Heidfeld in talks with teams over Formula E seat for season two

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LONDON – Venturi Formula E Team driver Nick Heidfeld has revealed that he is in talks with teams over a seat for the second season of the FIA Formula E championship in spite of a difficult first campaign.

Heidfeld had been poised to win the inaugural ePrix in Beijing last September, only to crash out at the final corner after being hit by Nicolas Prost.

Since then, Heidfeld’s luck has failed to improve, limiting him to just a single podium finish at the Moscow ePrix three weeks ago.

Speaking to MotorSportsTalk ahead of this weekend’s season finale in London, the German said that although his first year has been a tough one, he believes that it has been a great success for the series as a whole.

As a result, Heidfeld is in talks with multiple teams over a drive for season two.

“For me personally it was unlucky, but for Formula E as a whole, I think it was very, very successful,” Heidfeld said.

“I want to be here in season two and I’m talking to teams at the moment.”

Another driver that is keen to remain in the championship for the 2015-2016 campaign is Mahindra Racing’s Bruno Senna, who hinted that he could be set to remain with the Indian team.

“We’ve had a difficult season,” Senna said. “The first season is always bit of a tricky one in that you don’t know which team or circumstances will be best, so I think we definitely could have done better.

“But at the same time we’ve had lots of bad luck as well. I had so many car failures, so many part failures. We lost lots of points from that.

“We need to improve, and I think we know a lot of the weak points we’ve had this year, so we’re going to try and make them better for next season.”

Max Verstappen shows speed in Austria; Lewis Hamilton lacking pace

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Red Bull driver Max Verstappen posted the fastest time Friday, and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton lacked pace in the second practice session for the Styrian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 0.043 seconds quicker than Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes – and 0.217 ahead of Racing Point driver Sergio Perez.

“The car already feels better than last week, the balance is a lot nicer and we have made a good step,” said Verstappen, who did not finish last Sunday’s season-opening Austrian GP after starting from second.

“It is too early to say how we are looking against Mercedes, but we are quite happy. We have tried a few different directions to understand the car a bit more and we are heading the right way.”

Hamilton was only sixth fastest, about 0.7 seconds slower than Verstappen. Hamilton spent a chunk of time in the garage while his team worked on his car.

“It was quite far off, so there’s a lot of work to do in the background to figure it out,” he said. “Others out there are quick and Valtteri’s obviously got good pace.”

Despite adding a new front wing to its car, struggling Ferrari had a dismal afternoon.

Charles Leclerc was only ninth quickest and 1 second slower than Verstappen, while teammate Sebastian Vettel lagged about 2 seconds behind Verstappen in 16th.

Daniel Ricciardo lost control of his Renault car early into the second session, swerving left off the track and thudding backward into a protective tire wall. He climbed out unharmed, other than a slight limp, but the left rear tire was mangled and the car was lifted off the track by a crane.

Alexander Albon spun twice, the Red Bull driver’s second spin taking him right off the track and into gravel.

Earlier, Perez was fastest in the first practice ahead of Verstappen and Bottas, with Hamilton fourth quickest and Vettel only 10th in sunny conditions.

That session was briefly interrupted when Nicholas Latifi’s Williams car pulled over to the side with a gearbox issue.

The incident brought out yellow flags, forcing drivers to slow down. But McLaren driver Lando Norris overtook Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri and got a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

Norris, 20, finished third at the Austrian GP last weekend, becoming the youngest British driver in F1 history to get on the podium and third youngest in F1.

The upcoming race is changing names from last week but is at the same track. It is surrounded by the Styrian mountains.

A third and final practice will be held on Saturday morning before qualifying in the afternoon, with heavy rain and storms in the forecast.

If third practice and qualifying are washed out, drivers take their grid positions from where they placed in second practice.

“It would definitely suck if we didn’t get to qualify,” said Hamilton, who started fifth and finished fourth last weekend. “It would make it challenging.”

However, qualifying also could be moved to Sunday morning.

“I don’t expect to be on pole position with this (practice) lap,” Verstappen said.