|2015 London ePrix II|
The Battersea Park circuit
|Date||28th June 2015|
|Official Name||Visa London ePrix|
|Location||Battersea Park, London|
|Lap length||2.92km (1.81mi)|
|Distance||29 laps / 84.68km (52.62mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Stéphane Sarrazin|
|Fastest Lap||1:26.790 on lap 24|
|Sam Bird||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Loïc Duval|
|Winner Team||Virgin Racing|
|“||I couldn't have dreamt for a better ending||”|
The 2015 London ePrix II, advertised as the Visa London ePrix, was the second of two races held in London, England, and served as the final race of the 2014/15 FIA Formula E Championship. Using the same Battersea Park based circuit as used on the Saturday, the Second London ePrix was the first ePrix to be held on a Sunday, and would see the Champion crowned.
In a dramatic finale to the season, Stéphane Sarrazin was stripped of victory, handing Sam Bird his second Formula E victory at his home race. The race also saw Nelson Piquet Jr. clinch the title, with Sébastien Buemi falling less than half a second short of the fourth place he needed to take it for himself.
With just 24 hours passing since the Saturday race, there were no changes to the entry list, although there were modifications made to the circuit. The bump at turn one, which had seen temporary barriers narrow the circuit to prevent cars getting airborne, had been eliminated by resurfacing over night. The modification meant that the Second ePrix of the weekend could start from the grid rather than behind the BMW Qualcomm i8 Safety car as had happened on Saturday.
Champions e.dams-Renault could not rest easy overnight on Saturday, with the First London ePrix dragging Sébastien Buemi into the favourite category for the Driver's title on Sunday, his victory leaving him five points behind Nelson Piquet Jr. Piquet also found himself under pressure from behind, with Lucas di Grassi also closing the gap to the front, with Piquet's Saturday performances suggesting he was pushing very hard to keep with his rivals.
Saturday had seen the title fight cut in half, with Sam Bird (who was eliminated from the battle after qualifying), Nicolas Prost and Jérôme d'Ambrosio all falling outside of the 30 point margin they needed to keep their title hopes alive. They now found themselves in a battle for fourth in the Championship, along with Jean-Eric Vergne, whose pace on Saturday could have seen him take victory. Other battles to be fought in the Championship were to be found over ninth, with Daniel Abt leading compatriot Nick Heidfeld by just one point, with a further ten cars within striking distance.
The full entry list for the 2015 London ePrix II is displayed below:
The familiar qualifying format was followed once again in London's second race, with the draw being made in the EMOTION Club. As qualifying approached, however, a series of dark clouds began to drift over the British capital, meaning that the first wet qualifying session in Formula E history could seriously affect the title battle.
It was the Venturi pair of Nick Heidfeld and Stéphane Sarrazin who would lead out the final qualifying session of the season, joined on circuit by Jérôme d'Ambrosio, Bruno Senna and Alex Fontana. Heidfeld and Sarrazin had been on the pace all weekend, as had d'Ambrosio, with all three expected to be solidly in the top ten, particularly as the skies darkened over London as they left the pits.
None of the drivers were particularly happy with their times afterwards, but with the clouds starting to burst as they completed their laps, their joy was set to soar. Sarrazin took provisional pole ahead of d'Ambrosio, while Senna took third ahead of Heidfeld. Fontana's difficult début weekend looked set to continue with the Swiss driver the slowest of the group.
The second Trulli Formula E Team machine of Jarno Trulli emerged in group two, alongside Sam Bird, Loïc Duval and Salvador Duran. But all the attention was on Sébastien Buemi, who was upset to find himself in the second goup, and annoyed when the rain began to fall on the Battersea Park circuit as he made his way round to start his flying laps.
Buemi would be more disappointed by the time the group ended, finishing the session in provisional sixth, as Duval and Bird managed to pull enough time out to take third and fourth respectively. The session ended with more rain falling onto the circuit, with Trulli a second and a half off team mate Fontana's time, while Duran took a provisionally best qualifying result of eighth behind Buemi and Heidfeld.
