Section: Formula E

Formula E: Nico Prost powers to first win in Miami

Nico Prost held off a late charge from Scott Speed to take victory in the Miami ePrix.

It meant e.dams-Renault became the first team to score a second win, but five races in and we’re still waiting for a driver to do the same.

Prost didn’t look like a potential winner during the first half of the race, as he was muscled out of second place by Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird. Bird chased down poleman Jean-Eric Vergne (Andretti) as the lead pair established a small margin over the chasing pack.

The Brit pulled off a fine overtaking move to take the lead, but almost immediately had to slow to avoid over consuming his energy. The slow lap back to the pits dropped him to eighth place and out of the fight for the win.

Vergne’s hopes were dashed by a long pitstop and then fading energy. With his pace compromised he slipped two laps behind and came home 18th – the last of the classified runners.

As Vergne and Bird hit trouble, so Daniel Abt moved into the lead, just pipping Prost as the e.dams racer rejoined from the pits.

With Lucas di Grassi close behind, the lead trio circulated in close company, but without ever threatening each other. The action was further back in the top-10, where Speed was in inspired form. Having dispatched team-mate Vergne, he set about and passed Jerome D’Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) and then di Grassi in short order.

Having pitted a lap earlier than his rivals, Abt was running low on energy, and with Speed looming large in his mirrors, Prost knew he couldn’t afford to get stuck behind the German. He took the lead with a superb lunge, but Speed also took advantage of the compromised Abt, and forced his way into second.

The American had Prost in his sights, but there was just a lap left to go. With both drivers giving 100 per cent, it was an enthralling final lap, with Prost doing just enough to hold on for his first win and to take the championship lead in the process.

“It didn’t hit me that I’d won until I got back to the pits because they forgot to give me the chequered flag!” he smiled. “I was still pushing like crazy. It was a really good race. When I got out after my change Daniel and I were side-by-side but then I knew he had to do one more lap so I was still saving a lot of energy thinking that I might get a shot. Daniel was running out of energy so I could overtake him.”

Given he had to race in a plain white helmet such was the last-minute nature of the deal, Speed was understandably thrilled to have driven such a competitive race.

Read more at Formula E

Formula E: Da Costa claims thrilling maiden victory

Antonio Felix da Costa claimed a remarkable first Formula E victory after four cars ahead of him faltered in the closing stages in Argentina.

Sebastian Buemi, Lucas di Grassi, Nick Heidfeld and Sam Bird all hit trouble late on to give the Portuguese a memorable victory, Amlin Aguri’s first of the season. Buemi had led away from pole at the start of the race and looked in control until after the first pit stops but eventually buckled under pressure from di Grassi, clipping the wall at the high-speed chicane.

Di Grassi’s lead lasted just two laps before his suspension snapped at the same point, promoting Heidfeld up the order. But the German’s hopes of victory were then undone when he received a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Da Costa had already been elevated to second when Bird was handed a drive-through penalty of his own.

After Da Vosta inherited the lead from Heidfeld the drama stopped and he brought the car home victory, with Nicolas Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr rounding off the podium places ahead of Jaime Alguersuari, Bruno Senna. Jean_Eric Vergne finished sixth, though he could have been on the podium where it not for late contact with Alguersuari as the pair battled for third.

Read more at ESPN

Formula E: Brilliant Buemi wins in Punta del Este

Sebastien Buemi clinched his first Formula E victory with a great drive in Punta del Este, holding off a charging Jean-Eric Vergne for a well-deserved win.

Vergne started from pole, but lost out to the fast-starting Nelson Piquet Jr. But as the China Racing driver sought to press home his early advantage he pushed a bit too hard and brushed the wall.

The damage was minor, but it meant that the handling of his car started to deteriorate. Vergne took the lead with a well-judged lunge into the Turn 8 hairpin and instantly pulled clear as Piquet battled with e.dams-Renault team-mates Buemi and Nico Prost, as well as an ill-handling car.

