© FIA Formula E

Buemi ends Formula E win drought with controlled display in Berlin

Leave a comment

BERLIN, Germany – Sebastien Buemi ended his Formula E win drought by claiming a controlled victory in Saturday’s Berlin ePrix to move to within one point of the lead of the drivers’ championship ahead of the final round in London at the beginning of July.

Starting second, Buemi managed to seize the lead from pole-sitter Jean-Eric Vergne at the first corner before enjoying a spirited battle with the Frenchman through the opening stages of the race.

An opportunistic pass at Turn 5 on lap six paid off for Buemi, putting him into a lead that he only relinquished through the pit stop phase.

The Renault e.dams driver’s advantage stood at 10 seconds after the car swaps, but a late safety car called for Loic Duval’s crash put him under pressure for the final two laps of the race.

However, Buemi was able to keep his cool and sweep to his third victory of the season, his first since the Punta del Este ePrix back in December.

Buemi will go to the final double-header round in London with only a one point deficit in the drivers’ championship after leader Lucas di Grassi could only finish third.

Di Grassi had qualified down in 10th place, but battled his way up into third ahead of the final two laps of green flag running.

The ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team gave di Grassi’s teammate, Daniel Abt, the call to move aside in second place and let the Brazilian past, only for the German to not adhere to this order for fear of losing a podium position.

Abt was able to cross the line second and record his best-ever result in Formula E, while di Grassi was forced to settle for third. He is also subject to a post-race investigation from the stewards for allegedly speeding under a full course yellow.

Nicolas Prost’s difficult run of form continued as he could only finish fourth in the second Renault e.dams car, while Vergne bounced back from losing his front wing just before the car swaps to finish fifth for DS Virgin Racing. Teammate Sam Bird had run with him up front early on, only to also sustain damage to his car that left him to settle for 11th at the flag.

Robin Frijns led Andretti’s charge in sixth place, and was joined in the points by teammate Simona de Silvestro as she recorded her second top-10 finish in Formula E by crossing the line ninth.

Nick Heidfeld charged from the back of the field after being excluded from qualifying to finish seventh ahead of Mike Conway, while Stephane Sarrazin’s pit lane start failed to hold him back too much as he picked up the final point for P10.

WATCH: Red Bull F1 team completes pit stop in zero gravity

1 Comment

The Red Bull Racing pit crew may have already made headlines last weekend when it completed the fastest pit stop in Formula One history, changing Max Verstappen’s tires in 1.82 seconds, but the team’s most recent stunt took their skills to new heights – quite literally.

With the help of the Russian Space agency Roscomos, a group of the team’s mechanics completed the world’s first zero-gravity pit stop, on-board a IIyushin II-76K cosmonaut training plane.

Using a 2005 BR1, the team filmed the viral video over the course of a week, enduring seven flights and about 80 parabolas – periods in which the plane climbs 45 degrees before falling again at a ballistic arch of 45 degrees, creating a period of weightlessness for approximately 22 seconds.

With such a short time frame between weightlessness periods, the car and equipment had to be both quickly and safely secured before gravity once again took effect. Each filming lasted roughly 15 seconds, and the stunt was the most physically and technically demanding activity the live demo team had ever undertaken.

“It pushed us harder than I thought it would,” said Red Bull Support Team Mechanic Joe Robinson. “You realize how much you rely on gravity when you don’t have any!

“It challenges you to think and operate in a different way – and that was brilliant. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and honestly, I could have stayed and done it all month. It was amazing. I think it’s the coolest, most fun thing the Live Demo team has ever done with a show car.”

Though Red Bull was the first team to perform a pit stop in zero gravity, surprisingly Red Bull was not the first team to put a car through zero gravity. In 1999, McLaren driver David Coulthard and his car experienced zero gravity as part of a promotion for then-sponsor West Cigarettes.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter