough to the pit window that the majority of the pack came in and swapped cars early, with Vergne pushing to catch Buemi and cutting the gap to one second in the process once the race was back under green.

Vergne’s race came to an end before he could begin to think about a move on Buemi, with a technical failure on his Techeetah car sending him into the wall and sparking a safety car period.

Buemi’s lead of seven seconds over Lopez was eradicated by the safety car, but the defending series champion did not panic, pulling out a healthy buffer once the race got back underway.

Buemi’s advantage was given one final challenge when another safety car was called in the closing stages after di Grassi crashed when chasing the fastest lap. However, it ended up playing into his hands when race control announced that the checkered flag would be shown under the safety car.

The win was Buemi’s fifth in six races so far this season, and extends his Formula E championship lead to 43 points over di Grassi, who failed to score a single point after his late shunt and a penalty for not meeting the minimum pit stop time.

Lopez took second for DS Virgin Racing, marking the three-time WTCC champion’s best result in Formula E so far, while Nick Heidfeld completed the podium for Mahindra in third place.

Felix Rosenqvist followed close behind his team-mate to take P4 ahead of Nicolas Prost, who gained a position from Robin Frijns when the Dutchman received a five second time penalty. Frijns was eventually classified sixth.

Nelson Piquet Jr. finished the race seventh for NextEV NIO ahead of Tom Dillmann, who was eight on debut for Venturi. Mitch Evans scored Jaguar’s third points finish in Formula E in P9, while Stephane Sarrazin rounded out the top 10.

Buemi narrowly beats Vergne to Paris Formula E pole

FIA Formula E
Leave a comment

Sebastien Buemi will start Saturday’s FIA Formula E race in Paris from pole position after edging out home favorite Jean-Eric Vergne by just 0.006 seconds in the final stage of qualifying.

Buemi arrived in Paris with a 15-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship following victory in Monaco last weekend, and sent out an early warning shot to his rivals by leading the opening qualifying heat.

Vergne finished second for Techeetah to advance to the Super Pole shootout, and was able to lay down an impressive marker that Buemi looked hard-pressed to beat.

The Swiss racer dug deep and produced a last-gasp lap of 1:02.319 to take pole for Renault e.dams by just 0.006 seconds, leaving Vergne a frustrated second.

Jose Maria Lopez took third on the grid for DS Virgin Racing, while Oliver Turvey qualified fourth, but will drop to 14th after a technical change ahead of the Paris race triggered a 10-place grid drop.

Esteban Gutierrez enjoyed his best Formula E qualifying performance to date, finishing fifth for Techeetah ahead of his third ePrix outing since moving out of Formula 1.

Mahindra drivers Nick Heidfeld and Felix Rosenqvist took sixth and seventh respectively ahead of Andretti’s Robin Frijns, while Mitch Evans and Nicolas Prost rounded out the top 10 on the grid.

Lucas di Grassi saw his title hopes take another hit as he could only qualify 14th, with Buemi now 18 points clear at the top of the championship after picking up a bonus score for pole.

Vergne, Piquet at odds over Monaco Formula E clash

FIA Formula E
1 Comment

Jean-Eric Vergne and Nelson Piquet Jr. were at odds over their clash during last Saturday’s Formula E race in Monaco, laying blame with one another.

Vergne attempted to pass Piquet for third place around the outside of the Turn 3 hairpin – formed around the Nouvelle Chicane – before being squeezed into the wall.

The incident eliminated Vergne from the race and sparked a safety car period. Piquet was able to continue, having lost just one place, and eventually finished the race fourth.

“I passed him. He used me twice to turn his car, bumped into my car twice, not only one lap, the lap before also when I tried,” Vergne explained to NBC Sports.

“Then when I was alongside him on exit, he just didn’t leave me any room. I had the wall coming straight toward me. I was on the brakes, trying to turn. I think for me the onboard camera could see the steering wheel was on the left, going against me.

“He had plenty of room on the right and I ended up in the wall soon so… You can make your own conclusions about that.”

Vergne added that he would have been “amazed” if the stewards did not give Piquet a penalty, only for the incident to be passed over in their post-race meeting.

“He was very aggressive, trying to pass me on the outside. It’s a very tight corner over there, especially the exit, it closes in,” Piquet said.

“Once I went on power and we touched because he was really close to me, our cars got stuck with each other. I wasn’t going to back off and the track just closes into us and that was it.

