Formula E: Series boss shrugs off Sebastian Vettel’s “cheese” comment


Last summer, as the FIA prepared to launch its all-electric Formula E championship, four-time Formula One World Champion Sebastian Vettel didn’t give the upstart series a vote of confidence.

In fact, he called it “cheese.” And not in a good way.

But as his series prepared to race in Buenos Aires this afternoon, F-E boss Alejandro Agag has taken the high road on the matter.

In fact, Agag has expressed his hope that Vettel will eventually change his tune and experience F-E himself.

“We’re big admirers of Vettel,” Agag said on Thursday according to Reuters. “He just doesn’t like Formula E. Maybe one day, we can convince him to come to Formula E.”

Perhaps Vettel’s comments last summer stemmed from the image issues that go with electric cars. Those issues are something that F-E is hoping to solve as it works toward becoming a stronger series in the years ahead.

“People don’t think of them as quick, as cool,” Agag said before adding that “we respect what Vettel thinks, but I also respect what Alain Prost thinks” – a reference to the four-time World Champion, who helps lead the e.dams-Renault squad in the series.

F-E may not be the fastest series in the land, but it has provided its fair share of highlights in its opening races.

The inaugural event in Beijing ended in mayhem as Lucas di Grassi won following a wild, last-lap crash involving Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld. Solid races have followed at Putrajaya, Malaysia (won by former F1 prospect Sam Bird) and most recently at Punta del Este, Uruguay (won by current F1 test driver Sebastien Buemi).

Not bad considering the series was essentially nothing just a couple of years ago.

“Two years ago, we didn’t have cars, we didn’t have venues, we didn’t have teams. We didn’t have sponsors or broadcasters,” said Agag. “Today, we have a championship going full-on with big fights between the drivers.”

That championship takes another turn this afternoon in Buenos Aires (start time, 2 p.m. ET) on a 1.5-mile street circuit set at the city’s Puerto Madero district.

Buemi, the series’ most recent winner, appears ready to continue his momentum. After leading both practice sessions earlier this morning, he has won pole position for today’s race.

He’ll be joined on the front row by Jaime Alguersuari, who just missed the pole by 27 one-thousandths of a second. Heidfeld and Bird will be in Row 2.

Despite a small accident in qualifying, championship leader Di Grassi shall start on the inside of Row 3. He’s joined there by Andretti’s Jean-Eric Vergne, who challenged Buemi for the win in Uruguay before a mechanical failure stopped his surge.

Speaking of Andretti, IndyCar veteran Marco Andretti will make his F-E debut from 14th on the grid. He’ll have familiar company in Row 7 with another long-time IndyCar pilot, Oriol Servia, starting to his inside.

Todd LeDuc advances two positions in Monster Jam Power Rankings

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Neil Elliott held onto the top spot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings, but he has a new driver sniffing his exhaust as Todd Leduc advanced two positions to second this week.

The Stadium Series Green continues to hold the advantage in the Power Rankings with Elliott topping the chart, Morgan Kane in fourth, and Ryan Anderson eighth, but there is an equitable distribution among the other series throughout the field.

Notably, Leduc and his Monster Energy truck in the Stadium Series Red closed the gap with a 38-point overall victory at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. Leduc achieved his win through consistency, pocketing the overall without winning a single individual event. Leduc’s best session was a second-place finish to Mike Vaters II in Overkill Evolution by .001 points.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, Elliott rambled on. Elliott won his sixth skills challenge in seven contests so far. That contributed to his 35 points for the event at PETCO Park in San Diego and allowed him to hold onto the No. 1 slot in the Monster Jam Power Rankings.

Colton Eichelberger also held station. Third last week, he entered the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on a mission in the Triple Threat Series Central. He topped the event points in all four events with timed race wins in each session, ATV race wins in three of the four, three wins in the speedster obstacle course, two freestyle wins and one win in the donut competitions.

MORE: Ryan Anderson and the anatomy of a Monster Jam freestyle run

Morgan Kane and Grave Digger had a rough night. He was ousted from the racing event in Round 2 by Max-D and Elliott. He failed to win either of the other two competitions of the night and ended with 29 points, which was a distant third to Ryan Anderson’s Son-Uva Digger (37) and Max-D (35).

Brandon Vinson moved up to the fifth position with three wins in the Triple Threat Series West. During the weekend he earned seven session wins, including a sweep of the speedster obstacle course and two victories in the two-wheel skills challenge.

Tom Meents debuted on the Monster Jam Power Rankings in 10th by winning the overall in back to back nights of the Stadium Series Yellow. The Saturday show can be seen Feb. 22 at 11:30 p.m. on NBCSN (click here for streaming). The highlight of Meents’ weekend were race wins on Saturday and Sunday, defeating Coty Saucier in a Monster Energy truck on Night 1 and Eric Swanson in Obsessed on Night 2.

Power Rankings

1. Neil Elliott–same
2. Todd LeDuc–up 2
3. Colton Eichelberger-same
4. Morgan Kane–down 2
5. Brandon Vinson–up 1
6. Tyler Menninga–up 1
7. Coty Saucier–down 2
8. Ryan Anderson–same
9. Linsey Read–up 1
10. Tom Meents-new for 2020

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on Eastern time on NBCSN)

Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Denver: April 25 (Saturday); 6:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals Racing: May 9 (Saturday); 5 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.