When Venturi’s Stephane Sarrazin hit a kerb hard and broke his suspension and spun, the Qualcomm Safety Car came out. Its mid-race timing was perfect and all the drivers darted into the pits. This was especially well-timed for Mahindra’s Bruno Senna, who’d tagged the wall avoiding the spinning Sarrazin. He three-wheeled back to the pits, swapped cars and continued.

The caution period came a lap after Vergne had pitted and he lost the lead to Buemi, who had finally found a way by Piquet, during the stops.

For the rest of the race Buemi had Vergne in hot pursuit. But with four laps to go, the BMW i8 was deployed again, this time after Matthew Brabham slammed his Andretti entry into the wall of the exit of the fast T15 chicane.

At the restart Vergne deployed his FanBoost, and although he closed right in, it wasn’t quite enough to make a pass. It seemed set for an epic final lap battle, only for Vergne to be denied by broken suspension. It was a cruel end to a great debut.

With Piquet too far back to attack, Buemi could relax and score an impressive win.

“I knew he was going to use his FanBoost, clearly we took it a little bit too safe in the last few laps when he started to catch me because I was still trying to save energy,” he said. “I knew he was going to be fast but I don’t know what happened to him in the end. I’m really happy with today’s result.”

After being denied in Malaysia, Piquet was naturally thrilled to score his first podium finish.

For the third time in three races Lucas di Grassi scored a podium finish, extending his championship lead to 18 points in the process.

“It was a great start, immediate reaction and the car handled very well. On the first lap I attacked the chicane a little bit too hard trying to build a gap and I think I damaged my front suspension,” he said. “We got a bit lucky to get second place when Jean-Eric had a problem but we’re all happy.”

Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird remains in second, level on points with Buemi, but it was a race to forget for the Putrajaya winner. He crashed out early on at T2, causing the first of the three Qualcomm safety car periods.

Jarno Trulli scored his first Formula E points after a feisty drive to fourth. The Italian enjoyed race-long battles with the likes of Brabham and Sarrazin.

“It’s a reasonable result for us,” he said. “It’s a good result for the team, but I seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time a lot!”

Jaime Alguersuari was fifth for Virgin Racing, Senna took sixth, Prost seventh after being penalised for using too much power. Dragon Racing team-mate Jerome d’Ambrosio and Oriol Servia took eighth and ninth, while Nick Heidfeld finally scored his first point in 10th.

The Venturi driver actually came out in the lead during the pitstop, but was penalised for exceeding the minimum time. He was punished again for using too much power, but on the last lap his used his FanBoost to overtake Antonio Garcia and score a point.

Daniel Abt picked up two bonus points for the fastest lap, but it was not a happy race for the German. His Audi Sport Abt car kept switching itself off, which meant he finally finished 15th, three laps down.


Formula E: Jean-Eric Vergne to compete with Andretti in Uruguay

The Andretti Formula E Team have today announced that Frenchman Jean-Éric Vergne is to drive for the squad at the FIA Formula E Championship Punta del Este ePrix.

“It’s not often that you get to race at this time of the year,” said Vergne. “I am really looking forward to this opportunity, especially given its location in a place like Punta del Este. Although I have no experience in this new series, I am excited about the prospect of racing in Formula E, and racing for such a prestigious team as Andretti. As always, the main objective of the weekend is to stay out front and finish the year on a high note. The weekend will be a little like a journey into the unknown, but it is a journey that I am thoroughly looking forward to!”

The 24-year-old has three seasons of Formula One experience and has participated in seven championships throughout his career, recording 40 victories and 68 podiums. The 2010 British Formula 3 Champion will join fellow countryman Franck Montagny to complete the Andretti Formula E two-car line-up for the American team led by Michael Andretti.

“We’re really happy to put JEV (Jean-Éric Vergne) in the car for Punta del Este,” said Andretti. “He has great talent and we think he’ll pair well with our team for competitive results. I also think having interest and participation from respected F1 drivers shows great strength and the true potential for Formula E as a series and World Championship.”

The Punta del Este ePrix will mark the Formula E debut for Vergne, who competed full-time on the Formula 1 circuit with Scuderia Toro Rosso where he ranked 13th in the 2014 F1 Drivers’ standings. The previous two rounds in the inaugural all-electric racing series saw the team’s full-season championship driver Montagny, as well as Charles Pic and reserve driver Matthew Brabham in competition for Andretti.


