Formula E: Sebastien Buemi survives late to win in Uruguay

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Sebastien Buemi emerged victorious following a two-lap dash to the checkered flag in this afternoon’s FIA Formula E race at Punta del Este, Uruguay.

A crash with four laps to go involving Andretti’s Matthew Brabham brought out the safety car and bunched up the field for a final run to the finish, with Buemi in first and the other Andretti driver, former F1 pilot Jean-Eric Vergne, in second place.

When racing resumed, Buemi was forced to cut a chicane after locking up going in while trying to hold off Vergne. But later in the same lap, Vergne’s machine suddenly slowed down and came to a halt on course.

The snake-bitten Andretti team indicated on Twitter that a suspension issue was the culprit:

That effectively gave the win to Buemi, the F1 test driver for Red Bull Racing and one-half of the World Endurance Championship driver’s champions with Toyota Hybrid partner Anthony Davidson.

Buemi led home runner-up Nelson Piquet Jr., championship leader Lucas di Grassi in third, Jarno Trulli in fourth, and Jaime Alguersuari in fifth.

“It’s been a very difficult journey so far, because the first two races went worse than expected,” said Buemi, who drives for the e.dams-Renault team in F-E. “But today, we did everything right, so I’m more than happy. I’m delighted for the team. It’s been very difficult and now, we’ve won our first race.”

Vergne made a great first impression in F-E by qualifying on the pole earlier today, but off the start for the 31-lap event, Piquet beat him on the inside into Turn 1 to take the lead for China Racing.

The first safety car of the day came out not too long after that on Lap 4 after Sam Bird, the most recent F-E winner in Malaysia, got crossed up going into the Turn 1 chicane and then jumped over the curbing before hitting the wall. This marked the end of a rough day for the Brit, who had also crashed in qualifying.

Racing resumed at Lap 7 with Vergne continuing to push hard for the lead. But the Frenchman radioed in that he was having problems utilizing his Fan Boost to get past Piquet.

A second safety car period then started at Lap 10 for recovery of the stricken Amlin Aguri machine of Antonio Felix da Costa. Shortly after the green came back out at Lap 12, Vergne got a draft on Piquet and went to the inside for a out-braking move at the hairpin to take the lead at Lap 13.

Vergne’s reign at the front was short-lived, however, as he chose to swap cars in the pits at Lap 16. He ducked in before the safety car emerged for a third time following a crash involving Stephane Sarrazin, who damaged his Venturi car after aggressively going over a curb and then spun out directly in front of Brabham right into the inside wall.

That brought almost everybody else into the pits for car swaps, and when the order shook out, Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld and Buemi had beat out Vergne for first and second.

But after the race restarted at Lap 19, Heidfeld and Top-5 runner Nicolas Prost were both hit with drive-through penalties for using too much power (Prost and Heidfeld would recover to finish seventh and 10th respectively).

Those calls made Buemi the new leader ahead of Vergne in second, Piquet in third, and di Grassi in fourth. Vergne closed down on Buemi and was within a second of him before Brabham’s late incident with four to go.

di Grassi’s third consecutive podium finish enabled him to stretch his driver’s points lead to 18 points over both Buemi and Bird. Meanwhile, Buemi and Prost’s e.dams-Renault have seized the team championship lead by two points over Audi Sport Abt, which runs both di Grassi and Daniel Abt.

The latter driver was stymied by early mechanical problems but still ran the fastest lap in the race and secured two bonus points for himself with that distinction.

The next F-E race comes Jan. 10, 2015 in Buenos Aires.

IndyCar’s Scott Dixon staying fit with new training regimen during layoff

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During a regular racing schedule, five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing would spend much of his time between races at PitFit in Indianapolis.

The highly advanced workout facility on the northwest side of Indianapolis is run by noted sports trainer Jim Leo. His clientele includes IndyCar Series drivers and other athletes in the area.

In addition to the array of workout machines, Leo’s facility also has advanced equipment to test a driver’s reaction time. These range from a board with lights that rapidly flash, and a driver has to hit the board to turn them off. There are other tests drivers do to keep their skills sharp and reaction time focused.

Times have changed, though.

Indiana is under a statewide lockdown with the exception of essential services only. Instead of going to PitFit, Dixon is working out at his home on the north side of Indianapolis.

RELATED: How is Sabres’ star Jack Eichel staying fit?

His reaction time is being tested by his wife, Emma, throwing a tennis ball at him, changing the direction with each toss.

