A summary of 2014

We are now 3 races into the inaugural season of the FIA Formula E championship and all of the 2014 races have been run. We are one third of the way through the 9 races currently scheduled. This seems like a good time to have a summary of the Formula E races so far.

ROUND 1 – Beijing, China, 13th September 2014

Qualifying

After qualifying the grid line up had Nicolas Prost on pole, sharing the front row with Lucas di Grassi. Despite this being the first qualifying and drivers were still settling into their cars less than 6 tens of a second separated the first 10 grid places. The full grid looked like this:

1) Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault. 2) Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT. 3) Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT. 4) Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing. 5) Franck Montagny, Andretti. 6) Nick Heidfeld, Venturi. 7) Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing. 8) Charles Pic, Andretti. 9) Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault. 10) Nelson Piquet Jr, China Racing. 11) Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing. 12) Sam Bird, Virgin Racing. 13) Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing. 14) Takuma Sato, Amlin Aguri. 15) Ho-Pin Tung, China Racing. 16) Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri. 17) Michela Cerruti, Trulli. 18) Jarno Trulli, Trulli. 19) Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing. 20) Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi

Fan Boost

The three drivers that received the advantage of fan boost were: Bruno Senna, Katherine Legge, Lucas di Grassi

Race

Nicolas Prost (son of three times F1 champion Alain Prost) started from pole position and led throughout the first phase where there was some close racing. Virgin’s Sam Bird briefly took the lead during the pit stops but Prost then reassumed his lead. Nick Heidfeld (previously F1 driver for Williams and Sauber) climbed up three places from fifth to second during the race and had sufficient energy for a final assault on Prost. Heidfeld lined up Prost on the straight before the last corner. While Prost appeared to be looking for Heidfeld on the right he pulled alongside to his left. Prost reacted too late to block his pass which resulted in a desperate and aggressive looking side swipe that launched Heidfeld out of control at speed into the barrier at the end of the straight and into what became a spectacular accident.

Heidfeld flipped and had a high impact with a concrete barrier. Fortunately he was able to climb out of his inverted car quickly and was then able to confront Prost whose car was also seriously damaged as a result of their initial contact.

nick-heidfeld

Consequently, Lucas di Grassi came through from third position for a slightly unexpected win. Second place was taken by Frank Montagny followed by Daniel Abt in third. However, Sam Bird subsequently got third place after Abt was given a time penalty for exceeding power restrictions.

Final results

1) Lucas di Grassi [25 points].
2) Franck Montagny [18].
3) Sam Bird [15].
4) Charles Pic [12].
5) Karun Chandhok [10].
6) Jerome d’Ambrosio [8].
7) Oriol Servià [6].
8) Nelson Piquet Jnr [4].
9) Stéphane Sarrazin [2].
10) Daniel Abt [1].
11) Jaime Alguersuari.
12) Nicolas Prost.
13) Nick Heidfeld.
14) Michela Cerruti.
15) Katherine Legge.
16) Ho-Pin Tung.

Fastest lap: Takuma Sato

ROUND 2 – Putrajaya, Malaysia, 22nd November 2014

Qualifying

Again Nicolas Prost recorded the fastest qualifying time but was pushed back 10 places on the grid as a penalty for causing the crash with Heidfeld in Beijing. The full grid looked like this:

1) Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing. 2) Sam Bird, Virgin Racing. 3) Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT. 4) Jarno Trulli, Trulli. 5) Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing. 6) Nelson Piquet Jr, China Racing. 7) Nick Heidfeld, Venturi. 8) Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing. 9) Matthew Brabham, Andretti. 10) Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri. 11) Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault. 12) Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi. 13) Franck Montagny, Andretti. 14) Michela Cerruti, Trulli. 15) Ho-Pin Tung, China Racing. 16) Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri. 17) Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing. 18) Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT. 19) Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault. 20) Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing.

Fan Boost

Bruno Senna, Katherine Legge and Nick Heidfeld were awarded Fan Boost for this round.

Race

Sam_Bird-300x271Katherine Legge collided with Michela Cerruti on lap one and caused the safety car to be deployed. Once restart the British driver Sam Bird overtook Oriol Servia on lap four to take the lead and pull out a gap. After the pit stops Bird found himself in second place behind Daniel Abt but his car had better energy reserves and so he reeled him in and eventually overtook him on lap 25. Bird held onto the lead to the end to secure his victory.

