|2015 Beijing ePrix|
The Bejing ePrix layout for 2015.
|Date||24th October 2015|
|Official Name||2015 FIA Formula E SWUSP Beijing ePrix|
|Lap length||3.44km (2.14mi)|
|Distance||26 laps / 89.44 km (55.58mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Sébastien Buemi|
|Fastest Lap||1:39.993 on lap 24|
|Sébastien Buemi||Lucas di Grassi||Nick Heidfeld|
|Winner Team||Renault e.Dams|
The race was won from pole by Sébastien Buemi for Renault e.Dams. The Swiss driver also set fastest lap, allowing him to become the first driver to score a perfect 30 points at an ePrix. Lucas di Grassi finished second, with Nick Heidfeld completing the podium. Nicolas Prost was called in to retire by the stewards four laps from the end due to a broken rear wing. The Frenchman had been running third, but was shown the black flag with orange disc as his car was deemed to be in a dangerous condition after suffering damage to the rear wing's right support structure.
The 2015 Donington Test revealed several things about the latest technology that was to enter Formula E for the new season. Renault e.dams were arguably in the best position, having completed 353 laps between Sébastien Buemi and Nicolas Prost throughout the public test. Lucas di Grassi and ABT Schaeffler were also looking promising, with the Brazilian, winner of the 2014 Beijing ePrix, also smashing the lap record at Donington Park.
But, there also seemed to be two struggling teams too, as Trulli and Andretti failed to get any significant mileage on their new creations. Andretti also suffered harshly in late August, as their one time Formula E driver Justin Wilson died in an IndyCar race in America. There was some hope for them however, as Simona de Silvestro completed a day of running on the final day of the test, albeit after switching to the 2014 car, while also trying out Robin Frijns for their second car. At Trulli, however, there was a sense of disquiet ahead of Beijing, as their car only managed seven laps at Donington through the entire test.
Many drivers stayed with their 2014/15 employers for the season opener, but there were moves nonetheless. The most high profile saw Jean-Eric Vergne switch to DS Virgin Racing, after Jaime Alguersuari was set to miss the season on medical grounds. Elsewhere, Salvador Duran made a late switch to Trulli from Team Aguri, the only team using the Spark-Renault SRT_01E, while Nick Heidfeld made a move to Mahindra Racing from Venturi.
There were also to be new faces in 2015/16, as Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve joined up with Venturi, and would make his debut in China. Also joining the fray was Robin Frijns, a young Dutchman who had carved a name for himself in the lower levels of motorsport, and, like Villeneuve, got his first taste of Formula E during the Donington Test with Andretti. Shortly before the ePrix, Team Aguri announced that Nathanaël Berthon would be driving their second pair of cars, having had the Frenchman test for them at Donington.
FanBoost for the first ePrix of season two opened on the 12th of October 2015, and would stay open until the first six minutes of the race in Beijing. In the build up to the ePrix, the Trulli team did not meet scrutineering requirements due to several components being held up in customs. As a result, the team's Motomatica JT-01 car will not be accepted for entry in Beijing and the team will miss the race.
Two minor changes were also made to the circuit layout before the start of the new season. The major chance concerned the first chicane, which was removed entirely to allow a longer back straight. In response, the second chicane was also modified, although the changes would make it tighter, effectively cancelling out part of the changes earlier in the lap.
The full entry list for the 2015 Beijing ePrix is displayed below:
The dry but Autumnal conditions around Beijing meant that track was at a relatively cool temperature for the first quali session of the new season. With Trulli absent, the group sizes were modified, meaning that Groups One and Three only had four cars in. It was also the début for the new "Super Pole" system, which would see the five fastest cars from the Group Stage compete for pole one by one.
The first qualifying lap of the season would be set by one of four drivers in Group One, with Simona de Silvestro, Nelson Piquet Jr., Daniel Abt and António Félix da Costa. Represented in the group were two of the old Spark-Renault SRT_01Es and two new creations, allowing an interesting comparison between old and new. With Piquet wielding #1 on his car, the Brazilian would be hoping that his pre-season form would be reversed.
Unfortunately for the Brazilian, he failed to get into a good rhythm in his NEXTEV creation, meaning a wild ride to a time which would ultimately put him last. Of the rest, Abt's new car defeated de Silvestro and da Costa by almost a second, with de Silvestro coming out ahead of the Portuguese racer.