“I’ve gone back to old school, like tennis balls and Emma can drop them or throw them,” Dixon told NBCSports.com. “As long as you keep up with basic cardio and lift weights and work on the neck muscles, that’s the harder part to get ready for.

“I had already stopped going into Pit Fit last week. We had not been doing that for a while. Haven’t left the house for 13 days, now. We went to the grocery store once. The rest of the stuff has been delivered.

“We’re locked down, man, trying to do our best for everyone else.”


Dixon’s home has an impressive array of workout equipment. That allows the 39-year-old racing legend to stay fit during this extended time off that won’t end until the last week of May at the earliest.

“I have most of the stuff I need at home,” Dixon explained. “Some of the reaction stuff, the D-2s and Synaptic machines plus some of the upper-body machines, are pretty unique machines. Those are the machines that Jim Leo has at PitFit.

“As far as cycling, running, general weights, skiers and rollers, I have that at home.”

It seems like a lifetime ago when the world was normal. That was before the dreaded novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic literally sent society underground and locked in while awaiting a solution to this fatal virus.

Photo by Chris Graythen, Getty Images

Before this unexpected shutdown, Dixon would go into PitFit to work on specialized equipment on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. He would do the rest of his physical workout at home.

“I started skipping that when we got home before the lockdown,” Dixon said. “Before the lockdown, Jim could have stayed open because he never has more than 10 people at once.

“Typically, he would have the drivers spaced out where Tony Kanaan and I would go in at 8 in the morning, and Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe would go in at 9:30, and then Zach Veach and Spencer Pigot and Charlie Kimball would go in around 11. There were only about five of us going in at once.”

Two weeks ago, Leo dropped off some equipment at Dixon’s house along with more instructions to focus on his workouts during the layoff.

Sacrifices are being made all throughout the world, including racing.

“You can’t be selfish,” Dixon said. “It sucks for the drivers, but it sucks a lot worse for a lot of other people. Luckily, the school the girls go to has e-learning. It’s school as usual on the computer from 8:30 to 3 and that has been seamless on that front.

“On a personal note, it’s nice to be home with the baby and bonding as well, and that is great. But all of us wish everything was back to normal as soon as possible.”

RELATED: Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph adjusting to ‘new normal’ for training

Dixon is the father of three, including young daughters Poppy (10), Tilly (8) and infant son, Kit.

This is a time to keep his family safe.

“You hear mixed messages about who is more at risk,” Dixon said. “Obviously, older people with underlying conditions. We’re a fairly healthy family, but still it sounds like something can trigger a pretty bad situation. It’s better to be safe than sorry so we are limiting our contact as fast as possible. The quicker everybody locks down, the quicker we will get through the situation. If we stay home, we will see a decline and hopefully get back to normal pretty quickly.

“It’s a new thing for everybody.”


For now, Dixon works out at home, while the girls continue their classes on the computer. Emma spends time with her infant son, Kit, while taking care of the family.

These days of working out at home will be important because once racing is scheduled to return, tentatively set for May 30 at Detroit, it will be flat-out, racing nearly every weekend.

There won’t be time off inbetween races.

“No, but everybody is having plenty of rest right now,” Dixon quipped. “It’s not what anybody wants. We all keep hoping everybody remains safe and healthy. It’s a difficult time for a lot of people and we’ve been very lucky that we don’t know anybody that has had an issue so far. Hopefully, that remains the same.

“Everybody is ready to go. We were ready to go at St. Pete. This will be welcomed greatly.

“Nothing is normal these days. I think what IndyCar and IMS did was probably the best of the situations. You never want to move the dates of the 500, but you always want the people to be relaxed enough they are going to come to the race, too.

“The way they have done the schedule is pretty cool. It gives them enough wiggle room now with Detroit being the kickoff. What is also fun is the July 4 doubleheader weekend at Indianapolis and St. Pete finishing the season.”

Once life returns to normal, depending on what the new normal will look like, race drivers and athletes will once again be in an area they know.

The difficult part of this, however, is nobody knows when the COVID-19 outbreak will end.

“The hard part right now is there are so many unknowns,” Dixon said. “That is what people hate. They could wrap their hands around two weeks, but it could be another six weeks. People will go crazy.

“That is what we are going through right now. The unknown. Nobody knows what the next step is.”

That is why Dixon has a message for all race fans to take these orders seriously.

“Stay safe. Stay away from people. Lock down. Get this period done with,” Dixon said. “Once we do that, hopefully we can crack on like normal, and people can find fixes and therapies. As soon as everybody bunkers down, we will get through this sooner instead of later.

“Let’s get back to normal as quick as possible and get back to racing when we can.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500