Formula E: Battersea race gets final approval by local council

London’s Formula E fixture in Battersea Park has been given final approval by the local council.

Wandsworth Borough Council’s community services overview and scrutiny committee last week approved the plans for the Formula E Championship to host its seasonal finale in the London Park at end of June next year.

That decision is due to be rubber-stamped by the council’s executive this week, but the race will still be subject to the necessary planning permission being obtained for the temporary structures required to turn the grade II listed park into a racing venue.

The council’s environment spokesman, councillor Jonathan Cook said: “This is a great opportunity for Battersea to host a major global sporting event and I am sure that many people living locally will be thrilled at the prospect of watching these exciting racing cars in action in the park.”

Tentative approval for the race was given by the relevant council committee in September, but the final decision was delayed from a planned extra-ordinary meeting of that body in October until last week.

That was to allow time for the Heritage Lottery Fund, which made a major investment into the park’s infrastructure between 1998 and 2003, to have its say.

The council only gave its blessing to the Formula E fixture after the HLF concluded that the event was appropriate for the park.

The all-electric event will take place on a track made out of the park’s perimeters roads measuring just under two miles.

The London event, scheduled at the moment for Saturday, June 27, could become a two-day double-header.

Formula E boss Alejandro Agag revealed at the Beijing series opener in September that one of the European venues could hold two races to bring the inaugural championship up to 10 rounds.

A spokesman for Formula E said: “It is an option for London and we want to give ourselves that possibility.

“The planning application has been submitted and we will have to wait until February for the final green light, but we are very positive.”

Read more at Autosport

Formula E: Sam Bird seals victory in the Putrajaya ePrix

Sam Bird cruised to victory at the second race of the Formula E season in Putrajaya ahead of championship leader Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi.

The Virgin Racing driver crossed the line to pick up the full 25 points and clinch his maiden ePrix win.

Bird said: “The weekend went really well, we were quick from the first outing and we were quickest in practice. Qualifying didn’t quite go our way as I think we were not in the best group for doing a fast lap time but we put that right in the race.

Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas di Grassi and e.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi both managed to fight their way through the field to stand on the podium despite starting at the back of the grid.

Bird’s win means he moves up to second place in the championship standings just three points behind Beijing race-winner di Grassi.

Nicolas Prost continued the strong form he showed in qualifying to finish fourth. The Frenchman started from 11th position after carrying over a 10-place grid penalty for causing an avoidable collision in Beijing.

The Qualcomm Safety Car was deployed on the opening lap to clean the debris from the track as Amlin Aguri’s Katherine Legge and Michela Cerruti (Trulli) collided. Legge looked to make a pass on the inside but lost the back end and caused Cerruti to spin.

Mahindra’s Bruno Senna crashed heavily on the final lap in pursuit of Sebastien Buemi for the final podium spot. Senna said: “I saw Buemi and had an opportunity to get a podium but I made a mistake. I just went for it and got out on the marbles when I lost the car.”

Read more at FIA Formula E

Formula E: Nicolas Prost clinches pole position for the Putrajaya ePrix

Nicolas Prost claimed his second consecutive pole position in Putrajaya but will start from 11th on the grid following a 10-place grid penalty.

The e.dams-Renault driver clocked a 1:21.779s ahead of Dragon Racing’s Oriol Servia but the Frenchman will move back on the grid after picking up a grid penalty for the last-lap crash with Nick Heidfeld in Beijing.

Prost said: “My goal was just to stick it on pole so I could start 11th and that’s what we did. The Beijing pole was a bit of a surprise but here felt really good. We’ll have to see how the race goes, fastest lap would be great too but overall I’m really happy with the result and my performance.”

Both Dragon Racing drivers put in a strong performance to lockout the front row of the grid but following a post-qualifying investigation Jerome d’Ambrosio was sent to the back of the grid for exceeding the maximum power usage.