Group Two would be running at full capacity, with the two Mahindras of Bruno Senna and Nick Heidfeld set to do battle. Joining them were two title favouries, and the first competitive comparison between Nicolas Prost in his Renault and Lucas di Grassi in the ABT, with Stéphane Sarrazin in the first of the four Venturi cars.
Given their pace at the Donington Test, none were surprised that di Grassi and Prost were at the top of the group by the end. It was not all their own way, however, with Heidfeld putting together an impressive lap to split the two of them. Also looking quick was Sarrazin, who ultimately just missed out to di Grassi in the "Super Pole" stakes, with Senna unable to match his team mates' stunning lap.
Like Group One, Group Three was to be a four car affair, although the attention would be focused on Sébastien Buemi, favourite for the Championship after Testing. He was to be joined on circuit by Jean-Eric Vergne and two rookies in Jacques Villeneuve and Nathanaël Berthon. Based on practice times, Buemi looked set to snatch pole, or at the very least a Super Pole slot, although with the one lap format for the new season he could afford no mistakes.
Despite the potential for mistakes, however, there was no denying Buemi as he went fastest overall with a great lap. Prost was expected to retain second, although a stunning lap from Vergne managed to split the two e.Dams, with those two well ahead of their less experienced rivals. Berthon just missed out on beating da Costa in the Team Aguri battle, while Villeneuve went a second slower than team mate Sarrazin.
The final Group of the session contained the final five drivers, featuring the two Dragons, a débutante and the two Brits. Sam Bird was one of the favourites in the group, and based on team mate Vergne's pace had a chance of breaking into the "Super Pole" shootout. Elsewhere, Loïc Duval and Jérôme d'Ambrosio were to try to beat Sarrazin's time in their mini-Venturi battle, while Oliver Turvey and Robin Frijns seemed to be resigned in battle at the back of the order.
The pace between Bird and the two Dragons was incredibly tight, with the Brit only able to split the pair of them, after a good lap by Duval. Unfortunately, they all fell short of di Grassi's time, while Frijns impressed by going top of the generation one field, ahead of his more experienced rivals. Turvey, meanwhile, managed to find a second on team mate Piquet's time to get ahead of the Andretti machines.
The new "Super Pole" Shootout began with di Grassi, although the Brazilian was not able to beat his group time, before being beaten by Heidfeld who improved. Next out was Vergne, who ruined his lap and had to abandon it resigning him to fifth, having just seen Prost smash Heidfeld's time to go top. But, Buemi was in devastating form, finding another two tenths of a second to take the first pole of the season.
The final qualifying result for the 2015 Beijing ePrix are outlined below:
|2015 Beijing ePrix Qualifying Result|
|1||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||1:37.297||—||1|
|2||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||1:37.581||+0.284s||2|
|3||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||1:38.339||+1.042s||3|
|4||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:39.539||+2.242s||4|
|5||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing||2:21.284||+43.987s||5|
|7||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||1:38.761||+1.273s||7|
|8||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:38.859||+1.371s||8|
|9||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||1:38.884||+1.396s||9|
|10||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:39.058||+1.570s||10|
|11||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:39.220||+1.732s||11|
|14||28||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti||1:39.681||+2.193s||14|
|15||88||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR||1:39.734||+2.246s||15|
|16||55||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||1:40.295||+2.807s||16|
|17||77||Nathanaël Berthon||Team Aguri||1:40.386||+2.898s||17|
|18||1||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||1:40.638||+3.150s||18|
A dry Saturday afternoon followed qualifying, with the first ePrix of the new season set to start at 16:00 local time. A one-two for Renault e.Dams seemed inevitable based on quali and practice pace, although with Lucas di Grassi and Nick Heidfeld in close attendance, the result was far from guaranteed. Attention also focused on Nelson Piquet Jr. at the back of the field, and whether the defending Champion could fight his way from the back of the field.
A good start from Sébastien Buemi launched the pole sitter straight into the lead of the race, while Nicolas Prost went backwards. The Frenchman lit up his rear wheels from second, allowing Heidfeld to slip by, before a lock-up into turn one put Prost in serious danger of falling behind di Grassi. Further back, the action was to be had for Stéphane Sarrazin, whose poor start also put him on the back foot, leaving him to fight the two Dragon cars.
Buemi was beginning to stretch his legs at the front of the field after fending off Heidfeld's series of moves on the opening lap. But, his building was halted, albeit temporarily, by the first ever "Full Course Yellow" in Formula E, caused by Formula E's first lady. A lock up at the end of the back straight threw Simona de Silvestro down an escape road and out of the race, although the hiatus was brief, lasting from lap three to lap five.
