Montreal ePrix

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Buemi disqualified from Montreal Formula E opener

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MONTREAL, Canada – Sebastien Buemi has been disqualified from the opening race of the Montreal Formula E weekend after his car was found to be underweight.

Buemi suffered a sizeable crash during second practice in Montreal, giving his Renault e.dams team a significant repair job to complete in time for the race.

The team was able to get the car fixed in time, allowing Buemi to provisionally finish fourth and sit six points shy of race winner Lucas di Grassi in the points standings heading into Sunday’s season finale.

However, the FIA stewards found after the race that Buemi’s car was underweight, and despite fully considering the circumstances of its rebuild, opted to disqualify the Swiss racer.

“The stewards note that this car was in large part destroyed in an accident during practice two. The team used a new monocoque, battery pack and gearbox as well as many other new parts,” a statement reads.

“There was reportedly insufficient time to weight the car after the rebuild and before the race, even though the weighing platform schedule had been increased by 30 minutes the technical delegate.

“The team reportedly added 4 kg additional ballast to compensate for any weight variation in the rebuilt car.”

Renault e.dams will not be appealing the decision, meaning the race result is now official.

Buemi will therefore head into Sunday’s season finale trailing di Grassi by 18 points with 29 available.

Di Grassi takes Montreal Formula E win as pressure tolls for Buemi

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MONTREAL, Canada – Lucas di Grassi moved into the lead of the Formula E drivers’ championship for the first time this season by going wire-to-wire in Montreal on Saturday as the pressure tolled on rival Sebastien Buemi.

Di Grassi delivered a near-perfect weekend, taking pole and leading every lap en route to victory to pull six points clear of Buemi in the standings.

Buemi was forced to start 12th on the grid after a battery change triggered a penalty, and fell back to 17th off the start.

The Swiss driver rose back up the order through the race, although not without getting caught up in incidents with Robin Frijns, Daniel Abt and Stephane Sarrazin, the latter fending him off to complete the podium.

Di Grassi faced late pressure from Jean-Eric Vergne after a safety car period bunched the pack, but was able to hold on and pick up his second victory of the season, hailing it as the best race of his Formula E career.

Di Grassi moved on to 175 points for the season with victory, leaving Buemi six points back on 169 with 29 up for grabs in Sunday’s championship finale.

Abt finished close behind Buemi in fifth ahead of Sam Bird, who battled his way from 18th on the grid to take sixth place for DS Virgin Racing.

Nicolas Prost wound up seventh for Renault e.dams ahead of Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, while Frijns survived his fracas with Buemi to take ninth. Felix Rosenqvist picked up the final point on offer in P10, having dropped back when running fourth due to damage on his car.

Momentum swings in FE title race as di Grassi takes Montreal pole

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MONTREAL, Canada – The momentum in the Formula E championship battle took a huge swing in Lucas di Grassi’s favor on Saturday in Montreal as the Brazilian swept to his second pole position in the all-electric series.

Di Grassi arrived in Montreal trailing long-running rival Sebastien Buemi by 10 points in the drivers’ championship, but was able to reduce the gap by three with pole and the resultant bonus score.

The sweetest success for di Grassi was not of his own design, though. Trying to find the limit of a hot lap during practice, Buemi pushed too hard, crashing hard into the wall at the chicane and causing a significant amount of damage to his car.

A new battery had to be fitted by the Renault e.dams crew, triggering a 10-place grid drop that means Buemi will start the race 12th, having originally trailed di Grassi by just two-tenths of a second.

Stephane Sarrazin will join di Grassi on the front row after an impressive run for Techeetah, while Buemi’s teammate, Nicolas Prost, is set to start in third place – directly behind di Grassi.

Di Grassi may get some assistance from his ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport teammate Daniel Abt, though, given the German will start ahead of Buemi in 11th.

Felix Rosenqvist will start P4 for Mahindra ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, while Jaguar racers Mitch Evans and Adam Carroll picked up the team’s best qualifying result of the year to secure P6 and P7 on the grid.

Oliver Turvey will start eighth for NextEV, while Tom Dillmann and Loic Duval will complete the top 10 for the start in Montreal.

Prost stresses importance of keeping Formula E on city streets

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MONTREAL, Canada – Four-time Formula 1 world champion and Renault Formula E team chief Alain Prost has moved to clarify comments regarding this weekend’s event in Montreal, stressing the importance of it taking place on the streets of the city instead of a permanent circuit.

The all-electric Formula E championship visits Montreal for the first time this weekend, with a course being created using the city streets instead of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that hosts Formula 1 race annually.

The Montreal ePrix acts as the season finale for Formula E’s third campaign, with Prost’s Renault e.dams operation in contention for both championships.

Formula E has enjoyed a strong ethos of racing on city streets instead of typical race circuits in a bid to promote electric vehicles and technology in the areas they are most needed for the future.

Reports in the Canadian press earlier this week claimed that Prost had said Formula E should have used the F1 track, but the Frenchman has moved to counter these comments and stress the importance of racing on inner-city street courses.

“I’ve never said that we should have gone to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, even if I love this place and I love the circuit. I think it is not adapted to the kind of race that we are doing at the moment,” Prost told NBC Sports.

“Obviously it’s too long and we need a shorter track, but most importantly we need the concept that we have from the beginning, supported by the FIA, that we want to be in the center of the cities. That is very important and I really support that.

“From the beginning that we heard about the project and we met the mayor two or three times, we were very happy and very positive to be in Montreal because we know the place, we know the fans that they love motor racing, and that will be something very different.

“We obviously give credibility to the electrical technology. We bring new people to watch the race. Maybe they are not interested by another sort of motor racing.

“We need a younger generation, maybe some children, they can see what is the car and technology for the future. So I’m very positive about that.

“I feel a bit sorry that I could be in the middle of a polemic. We want to be here for racing and we want to win the championship and celebrate in one of the best cities in the world.”

Buemi’s FE points lead intact despite New York no-show

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RED HOOK, NY – Sebastien Buemi will head into the final double-header round of the third FIA Formula E season with his points lead intact despite missing last weekend’s races in New York City.

Defending Formula E champion Buemi was forced to skip the inaugural New York City ePrix due to his clashing commitments with Toyota’s LMP1 team in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring.

Despite late attempts from Buemi and his Renault e.dams team to try and take some part in the New York weekend, Toyota refused to budge, giving title rival Lucas di Grassi two races to try and cut down the 32-point gap.

Di Grassi struggled through qualifying, starting P10 on Saturday and P9 on Sunday, but was able to battle back through to fourth and fifth in the respective races.

Leaving New York with a haul of 22 points, di Grassi sits 10 back from Buemi in the drivers’ championship with two races remaining, but the Brazilian nevertheless feels good about his chances.

“I think 22 points, I’m not disappointed with it. We have to improve a lot if we want to win in Montreal,” di Grassi said.

“I feel more confident than ever. With the experience that I have with Formula E, you know that it can go from hell to heaven any weekend, any race. We just have to do our best, try and win both races and see how it goes.

“It will be difficult, but nevertheless, we’re going to try very hard. The championship is in my hands. If I win both races, I am champion – no mathematics to be done. To win both races, that’s the aim. Let’s see how it goes.”

Buemi’s race at the Nürburgring seemed to be over before it had begun when he suffered a fuel pump issue on the formation lap, forcing Toyota into a lengthy repair of its TS050 Hybrid car.

Alongside Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, Buemi was able to battle his way back to fourth place, trailing the three other LMP1 hybrids.