Speaking straight after qualfying the Belgian said: “This is a great result on a difficult track which is very bumpy. I thought I only had an ok lap and clipped the wall slightly which damaged my suspension – almost finished on three wheels. It’s a great result for the team, especially with Oriol on pole.”

Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird will line-up second with Daniel Abt in third. The Audi Sport ABT driver set the initial pace in the opening qualifying group with a 1:22.342s and remained fastest for a long period until Prost and Servia lowered the benchmark.

Read more at FIA Formula E

Formula E: Matthew Brabham to race for Andretti in Putrajaya

Matthew Brabham, grandson of three-time Formula 1 world champion Sir Jack Brabham, has been confirmed to replace Charles Pic for the Putrajaya ePrix.

The American-born driver will race alongside Franck Montagny for Andretti in the second race of the 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship.

At 1.59miles (2.56km) and featuring 12 turns, the Putrajaya street circuit is located near the Perdana Putra housing the Prime Minister’s Office, using much of the main high street and passing several of the city’s most recognisable buildings such as the Ministry of Finance. It also encompasses the beautiful Seri Wawasan Bridge and Putra Mosque and will see drivers tackle a mixture of straights, slow to medium speed corners, a hairpin plus a tight first-corner chicane.

Read more at FIA Formula E

Formula E: Di Grassi wins opener in dramatic fashion

Audi Sport ABT’s Lucas di Grassi stole victory in the inaugural Formula E Evergrande Spring Beijing ePrix after Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld crashed in a last corner battle for the lead.

Heidfeld walked away unscathed from a nasty looking incident after contact with Prost left him unable to control the car and flipped into the tyre barrier.

As the pair approached the final corner the Venturi driver dived up the inside in an attempt to the take the lead. The Frenchman moved left to defend and inevitably lead to their wheels colliding.

Heidfeld said: “I thought it was going to be a very big crash as well. Once I hit the kerb it felt like I was in the air forever. I closed my eyes and waited for the impact and then I thought ‘Oh that was lucky!’ I have a small pain in my calf but apart from that I’m perfectly fine.”

After clambering out from underneath the car Heidfeld, clearly aggravated, confronted Prost. However, Di Grassi won’t complain as he picks up the full 25 points and with it takes the lead of the championship.

He said: “Firstly, I’m happy Nick [Heidfeld] is ok and it shows how safe these cars are. To win the race is like a dream come true. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. The team did a great job all through practice and qualifying, yes we made a few mistakes but overall I’m extremely happy to be the first ever winner of a Formula E race.”

Andretti driver Franck Montagny finished runner-up nearly three seconds adrift of Di Grassi as the Brazilian’s team-mate Daniel Abt crossed the line in third place. On return to the pitlane Abt was handed a time penalty for exceeding the battery consumption. The German driver used 28.2kW of the allocated 28kW available.

Katherine Legge and Jaime Alguersuari were also penalised for being over the limit.
Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird was eventually promoted to claim the final place on the podium. Andretti’s new signing Charles Pic put on a strong display to finish fourth ahead of Karun Chandhok.

Mahindra team-mate Bruno Senna retired on the opening lap after being squeezed between the two Amlin Aguri cars. The Brazilian broke his left-front suspension and consequently brought out the Qualcomm Safety Car.

Despite topping four of the five pre-season tests, e.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi failed to finished after retiring on lap 19.

Takuma Sato picked up two points for Amlin Aguri posting the fastest lap of a 1.45.101 in the final moments of the race.

After a dream start in the first ever Formula E race in Beijing, Lucas di Grassi begins his title assault on the Barcelona World Cup.

Read more on ITV Sport


Motorsport: FIA Formula E Championship in China

The world’s first full-electric motor racing series kicks off on a street circuit in Beijing, China, with the track set in the grounds of the iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic stadium.

Among the ten cities featured in the new single-seater championship are London, Los Angeles and Monaco. After the season starts in China, the season runs into the New Year with the final Formula E race scheduled to take part in Battersea Park in London on June 27, 2015.

Team backers include Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio and Virgin entrepreneur Richard Branson, and among the drivers are experienced Formula 1 campaigners Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Bruno Senna and Nelson Piquet Jr.

Read More on ITV Sport