Sam Bird, meanwhile, was battling on the fringes of the top five, having been poacher like in the opening stages to climb to sixth. However, under pressure from Duval, the Brit locked up, having just been handed FanBoost alongside Oliver Turvey and Nelson Piquet Jr.. The Brit was able to continue after a brief trip down the escape road, although he had slipped out of the top ten, as Buemi moved five seconds clear at the front of the field.
Bruno Senna became the centre of attention over the next few laps, unable to match team mate Heidfeld's pace ahead, and began to hold up everyone from Jean-Eric Vergne in sixth, to Jacques Villeneuve in fifteenth. Vergne, as it happened, was the least hampered by the Brazilian, having forced his way by Senna before the old second chicane, opening the door for Duval, who forced his way by into the final corner. Jérôme d'Ambrosio was the next man in the chase to push his way past, as Vergne failed to pull clear of the group.
The lack of pace from Vergne was made clear as he suffered an attack by Duval into the chicane as the stops approached. Duval ran around the outside of the Virgin into the run up to the chicane, before attempting to force Vergne onto the inside kerb, only for the two to connect. Duval ran across the inside of the second part of the chicane and held the position, with d'Ambrosio using the delay for Senna to get by the Mahindra.
With Duval escaping punishment for the incident or the chicane cutting (having already been judged ahead of his compatriot before the chicane), Bird made a move on Vergne during his recovery drive. A slight graze into the braking zone for the final corner and the Brit was by, before the pitlane became the centre of action. Duval and d'Ambrosio stayed out the longest proving that the Venturi VM200-FE-01 was the most efficient car in the field, with the majority of the field stopping on lap thirteen.
Two major changes resulted from the stops, with Vergne struggling to keep his first car running out of energy before his stop and so plummeted down the order. Elsewhere, Heidfeld had an issue with his safety belts, meaning a delay in his stop which put di Grassi and Prost ahead of the German, with Buemi continuing on unimpeded. By the time Duval and co. came had completed their stops, an incident had brought out a second Full Course Yellow.
António Félix da Costa was battling with Villeneuve after their stops, with the Portuguese challenging into the second corner. Unfortunately, da Costa was two hot on the brakes and slammed into the Canadian, breaking his front suspension, and delaying Villeneuve. Immediately apologising to Villeneuve as he climbed out of his car, da Costa was out, with the FCY thrown to remove his car.
Just before that incident, Heidfeld had pulled a move on Prost for third place, but timing meant that Prost was running right behind him throughout the FCY When the FCY was rescinded, Prost reacted better, snatching back third into the old second chicane, with Duval and d'Ambrosio also gaining through their later stops. Prost, his car now settled, began to close on the back of di Grassi, as Duval and d'Ambrosio bore down on Heidfeld into the final phase of the race.
Then, more drama, as with just three laps to go, Prost was sent into the pitlane for a technical issue, having lost part of his rear wing structure. Although the failure, caused when part of his rear side pod fell away, did not seem to affect his pace, the stewards deemed the hanging rear wing too potentially dangerous, and so Prost was out of the race. Buemi, by this stage, was over ten seconds ahead, and di Grassi a safe second, leaving the attention on Heidfeld, who was beginning to struggle in his battle against the two Dragons.
Fortunately for the German, the two were exchanging blows amongst themselves, with d'Ambrosio almost taking out his team mate into turn three with two laps to go. The Belgian had to stamp on the brakes and throw his car into a slide to avoid Duval, who was climbing all over the back of Heidfeld and so had no where to go. After that, Duval was left to fight Heidfeld, and was lining up a move into the final corner on the final lap, much like Heidfeld had done to Prost over twelve months before.
As Buemi swept across the line to claim his fourth victory in Formula E, Heidfeld placed his car perfectly to prevent Duval from diving down the inside, at the cost of a hampered exit from the turn. Fortunately for the German, the finish line came up quite early, and so Duval just fell short of the podium, with di Grassi finishing second. But, to the victor came the spoils, and a perfect weekend by Buemi saw him become the first man to claim the full 30 points on offer at an ePrix, having claimed pole, fastest lap and victory.
