Miami ePrix post-race notebook: On the crowd, movers, shakers, and the Bird


MIAMI – The Miami ePrix podium produced three good storylines as it was, in the form of another first-time winner (Nicolas Prost), an American comeback story (Scott Speed) and a young charger finally breaking through for his first top-three finish (Daniel Abt).

After the top-three finishers, there were still plenty of news nuggets to emerge from the first FIA Formula E Championship race in the U.S.:

  • 20,000 attendees on site: FIA Formula E announced a crowd of 20,000 in its official post-race press release, which, judging from the ground, seemed a perfectly legitimate number. It was nice the circuit filled in nicely given the morning delays in track construction, which backed up track activity by nearly three hours from the anticipated start time.
  • Prost takes points lead: Nicolas Prost’s win moved him past Lucas di Grassi for the series points lead, the first time the Brazilian has not held the top spot. Prost has a seven-point edge, 67-60, heading to Long Beach in three weeks. Sam Bird is third with 52, ahead of Nelson Piquet Jr. on 49 and Sebastien Buemi on 43. In the Team’s Championship, e.dams Renault now holds a 31-point edge on Audi Sport ABT and 32 on Virgin Racing (110-79-78).
  • da Costa, Duval make big strides: Antonio Felix da Costa (Amlin Aguri) and series debutante Loic Duval (Dragon Racing) were the two biggest movers on the day, climbing from 16th and 18th to sixth and seventh by the checkered flag, respectively. Da Costa noted his lengthier first stint allowed him to push harder in the second, where he got back by Duval after a racelong battle with the Audi factory ace. “There was a big fight going on in the beginning with maybe five or six cars, and I was hanging back in that group. But once I could push, I could have fun then because I could see the others struggling with energy ahead,” da Costa told MotorSportsTalk.
  • Bird, Virgin hit energy snag: Virgin’s Bird was poised to win after a great pass for the lead of polesitter Jean-Eric Vergne on Lap 19, but fought through energy issues at the end of his first stint and the entirety of his second. “I tried to get the lead, got it, then the next lap my energy went down and slowed on me for no apparent reason. It was constant the whole race, then when I got down to 1.5 to 1.4 percent, it went 1.5, 1.4, 1.3, 1.2, 1.1 in the space of 10 seconds! We need to figure that out. I had to be really careful,” Bird told reporters post-race.
  • Miami miserable to Mahindra: Bruno Senna won FanBoost, but that was about as good as the day got for the Carlin-run Mahindra Racing operation in Miami. The Brazilian was first retirement due to a suspension failure, while Karun Chandhok was issued a drive-through penalty for max use overuse of energy en route to 14th. This marked Mahindra’s first scoreless weekend of the season and leaves only three teams, e.dams, Virgin and Dragon, as the only teams to score in each weekend thus far.
  • Other results of note: While Prost had a great day, e.dams teammate Buemi had a spin in qualifying and never recovered. He started and finished a lackluster 13th… Scott Speed and Loic Duval scored on their debuts, while other newcomers Vitantonio Liuzzi and Charles Pic ended a lapped 16th and 17th. Pic ran off course on Turn 5 on the opening lap and never recovered… In 10th, Salvador Duran scored his first point of the season for Amlin Aguri.