|2015 London ePrix I|
The Visa London ePrix layout in 2015
|Date||27th July 2015|
|Official Name||Visa London ePrix 2015|
|Location||Battersea Park, London|
|Lap length||2.92km (1.81mi)|
|Distance||29 laps / 84.68km (52.62mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Sébastien Buemi|
|Driver||Lucas di Grassi|
|Fastest Lap||1:28.239 on lap 25|
|Sébastien Buemi||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Jean-Eric Vergne|
Sébastien Buemi took pole and victory around Battersea Park to put maximum pressure on Championship leader Nelson Piquet Jr. in what was a dominant display. His performance meant he overtook Lucas di Grassi in the standings and now sat five points off of Piquet, as e.dams-Renault took the Team's Championship with one race still to go.
Despite being limited to just two nominated drivers and two reserves at the start of the season, Andretti Autosport named their eighth different driver for the season. They drafted in Swiss driver Simona de Silvestro from their IndyCar programme ahead of the season finale, who replaced Brit Justin Wilson whom had had one shot in their second pair of Spark-Renault SRT_01Es. Sakon Yamamoto was also enlisted by Amlin Aguri for the finale, replacing António Félix da Costa whom had DTM commitments that weekend.
Oliver Turvey also joined the Formula E fray for the London double header, with NEXTEV TCR handing him their second set of cars. Turvey had not driven the SRT_01E before the weekend, but is experienced in single seaters after testing several times for the McLaren F1 team. Changes were also made at Trulli, with GP3 ace Alex Fontana called into the second pair of cars for the season finale. He joined another late call up at Virgin Racing, Fabio Leimer, who replaced Jaime Alguersuari in London, meaning there were four Swiss drivers on the grid.
e.dams-Renault, meanwhile, looked set to sew up the Teams Championship in the first London race, holding a 44 point lead over Audi Sport ABT, with 96 still available in the Championship (and just 48 after the end of the London ePrix I). ABT were arguably in a battle for second with NEXTEV TCR, while Dragon Racing were hoping to fend off Andretti Autosport and Virgin Racing for fourth. Yet, with the Teams' battle almost decided, the focus ahead of the first London ePrix was on the Drivers' Championship, where three drivers could be considered as genuine title challengers.
The first London ePrix represented the first of two chances for Championship leader (and arguably title favourite) Nelson Piquet, Jr. to take the honours, requiring just 14 more points than bitter rival Lucas di Grassi. Sébastien Buemi sat in third ahead of the first London battle, a further six behind di Grassi, with three other drivers in mathematical contention. Nicolas Prost stood the best chance of the three (joined by Jérôme d'Ambrosio and Sam Bird), but would require a faultless weekend, and a double retirement from Piquet to stand any chance.
The full entry list for the 2015 London ePrix I is displayed below:
Qualifying started at 12:00 GMT in the heart of Battersea Park, with the qualifying groups announced during the second Practice session. The familiar qualifying format was followed in London, with the first of four ten minute sessions seeing the drivers get two attempts at setting a time on full power.
The first of the title contenders were to be seen in group one, with Lucas di Grassi and Nicolas Prost first onto the circuit, along with 60 point outsider (and requiring pole) Sam Bird. They would be joined by Stéphane Sarrazin and debutant Fabio Leimer, although all the attention was on the Brazilian di Grassi, to see if he could qualify ahead of title rivals Sébastien Buemi and Nelson Piquet Jr.
Jean-Eric Vergne was the standout name in group two, having sat on pole three times during the season, and using Andretti Technologies (a dedicated Andretti Autosport department for Formula E), new livery. Also in the group would be Loïc Duval and Bruno Senna, while two debutants were also on show in Oliver Turvey and Alex Fontana.
The fourth debutant on offer was Sakon Yamamoto, who was also joined in group three by two former pole sitters in Daniel Abt and Jarno Trulli. Nick Heidfeld and Karun Chandhok, hoping to end the season on a high, would also be seen in group three, although the attention was on the final group of the session.