Lucas di Grassi started from 18th on the grid and worked his way towards the front in an amazing show of skill. There were a good number of incidents throughout the race and much overtaking. Jarno Trulli and Nelson Piquet Jnr collided on lap 23 while running third and fourth thereby gifting di Grassi a further two places. Sebastian Buemi also climbed from the back of the grid towards the podium, making it to 3rd after Abt who had been 2nd started running low on power and slipped back a number of places. Senna made a successful Fan Boost pass on Prost and then on the last lap and in pursuit of Buemi he made a mistake on a corner and crashed out.

Final results

1) Sam Bird, Virgin Racing [25 points].
2) Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT [18].
3) Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault [15].
4) Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault [12].
5) Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing [10].
6) Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing [8].
7) Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing [6].
8) Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri [4].
9) Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing [2].
10) Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT [1].
11) Ho-Pin Tung, China Racing.
12) Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi.
13) Matthew Brabham, Andretti.
14) Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing.
15) Franck Montagny, Andretti.
16) Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri.
17) Jarno Trulli, Trulli.

Fastest lap: Jaime Alguersuari

ROUND 3 – Punta del Este, Uruguay, 13th December 2014

Qualifying

The big story in qualifying was the pole position gained by Jean-Éric Vergne. Vergne had just retired from the Toro Rosso F1 team and signed as a Ferrari F1 test driver for 2015. Vergne had not driven an FE car until literally days before the race when he agreed to drive for Andretti, and yet he managed to put his car P1 on the grid.

The starting grid looked as follows:

1) Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti. 2) Nelson Piquet Jr, China Racing. 3) Nicolas Prost e.dams-Renault. 4) Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault. 5) Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing. 6) Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT. 7) Jarno Trulli, Trulli. 8) Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing. 9) Nick Heidfeld, Venturi. 10) Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT. 11) Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing. 12) Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing. 13) Antonio da Costa, Amlin Aguri. 14) Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi. 15) Antonio Garcia, China Racing. 16) Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri. 17) Michela Cerruti, Trulli. 18) Sam Bird, Virgin Racing. 19) Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing. 20) Matthew Brabham, Andretti.

Fan Boost

With Legge not competing in Uruguay the two new last minute entrants Jean-Eric Vergne, and Salvador Duran both got a fan boost and were joined by Nick Heidfeld who may still be getting the sympathy vote after events in Beijing

Race

Nelson Piquet Jr. appeared to have the better side of the grid front row and took the lead into the first corner but Vergne kept well in touch in second position. Winner of the previous race Sam Bird crashed causing the Safety Car to be deployed for the first time. It was deployed again after António Félix da Costa came to a halt in a dangerous position.

Vergne finally made the move on Piquet Jr to lead the race. Being low on energy Vergne made his car change relatively early. This was unfortunate timing since Stéphane Sarrazin managed to lose control and crashed his Venturi machine causing the Safety Car to be deployed once more. Under the Safety Car most of the other drivers pitted for their car change and therefore gained an advantage over Vergne. It was Nick Heidfeld that emerged as the new leader but was given a penalty for a car change timing infringement. This handed the lead to Sebastian Buemi who had also come out of the pits ahead of Vergne.

p1

A fourth Safety Car was deployed after Matthew Brabham slid off and hit a wall. The race resumed with only two laps to go with Vergne looking to make a charge on Buemi for the lead and having Fan Boost available for the move. However, Vergne’s car slowed with a mechanical failure on the penultimate lap giving Buemi a clear run to the finish for the win. Piquet Jr. took second place with Lucas di Grassi completed the podium.

Final results

1) Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault [25 points].
2) Nelson Piquet Jr., China Racing [18].
3) Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT [15].
4) Jarno Trulli, Trulli [12].
5) Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing [10].
6) Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing [8].
7) Nicholas Prost, e.dams-Renault [6].
8) Jerome d’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing [4].
9) Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing [2].
10) Nick Heidfeld, Venturi [1].
11) Antonio Garcia, China Racing.
12) Michela Cerruti, Trulli.
13) Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing.
14) Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti.
15) Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT.

Fastest Lap: Daniel Abt