“I think he could have waited a bit more because he had three per cent more energy. He would have passed me anyone on a pit stop. He was going to go one or two laps even longer than me. It would have been really easy for him.

“I just don’t understand why he was so desperate to get around me. I was closing the door, I wasn’t going to let him by. It would have been safer, especially on a track like this, just to save more energy, go one or two laps longer.

“It’s a shame that it happened with him. He’s a good guy, a friend of mine. We have laughs. Racing incidents, sometimes you don’t choose who they are with, they just happen.”

Vergne’s most pressing worry post-race was the injury sustained to his right hand in the incident, but the Frenchman will be fit to race in this weekend’s Paris ePrix.

Da Costa: 2017 Le Mans hopes dashed by ‘ruined’ LMP2 market

Formula E
Leave a comment

Antonio Felix da Costa feels his hopes of racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year were dashed by the lack of opportunities in the LMP2 market for platinum-rated drivers.

Da Costa currently races with MS Amlin Andretti in Formula E, but was angling for a drive at Le Mans in 2017 to add to his busy program that will also see him race at the Nürburgring 24 Hours with BMW, as well as developing its 2018 GTE car.

The Portuguese driver had been looking for a drive in the LMP2 class, but failed to secure a seat and was not named on the official entry list for the race, published on Tuesday.

“The LMP2 market is not nice at the moment,” da Costa explained to NBC Sports over the Monaco Formula E race weekend.

“It’s a bit ruined because the silver drivers are the most dominant factor there, and it’s not interesting for the teams to have a platinum driver.

“I would still love to do it just to get some experience, but the teams are charging money for the seats. All the gold and platinum guys are paying to be there, the silvers are paying to be there. The market itself is not great.”

Da Costa felt that running at Le Mans would have boosted his chances of securing a drive with BMW upon its entry to the FIA World Endurance Championship’s GTE Pro class in 2018, but remains hopeful of getting the nod for a seat.

“I’m sure if I did Le Mans this year, it would help me out to get a small advantage to get that seat next year,” da Costa said.

“That’s one of the reasons that I wanted to do it as well, but yeah. I’m deeply involved in the development of the new car. Hopefully I can get myself into that.”

Gutierrez ‘definitely not done’ with F1, wants full-time race program

Getty Images
1 Comment

MONACO – Esteban Gutierrez says he is “definitely not done” with Formula 1 despite making the move into Formula E after losing his seat with Haas at the end of the 2016 season.

Gutierrez raced for Sauber through 2013 and 2014 before stepping back into a reserve role with Ferrari, which ultimately led to a move to the start-up Haas team for 2016 in a race seat.

While teammate Romain Grosjean was able to score a number of points finishes, Gutierrez failed to take a single top-10 result through 21 races for the team, leading to his dismissal at the end of the season.

Gutierrez has since moved into Formula E with the Techeetah team, but the Mexican remains determined to return to F1 in a full-time seat seat in the future.

“Definitely I’m not done [with F1]. I’ve taken this step which to me was very important to do something proper,” Gutierrez told NBC Sports in Monaco.

“I had opportunity to be there as a third driver, but I wanted to focus on a racing program. Step by step, you know achieving the things that I want to achieve.

“I feel confident, I’ve been preparing a lot physically. I made quite a big step on that side, preparing for the races here in Formula E, driving a different car.

“It’s anyway a great experience to have.”

When asked if he’d had a fair shot in F1 yet, Gutierrez said that he had not been able to fully display his talent through his three seasons on the grid.

“I wouldn’t say it was not fair, but it was not really the chance to show my speed,” Gutierrez said.

“I think there are things that happen in life for a reason, and I’m going to keep pushing. I’m very motivated and looking forward to what’s in the future.

“I’m not really thinking about what’s in the past. The past just gives you lessons, whatever the situation was, it’s always good to learn.

“I take that as experience. I think it will be good.”

Outside of F1, Gutierrez admitted that he finds both IndyCar and the FIA World Endurance Championship interesting racing options, but doubts he’ll move into the latter until much later in his career.

“I think both are very interesting. Probably in my case, IndyCar is more attractive. I think WEC is still something I think of as in the future.

“I’m still quite young, so there’s much more to learn and much more to do. So IndyCar is quite attractive. Let’s see what all of the different options are.”