Championship leader Nelson Piquet Jr. would have to wait until the final group to get a chance at taking pole, and would be under pressure from third placed Sébastien Buemi too. Another title outsider could be found in Jérôme d'Ambrosio, with Salvador Duran and Simona de Silvestro (making her debut) rounding out the final group.
The grid order was unchanged after the session ended, although Trulli was dropped to the back of the grid due to his penalty obtained in Moscow.
|2015 London ePrix I Qualifying Result|
|2||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:25.104||2|
|3||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT||1:25.105||3|
|4||99||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||1:25.144||4|
|5||27||Jean-Eric Vergne||Andretti Autosport||1:25.182||5|
|7||88||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR||1:25.829||7|
|8||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||1:25.879||8|
|9||2||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||1:25.894||9|
|10||77||Salvador Duran||Amlin Aguri||1:25.964||10|
|11||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:25.988||11|
|13||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT||1:26.302||13|
|16||5||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing||1:27.160||15|
|17||28||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti Autosport||1:27.208||16|
|18||55||Sakon Yamamoto||Amlin Aguri||1:27.456||17|
|20||3||Fabio Leimer||Virgin Racing||1:28.152||19|
|Max Qualifying Time: N/A|
- * Trulli dropped five places for repeated track limit abuses in Moscow.
The race was scheduled to start at 16:00 GMT in London, although the modifications made to the first corner after practice meant the race would start behind the BMW Qualcomm i8 safety car. The unique FanBoost vote also came to a close as the race approached (before being opened for the London ePrix II on Sunday), with debutants Sakon Yamamoto and Oliver Turvey, as well as Nelson Piquet Jr. all gaining the two five second power boosts on offer.
Sébastien Buemi timed his start beautifully from behind the safety car to give himself a good advantage over Jérôme d'Ambrosio for the first racing lap, with status quo in terms of position being maintained throughout the field. Jean-Eric Vergne was the man on the move, however, as he latched himself onto the back of Piquet, while the Brazilian tried to find a way past his rival Lucas di Grassi for the final podium step. The narrow Battersea Park pathways meant space was a premium, and overtaking difficult at best.
It was Piquet who tried to overtake first, trying to sling his car around di Grassi into the turn eleven/twelve chicane, before trying to squeeze di Grassi onto the inside wall. Piquet's move meant he came across di Grassi's path, intentionally, with the two becoming locked together as Piquet tried to crowd his rival out of room. Di Grassi responded by steering into Piquet's car, compromising the Championship leader's exit, and allowing Vergne to put his orange Andretti machine around the outside of the NEXTEV TCR car through turn thirteen. Vergne completed a clean move into the final chicane, dropping Piquet down to fifth as Buemi set the fastest lap of the race out in the lead.
Di Grassi's joy was short lived, however, as he found himself in a battle with Vergne just a few laps later, with a banzai move by Vergne into the same corner seeing him move up into third. After that, the fears of a quiet race with no overtakes did emerge, with several drivers opting to chase energy conservation over outright pace. The result was that Vergne came in first with Piquet, while Sam Bird gained time by staying out an extra two laps, before the safety car came out once again.
A delay for Oliver Turvey during his stop, combined with the mix of cars emerging from the pits meant that he was in a quartet that involved Daniel Abt, Stéphane Sarrazin and Salvador Duran, with Nick Heidfeld scampering away in the distance. An issue for Abt on his second car caused him to lose pace, meaning that Turvey was able to out-drive the German out of the first chicane, while Sarrazin and Duran pushed him hard. Both made their way through with the Audi Sport ABT machine visibly suffering, before Abt's race came to an end when he hit the wall at the exit of the final corner.
The safety car emerged after some delay, as Sakon Yamamoto found himself stuck at the narrow pit exit, his race ended on the spot. Yet, Abt's car was removed in short order, meaning that Bird, whom had lost the time he gained by saving energy in his first car through a poor stop, was now back with a chance of solid points. Vergne, meanwhile, found himself staring at a potential win, although di Grassi and Piquet were quick to latch onto his tail as the race restarted.
Piquet was quick to launch another assault at the back of di Grassi's car after the restart, but di Grassi's careful placement saw him defend fourth with relative ease, leaving Piquet to come under pressure from Nicolas Prost in the second e.dams-Renault. Bird, meanwhile, had almost 15% more power available to him then those around him, meaning he was climbing through the pack with relative ease, Turvey in his wake.
