|2014 Punta del Este ePrix|
The Punta del Este circuit layout
|Date||13th December 2014|
|Official Name||2014 FIA Formula E Julius Baer Punta del Este ePrix|
|Location||Playa Brava Beach, Punta del Este|
|Lap length||2.80km (1.74mi)|
|Distance||31 laps / 86.80 km (52.7 mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Jean-Eric Vergne|
|Fastest Lap||1:18.451 on lap 18|
|Sebastien Buemi||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Lucas di Grassi|
|Winner Team||e. dams Renault|
Sebastien Buemi rediscovered his pace from the Donington Tests to take victory in the Uruguayan capital, the first for himself and his team e. dams Renault. Nelson Piquet Jr. took his first podium of the year by finishing second for China Racing, while Lucas di Grassi secured his third podium finish in a row to take a commanding lead in the championship.
After the turmoil surrounding his Formula One future, Jean-Eric Vergne announced that he was joining the Formula E Championship with Andretti Autosport, driving alongside Matthew Brabham in the team. Amlin Aguri also announced a driver change for the first South American ePrix, with Mexican Salvador Duran replacing Katherine Legge in two of their Spark-Renault SRT_01Es for the weekend.
The only change expected before the weekend was that of Antonio Garcia, whom replaced Ho-Pin Tung at China Racing, with the Chinaman away at the Dubai 12 Hours. No further changes were made to the entry list after Vergne and Duran's respective announcements.
Championship wise, the lead of Lucas di Grassi had been cut to three points after Sam Bird's victory in Putrajaya, with their respective teams separated by four points in the team's championship. Franck Montagny, Nicolas Prost and Jerome d'Ambrosio, meanwhile, were tied on eighteen points coming into the weekend. Sebastien Buemi and Nelson Piquet, Jr. also threatened to break into the top five, as did Jaime Alguersuari, although all three needed a podium to confirm their ambitions.
With Audi Sport ABT and Virgin Racing seemingly favourites for the championship at an early stage, e. dams Renault would have to have a clean weekend, leading the counter charge on 33 points. Andretti Autosport and Dragon Racing seemed to be locked in a duel to become the best American based team even in the season's early stages, with Andretti hampered by frequent driver changes, and Dragon suffering from a fairly siginficant luck deficit.
The full entry list for the 2014 Punta del Este ePrix is displayed below:
As usual, the members of the four qualifying groups were drawn inbetween the practice sessions, and announced shortly after. Qualifying would also proceed as normal from 12:00 local time, with each group having ten minutes on track to set their fastest time.
Karun Chandhok would be joined on track by Jarno Trulli, Nick Heidfeld, Daniel Abt and Formula E newbie Jean-Eric Vergne in the first group's battle around the Uruguayan coastal city. Amazingly, despite only having driven the car in the practice sessions earlier in the day, Vergne set the fastest time, not only in the group, but of the session, his time of 1:15.408 remaining unbeaten.
Abt looked on course for pole position in the group initially, although his time was soon beaten by his rivals as he dropped to tenth on the grid. Heidfeld would take ninth overall to beat his compatriot, while pushed harder still to take seventh overall and second in the group. Chandhok, meanwhile, finished last in the group, although his time was less than four hundreths behind Abt, meaning he finished eleventh overall.
Group 2 featured the remaining debutants as Salvador Duran and Antonio Garcia joined Nicolas Prost, Sebastien Buemi and Matthew Brabham on the circuit. It would be a quick session for Brabham, whom slapped the wall hard enough on his opening lap to damage his steering, meaning he failed to set a time. Prost, meanwhile, was favourite to take pole, as he had done at Beijing and (although it was taken away from him by a penalty) Putrajaya.
Yet, Prost could not best his compatriot's qualifying time, and despite topping his group would only claim third overall. Buemi was the closest man to his team mate in the group, and duly took fourth behind him, while Garcia and Duran were almost two seconds down on them, setting times good enough for fifteenth and sixteenth respectively.