The final classification of the 2015 Beijing ePrix is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2015 Beijing ePrix Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Nat.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||26||50:08.835||1:39.993||30|
|2||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||26||+11.006s||1:41.721||18|
|3||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||26||+15.681s||1:41.859||15|
|4||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||26||+16.009s||1:40.860||12|
|5||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||26||+16.514s||1:40.860||10|
|6||88||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR||26||+39.466s||1:42.427||8|
|7||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||26||+47.531s||1:41.201||6|
|8||77||Nathanaël Berthon||Team Aguri||26||+58.620s||1:42.327||4|
|11*||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||26||+1:13.351||1:42.539|
|12||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing||26||+1:31.040||1:42.844|
|13||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||26||+1:50.833||1:42.217|
|14||12||Jacques Villeneuve||Venturi||25||+1 lap||1:42.521|
|15||1||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||24||+2 laps||1:41.500|
|Ret||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||22||Damage||1:41.082|
|Ret||55||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||13||Accident||1:42.672|
|Ret||28||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti||2||Retired||1:46.289|
- Indicates a driver who was awarded FanBoost during the race.
- * Abt slapped with a 30 second penalty for an unsafe release in the pits.
- Début for Jacques Villeneuve, Robin Frijns and Nathanaël Berthon.
- First points for Frijns and Berthon.
- 10th start for Jean-Eric Vergne.
- Second ePrix held in Beijing.
- Sébastien Buemi becomes the first driver to take pole, fastest lap and victory in the same race weekend.
- Fourth victory for Buemi.
Leaving Beijing, Sébastien Buemi's little piece of history saw him lead the title fight by twelve points from Lucas di Grassi, with Nick Heidfeld on half the number of points. Loïc Duval and Jérôme d'Ambrosio were left frustrated but relatively happy after their late fight for the podium, leaving in fourth and fifth. Elsewhere, Nathanaël Berthon completed an impressive debut to leave his first ePrix in eighth place in the table.
Nicolas Prost's late demise was not enough for anyone to beat Renault e.Dams' tally, with Buemi's 30 points keeping them ahead. Duval and d'Ambrosio's combined score meant Dragon Racing sat in second, with ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport third, the only other team to break 20 points on the opening day. Andretti left the weekend as the only team (other than the non-starting Trulli) to fail to leave with a point. That later changed after Daniel Abt's penalty was applied, promoting Robin Frijns into the points,
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
- ↑ 'WMSC reveals dates for season two Formula E calendar', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 10/07/2015),http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/july/wmsc-reveals-dates-for-season-two-formula-e-calendar.aspx, (Accessed 10/07/2015)
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
- ↑ 'Jean-Eric Vergne moves to DS Virgin Racing', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 08/08/2015),http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/august/jean-eric-vergne-moves-to-ds-virgin-racing.aspx, (Accessed 08/08/2015)
- ↑ 'Nick Heidfeld joins Senna at Mahindra Racing', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 10/08/2015),http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/august/nick-heidfeld-to-drive-for-mahindra-racing.aspx, (Accessed 10/08/2015)
- ↑ 'Jacques Villeneuve signs for Venturi alongside Sarrazin', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 08/08/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/august/jacques-villeneuve-signs-for-venturi-alongside-sarraz.aspx, (Accessed 08/08/2015)
- ↑ 'Drivers' Club: Robin Frijns', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015),http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/drivers-club/robin-frijns.aspx, (Accessed 17/09/2015)
- ↑ 'Berthon gets Team Aguri drive', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 16/10/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/october/berthon-gets-team-aguri-drive.aspx, (Accessed 16/10/2015)
- ↑ 'FanBoost opens for Beijing ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 12/10/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/october/fanboost-opens-for-beijing-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 12/10/2015)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Trulli to miss Beijing ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/10/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/october/trulli-to-miss-beijing-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 23/10/2015)
- ↑ 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 10.14 'Buemi beats Prost to Super Pole', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/10/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/october/buemi-beats-prost-to-super-pole.aspx, (Accessed 24/10/2015)
- ↑ 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 'SWUSP Beijing ePrix: Qualifying groups', fiaformula.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/10/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/october/swusp-beijing-eprix-qualifying-groups.aspx, (Accessed 24/10/2015)
- ↑ 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 12.17 12.18 12.19 12.20 12.21 12.22 12.23 12.24 12.25 12.26 12.27 12.28 12.29 12.30 12.31 12.32 12.33 12.34 12.35 12.36 12.37 12.38 12.39 'Buemi to the max in Beijing', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/10/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/october/buemi-wins-swusp-beijing-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 25/10/2015)