Buemi wins Formula E title despite crashing with di Grassi in London decider

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LONDON, UK – Sebastien Buemi has been crowned the second FIA Formula E champion after a dramatic deciding race in London that saw him collide with title rival Lucas di Grassi on the first lap at Battersea Park.

Di Grassi started third behind pole-man Buemi and his Renault e.dams teammate Nico Prost in P2, but a good start saw him get a run on the pair heading towards Turn 3.

Di Grassi failed to stop his car in time for the corner, though, punting into the back of Buemi in a move that sent both into the wall and appeared to end their races. Tied on points, both retiring would have handed the championship to di Grassi on countback.

However, both managed to get going again, returning to the pits to switch to their second cars before engaging in a bizarre – at times, farcical – game of cat and mouse in a bid to set the fastest lap of the race, three points on offer for the fastest man.

In a bid to gain track position, both drivers spent extended periods in the pits, with di Grassi even laying in wait to try and compromise Buemi’s lap at points.

However, when Buemi managed to find some space, he produced the fastest lap by 1.5 seconds, leaving di Grassi with an enormous challenge to fight back and take the title away.

Di Grassi found some space after a trio of safety car periods, but fell 0.05 seconds short of Buemi’s lap time. The Swiss driver then put the final nail in the coffin by finding a further four-tenths of a second, leaving di Grassi – sat in the pits, watching his rival – to get out of his car and declare: “It’s over”.

Bizarrely, neither di Grassi nor Buemi were classified, yet with the fastest lap, Buemi had done enough to secure the title by two points. After being met by his team, he burst into tears as the enormity of the achievement sunk in.

The Buemi-di Grassi scrap aside, there was still a race to be won. Coming off the back of his victory on Saturday, Prost managed to double up for Renault e.dams, finishing seven seconds clear of Daniel Abt in second place. The result also secured a second straight teams’ championship for Renault e.dams.

Jean-Eric Vergne finished the race third on track ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Felix da Costa, only for the trio to be hit with a post-race penalty for hitting 0% power on the last lap. As a result, Jerome d’Ambrosio was promoted to third place in the final results (having finished sixth on track) ahead of Dragon Racing teammate Loic Duval and Venturi’s Stephane Sarrazin.

Vergne, Heidfeld and da Costa were therefore demoted to P7, P8 and P9, while outgoing champion Nelson Piquet Jr. rounded out the points in P10. MS Amlin Andretti drivers Robin Frijns and Simona de Silvestro both retired early on, as did Sam Bird at his home event.

IndyCar releases schedule for 2023 season

IndyCar schedule 2023
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The NTT IndyCar Series’ 2023 schedule will feature the same number of races and tracks as this season with some minor reshuffling of dates.

IndyCar will open the 2023 season March 5 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, and will conclude Sept. 10 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California. The 107th Indy 500 will take place May 28 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 17-race schedule will conclude with a stretch of eight races in the final nine weeks.

“The NTT IndyCar Series is on an impactful upward trajectory, making progress at a pace that befits our thrilling style of competition,” Penske Entertainment Corp. president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “The 2023 season provides an opportunity to further build on this trend, bringing our sport and its stars to more markets and households and reaching new consumers across the globe.”

There will be 15 events on NBC: 13 races (including six of the final seven) plus Indy 500 qualifying May 20-21. There also are three races on USA Network and the Toronto race exclusively on Peacock. All races on NBC and USA also will have live simulstreams on Peacock.

In partnership with NBC Sports, the 2022 IndyCar season was the most-watched in six years and the most-watched across NBC Sports on record. The 2022 season also was the most streamed season on record.

“We’re very excited for our 2023 NTT IndyCar Series schedule and to build on this past season’s viewership milestones,” NBC Sports vice president of programming Mike Perman said in a release. “In providing comprehensive coverage across NBC, Peacock and USA Network, NBC Sports is once again looking forward to telling the stories of these world-class drivers and this compelling series.”

Notable elements on the 2023 schedule:

–There will be the same balance of seven road course races, five street courses and five ovals.

–St. Pete will be the season opener for the 13th time.

–The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will move from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown.

–The NASCAR doubleheader weekend at the IMS road course will shift to mid-August.

–The World Wide Technology Raceway event will move from Saturday to Sunday.

Start times for the 2023 events will be announced at a later date.

Here’s the 2023 IndyCar schedule:

Date Race/Track Network/Platform
Sun., March 5 Streets of St. Petersburg NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 2 Texas Motor Speedway NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 16 Streets of Long Beach NBC, Peacock
Sun., April 30 Barber Motorsports Park NBC, Peacock
Sat., May 13 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) NBC, Peacock
Sun., May 28 The 107th Indianapolis 500 NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 4 Streets of Detroit NBC, Peacock
Sun., June 18 Road America USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 2 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course USA Network, Peacock
Sun., July 16 Streets of Toronto Peacock
Sat., July 22 Iowa Speedway – Race 1 NBC, Peacock
Sun., July 23 Iowa Speedway – Race 2 NBC, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 6 Streets of Nashville NBC, Peacock
Sat., Aug. 12 Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Road Course) USA Network, Peacock
Sun., Aug. 27 World Wide Technology Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 3 Portland International Raceway NBC, Peacock
Sun., Sept. 10 WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca NBC, Peacock

*dates and networks/platforms are subject to change