Sam Bird, Jerome d'Ambrosio, Antonio Felix da Costa, Nelson Piquet Jr. and Bruno Senna were the next group to be unleashed on the circuit, with early dramas for the former and the latter. Bird hit the wall at turn seventeen, ending his qualifying session before he had set a time, while Senna was under investigation after work continued on his car after Parc Ferme rules were enforced five minutes before the session. As a result, the Brazilian was excluded from qualifying, although would be allowed to race.
Piquet proved to be the class of the group, although he could not best Vergne's earlier time, having to settle for second overall. Senna was the next fastest in group with a time good enough for eighth (before his exclusion), while problems for d'Ambrosio prevented him from appearing. Da Costa, meanwhile, had a quiet and problem free session, taking thirteenth overall.
The final group allowed Jaime Alguersuari, Oriol Servia, Lucas di Grassi, Michela Cerruti and Stephane Sarrazin to attack the track. Cerruti would have a trouble free session, although shw would also be the slowest driver of the session, and the only driver to fail to set a time under 1:20.000. Sarrazin and Servia also disappointed, taking fourteenth and twelfth respectively, while di Grassi and Alguersuari battled into the top ten, taking fifth and sixth.
Below are the final standings from Qualifying in Punta del Este.
- * Senna was excluded from the result after qualifying after work was carried out on his car after the session.
- † Bird, d'Ambrosio and Brabham were to race at the steward's discretion.
Shortly before the start of the race, the FanBoost vote was closed, with Nick Heidfeld, Jean-Eric Vergne and Salvador Duran the fan favourites for the day. They would be able to use their additional power in one five second burst at their own discretion, a fact which gave Vergne another advantage heading into the race itself.
Vergne's day would not, however, go as planned as pole position was located on the dirty side of the grid. This meant that Nelson Piquet Jr. got the jump on him at the start, and was on the inside for turn two. Further down the grid was generally well behave heading into the tight first chicane, with Daniel Abt and Karun Chandhok the only two to make even the slightest contact with one another. Piquet's clean run would not last, however, as a brush against the wall into turn eight let Vergne back through, and damaged the Brazilian's steering meaning he would have to defend from the e.dams-Renault duo of Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost.
As this was going on, Sam Bird's poor day continued, as the Brit hit the inside curb of the first chicane and launched his car into the air. Unable to steer, Bird hit the wall and broke his suspension, putting him out of the race. This accident brought out the first safety car period of the day, with Antonio Felix da Costa the next to fall, this time with an unspecified problem.
The field was released after the safety car, with the order remaining stable, despite the best efforts of Buemi to pass Piquet into the tight chicane. As the pitstop window opened the second safety car of the day emerged, after Stephane Sarrazin hit the curb hard enough to break his suspension and put himself into a spin. Bruno Senna took avoiding action to miss the rotating Venturi and hit the wall, but was able to get back to the pits and change cars.
Sarrazin's crash was also well timed for team mate Nick Heidfeld, whom emerged from the pits in the lead. However, in the German's haste to get round, he exceeded the maximum power usage and was penalised. Heidfeld was also punished for exceeding the minimum pitstop time (ie changing cars under the minimum safety time deemed by the FIA), meaning he would drop down the order after a drive-through penalty.
Vergne had stopped shortly before the safety car, but missed out as Buemi beat Piquet in the pits to take the lead after Heidfeld peeled off. Vergne remained in his shadow, although was not close enough to challenge. But, with four laps to go, Matthew Brabham spun in the same place that Sarrazin had done, hitting the wall after bouncing sideways over the inside curb. A third safety car, and Vergne was now right behind Buemi at the restart.
Yet, try as he might, and equipped with Fan Boost, Vergne could not force his way past the Swiss driver. Although Buemi was making ever more frequent mistakes, the pressure took its toll on the Andretti machine, with a suspension failure on the final lap ending Vergne's hopes of victory. Buemi was left with a big lead over Piquet and consequently cruised over the line to take his first win of the season, with Piquet defending from Lucas di Grassi for second and third.
Further down, Heidfeld was able to take his first point of the season after taking debutant Antonio Garcia on the final lap for tenth. Daniel Abt, meanwhile, had to battle with a car that refused to remain turned on, although this did not prevent him from taking the fastest lap of the race. Prost was penalised for using too much power meaning he dropped to seventh, while Jarno Trulli claimed his first points after being promoted to fourth.