Battles were being fought throughout the field, although the main focus was on Bird and di Grassi, the former having cleared Loïc Duval and staring solidly at the back of a now limping Piquet (down into his final dregs of power), while di Grassi began to throw his car around in Vergne's wake. No moves came however on the final lap, with Buemi taking victory from d'Ambrosio and Vergne, with the result meaning e.dams-Renault won the Teams' Championship with one race to spare. Buemi also became the favourite to take the title, despite remaining five points in arrears to Piquet before the final race of the season.
The final classification of the 2015 London ePrix I is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2015 London ePrix I Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Nat.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|2||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||29||+0.939s||1:29.339||18|
|3||27||Jean-Eric Vergne||Andretti Autosport||29||+1.667s||1:29.218||15|
|4||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT||29||+2.409s||1:28.239||14|
|5||99||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||29||+7.370s||1:29.379||10|
|6||2||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||29||+7.762s||1:29.364||8|
|8||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||29||+9.507s||1:29.379||4|
|9||88||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR||29||+10.032s||1:29.501||2|
|11||28||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti Autosport||29||+15.946s||1:29.709|
|12||5||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing||29||+35.595s||1:29.791|
|14||3||Fabio Leimer||Virgin Racing||29||+42.697s||1:30.103|
|16||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||29||+48.423s||1:28.512|
|17||77||Salvador Duran||Amlin Aguri||29||+1:01.987||1:29.554|
|Ret||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT||15||Accident||1:30.065|
|Ret||55||Sakon Yamamoto||Amlin Aguri||15||Retired||1:31.222|
- Third win for Sébastien Buemi, and second from pole position.
Despite Sam Bird, Nicolas Prost and Jérôme d'Ambrosio all falling by the wayside, the Championship would still go down to the final race of the season between three drivers. Nelson Piquet Jr. still held the lead, but his margin was now just five points, and Sébastien Buemi looked to be the stronger of the two. Lucas di Grassi, who had led the Championship since the start of the season apart from a brief couple of races now became the outsider, but with just thirteen points separating him from glory, he was far from out of the fight.
e.dams-Renault, meanwhile, successfully took the Teams' Championship with a race to spare, after Audi Sport ABT lost Daniel Abt's car during the race. That left the German team in a battle with NEXTEV TCR for second, while Dragon Racing and Andretti Autosport were locked together in a battle to be best of the American teams once more. The Trulli Formula E Team looked set to finish the season at the foot of the table, while Venturi hoped for a strong finale to overhaul Amlin Aguri for seventh.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Videos and Images:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 'Circuit Guide: London 2015', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/calendar/2015-london.aspx, (Accessed 11/06/2015)
- ↑ 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 'Buemi’s stroll in the park', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 27/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/buemi-wins-as-edams-renault-clinch-team-title.aspx, (Accessed 27/06/2015)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 'De Silvestro to race in Visa London ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 14/06/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/de-silvestro-to-race-in-london-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 14/06/2015)
- ↑ 'Amlin Aguri picks Yamamoto for London', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 15/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/amlin-aguri-picks-yamamoto-for-london.aspx, (Accessed 15/06/2015)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 'Turvey gets NEXTEV TCR drive', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 18/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/turvey-gets-nextev-tcr-drive.aspx, (Accessed 18/06/2015)
- ↑ 'Alex Fontana gets Trulli call-up', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 25/06/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/alex-fontana-gets-trulli-call-up.aspx, (Accessed 25/06/2015)
- ↑ 'Leimer replaces Alguersuari for London', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/06/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/leimer-replaces-alguersuari-for-london.aspx, (Accessed 25/06/2015)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 'Visa London ePrix: Qualifying groups', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 27/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/visa-london-eprix-qualifying-groups.aspx, (Accessed 27/06/2015)
- ↑ 'Turvey, Piquet and Yamamoto win FanBoost vote', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 27/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/turvey-piquet-and-yamamoto-win-fanboost-vote.aspx, (Accessed 27/06/2015)