© FIA Formula E

Jerome d’Ambrosio takes Mexico City ePrix pole for Dragon

Leave a comment

Jerome d’Ambrosio will start Saturday’s Mexico City ePrix from pole position after producing a stunning final lap in qualifying at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

D’Ambrosio claimed his first Formula E pole in Punta del Este two races ago, and his second came in similar circumstances as he perfected an ‘all or nothing’ lap to leave his rivals without answer.

After finishing fourth in the main qualifying standings, d’Ambrosio posted a time of 1:03.705 in the Super Pole session to take provisional pole from Daniel Abt.

Neither Lucas di Grassi nor Nicolas Prost could beat d’Ambrosio’s time despite having quicker cars, leaving championship leader Sebastien Buemi as the only driver who could deny the Belgian pole.

Buemi went faster in the first sector, only to make an error for the third qualifying session in a row that meant he could only finish fifth, handing pole to d’Ambrosio.

“I think it’s unexpected in the sense that we knew we were going to try for the top five – it’s the same thing as Punta,” d’Ambrosio said.

“I went to Jay [Penske] and said ‘I think we’re going to be P4 and P5 because the ultimate speed is around there, but you’re OK if I go full on and take all the risks?’.

“He said ‘do what you’ve got to do, but keep it in one piece’. I said I’d try! I went for it, and it worked out. Now there’s a race to do, but it’s another couple of points. I’m happy for everyone in the team.”

Jean-Eric Vergne narrowly missed out on a place in the Super Pole shootout, finishing sixth ahead of Antonio Felix da Costa and Loic Duval. Nick Heidfeld and Stephane Sarrazin rounded out the top 10.

Defending champion Nelson Piquet Jr. saw his ailing title defence take another hit as he crashed heavily at the first corner on his fast lap, breaking the TecPro barrier in two. Thankfully, he walked away unaided from the shunt, although the same could not be said of his car, leaving the NEXTEV TCR team with a big repair job ahead of the race.

The Mexico City ePrix begins at 5pm ET on Saturday.

Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

Leave a comment

Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”