Tag Archives: ePrix

A summary of the big talking points in Formula E

Every season has featured at least 5 different winners.
The racing in Formula E is consistently close and exciting. 20 different drivers have made it onto the podium which is a pretty good mix from just 33 races.

The biggest rivalry is between Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi.
Incredibly, the first 3 Formula E championships went down to the very last race and all three finales featured Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi in title contention. They have consistently been the two stand-out drivers in the series and their rivalry became particularly heated when the two crashed in the second of those championship deciders.

Sebastien Buemi is the most successful Formula E driver but keeps making lots of mistakes.
Although it isn’t fair to play hypotheticals, Sebastien Buemi could be a triple Formula E champion if he made fewer mistakes. In 31 races he made 20 notable errors which is an awful lot for the series’ most successful driver. His main rival, Lucas di Grassi, called him out on it earlier this year saying Buemi “has pressure big time …. this is because everyone will be waiting to see if those mistakes come again”.

Renault are the team to beat but could be challenged by Mahindra.
Renault have taken almost three times as many victories as the next most successful Formula E team and they have built the fastest car for the last two seasons (which is impressive when the regulations are so tight). However, Mahindra took more podiums than any other team last season and Felix Rosenqvist was the strongest driver in the second half of the championship. If that momentum carries over into Season 4, Rosenqvist and Mahindra will be serious title contenders.

Manufacturers are rushing into the series.
Formula E is starting to go through a boom in manufacturer interest which is helping to grow the championship. Audi joins this season with a full factory team, whilst BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, and Nissan on the way. Not only that but the Fiat/Chrysler Group have expressed an interest and McLaren is supplying equipment so there are lots of industry connections starting to develop.

Season 4 kicks off in Hong Kong this coming weekend.

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Three interesting stories from the Mexico City ePrix

Lucas Di Grassi went from last to first
Lucas di Grassi took an amazing victory in Mexico thanks to an unusual strategy and some brilliant tactical driving. Di Grassi dropped to last place after sustaining damage on lap 1 so his team took a risk that required Lucas to use roughly 20% less electrical energy than his rivals. They took a ‘free’ pitstop when the safety car bunched the field before half distance, and although this gifted Di Grassi the lead when everyone else stopped later in the race, it meant he had to make his battery last 28 laps (when it was only expected to last 23-24 laps). It was a seemingly impossible task, but he saved plenty under yellow flags, changed his racing lines and coasted off the throttle wherever possible. It was a masterful performance of economical driving whilst the field nipped at his heels.

Di Grassi was lucky that Jerome d’Ambrosio was acting as a buffer in 2nd place holding up cars behind him. That was a huge assistance but it also helped illustrate how brilliant Di Grassi’s drive was. D’Ambrosio was on the same strategy and was lapping around the same pace, but started falling down the order with three laps to go and ran out of juice completely on the last lap. Lucas di Grassi had enough battery life remaining for burnouts on his way to the podium.

Abt Audi Sport failed scrutineering yet again
Daniel Abt had pole position stripped from him in Mexico after his car was found with tyre pressures too low for the regulations. It was likely an innocent mistake, but it is the third time the Abt Audi Sport team has been penalised for failing scrutineering. Lucas di Grassi lost a win in season 1 when his team illegally modified the front wing and he lost another win in Season 2 when the car was underweight. Those disqualifications cost the team two championships so you would expect they’d now be extra vigilant about complying with the regulations, but surprisingly that wasn’t the case.

Sebastien Buemi made another costly mistake.
Sebastien Buemi has dominated the current Formula E season but had a difficult weekend in Mexico with a scrappy qualifying session and a costly spin during the race. It threw some light on the suggestion that, whilst Buemi is very quick, he makes a lot of mistakes. Depending how you count them (and how harsh you want to be in judgement) Sebastien Buemi has made 15 mistakes in 25 races which is a very high number for the category’s most successful driver. Some of those errors have had no consequence – he ran off the road twice during the first Punta del Este ePrix which he still won – whilst some of those arguably cost him the first championship.

Buemi’s Formula E stats are way ahead of any other driver, but the number of mistakes against his name remains an ongoing weakness.

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