The final classification of the 2014 Punta del Este ePrix is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2014 Punta del Este ePrix Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Nat.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|2||99||Nelson Piquet, Jr.||China Racing||31||+0.732s||1:18.958||18|
|3||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT||31||+2.635s||1:18.881||15|
|5||3||Jaime Alguersuari||Virgin Racing||31||+4.698s||1:20.072||10|
|6||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||31||+5.197s||1:19.365||8|
|8||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||31||+7.567s||1:20.094||4|
|9||6||Oriol Servià||Dragon Racing||31||+8.646s||1:20.509||2|
|11||88||Antonio Garcia||China Racing||31||+10.594s||1:21.364|
|13||5||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing||31||+54.175s||1:18.847|
|14||27||Jean-Eric Vergne||Andretti Autosport||29||+2 laps||1:19.077||3|
|15||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT||28||+3 laps||1:18.451||2|
|16||77||Salvador Duran||Amlin Aguri||27||+4 laps||1:21.003|
|Ret||28||Matthew Brabham||Andretti Autosport||26||Accident||1:19.791|
|Ret||55||António Félix da Costa||Amlin Aguri||6||Retired||1:21.505|
|Ret||2||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||3||Accident||1:21.493|
- Punta del Este became the first South American city to host an ePrix.
- Debut for Jean-Eric Vergne, Salvador Duran and Antonio Garcia.
- First win for Sébastien Buemi.
- First podium for Nelson Piquet, Jr.
Victory for Sébastien Buemi saw him gain five places in the championship to sit level with Sam Bird in second, although both would have to overhaul an 18 point gap to Lucas di Grassi. Nicolas Prost dropped to fourth, with Jérôme d'Ambrosio and Nelson Piquet, Jr. tied for fifth. Nick Heidfeld was last of the point scoring drivers, although his season was hampered already by collisions that arguably were not his fault.
e.dams-Renault now led the Teams' Championship by virtue of Buemi's victory, leaping ahead of Audi Sport ABT and Virgin Racing. Dragon Racing took a three point advantage over Andretti Autosport, with Mahindra Racing now an isolated sixth. The big news, however, was that Trulli were off the mark, and now sat in eighth, entirely due to Jarno Trulli's strong fourth place in Uruguay.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
- ↑ 'Punta del Este Circuit', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/calendar/2014-punta-del-este/punta-del-este-circuit.aspx, (Accessed 26/04/2015)
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 'Brilliant Buemi wins in Punta del Este', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 13/12/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/december/brilliant-buemi-wins-in-punta-del-este.aspx, (Accessed 26/04/2015)
- ↑ 'Matthew Brabham to race for Andretti in Uruguay', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 12/12/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/december/matthew-brabham-to-race-for-andretti-in-uruguay.aspx, (Accessed 26/04/2015)
- ↑ 'Salvador Duran to drive for Amlin Aguri in Punta del Este', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 09/12/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/december/salvador-duran-to-drive-for-amlin-aguri-in-punta-del-este.aspx, (Accessed 26/04/2015)
- ↑ 'Garcia joins China Racing in Uruguay', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 01/12/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/december/garcia-joins-china-racing-in-uruguay.aspx, (Accessed 26/04/2015)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 'Punta del Este ePrix: Qualifying groups', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 13/12/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/december/punta-del-este-eprix-qualifying-groups.aspx, (Accessed 26/04/2015)
- ↑ 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 'Jean-Eric Vergne to start on pole position in Punta del Este', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 13/12/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/december/jean-eric-vergne-to-start-on-pole-position-in-punta-del-este.aspx (Accessed 26/04/2015)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 'Vergne, Heidfeld and Duran win FanBoost vote', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 13/12/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/december/vergne-heidfeld-and-duran-win-fanboost-vote.aspx, (Accessed 26/04/2015)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 'Julius Baer Punta del Este ePrix extended highlights', youtube.com, (FIA Formula E: YouTube, 19/12/2014), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2k7vnQRQA4, (Accessed 26/04/2015)