Nelson Piquet Jr.'s chance came in group three, as he joined Daniel Abt and Jean-Eric Vergne, two former pole sitters, out on circuit. Also in their group were the two rookies, Fabio Leimer and Sakon Yamamoto, with the seasoned professionals looking set to top the group's times, and push for the overall pole. However, the steady rain between the end of the first session and through the second continued, meaning an increasingly damp track greeted them.
As the drivers wound themselves up for their first flying laps, Yamamoto got caught out, putting his Amlin Aguri machine into the barrier, bringing the session to a temporary hault. The session resumed after five minutes, but the track conditions had deteriorated since, meaning Piquet ended the group in twelfth overall, behind Vergne. It was an impressive display by Piquet nonetheless, as he threw his Spark-Renault SRT_01E around the circuit, getting sideways at virtually every corner in an attempt to find time. Abt struggled in the wet, while Leimer's inexperience cost him potential time, with Yamamoto not setting a time.
Title outsider Lucas di Grassi had smiled when the groups were first drawn, but became glum as the circuit got wetter through the session. He was to be joined by Simona de Silvestro and Karun Chandhok, as well as the team mates of his title rivals, Nicolas Prost and Oliver Turvey. Yet, as their session approached, the rain stopped, meaning they had a chance to beat the group three times.
And so it proved, although di Grassi remained visibly upset after only managing to take eleventh, in truth the best he could have hoped for. Turvey impressed taking twelfth, almost beating the Brazilian, while de Silvestro and Prost barged their way above Piquet and Vergne. Last in the group was Chandhok, whom struggled with the rear of his car throughout the session and ended the session dead last, but ahead of Yamamoto.
|2015 London ePrix II Qualifying Result|
|2||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:23.935||2|
|3||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:24.107||3|
|4||2||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||1:24.241||4|
|5||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||1:24.318||5|
|8||77||Salvador Duran||Amlin Aguri||1:25.649||8|
|11||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT||1:32.570||11|
|12||88||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR||1:33.626||12|
|13||28||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti Autosport||1:34.167||13|
|14||27||Jean-Eric Vergne||Andretti Autosport||1:35.032||14|
|16||99||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||1:35.284||16|
|17||3||Fabio Leimer||Virgin Racing||1:35.543||17|
|18||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT||1:38.473||18|
|19||5||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing||1:41.232||19|
|NC*||55||Sakon Yamamoto||Amlin Aguri||No Time||20|
|Max Qualifying Time: N/A|
- * Yamamoto starts at the stewards discression
The FanBoost announcement was made shortly before the race started, with two of the three title contenders gaing the five second boost. Nelson Piquet Jr. and Sébastien Buemi would have their fans to thank for voting for them, while the home crowd also awarded Oliver Turvey, after his impressive début on Saturday. With the summer heat drying the circuit out before the start, the final race of the season was set to be dry, and kicked off at 16:00 GMT.
Wheel spin at the front of the field saw the top four remain in grid order, as Buemi jumped Bruno Senna for fifth while the field compressed around the slow starting Alex Fontana. That was good news for Piquet, who moved up four places on the first lap, and crucially got past Nicolas Prost, Buemi's team mate, as the Frenchman got boxed in behind Fontana. The top four began to pull away over the following laps, with Buemi finding space to set fastest lap early on, with which he would win the title by five points as things stood,
It soon became clear that Piquet was trying to save the maximum amount of energy that he could, as he settled in at the head of a train of cars, and fell well behind Oliver Turvey, his team mate. The Brazilian looked to be relying on a safety car, which became increasingly likely as the race went on. The first incident saw Fabio Leimer, in the Piquet procession, lock up his rear wheels into turn three, sliding into the back of Simona de Silvestro, with Leimer losing the end plate of his front wing.
Sakon Yamamoto used that, and de Silvestro's move on Jarno Trulli, to gain a couple of places, before attempting to pass Trulli into the same corner Leimer had made his mistake. Again, the Japanese driver found himself unable to slow, and collected the back of the Italian's car, breaking his front suspension and ending his race. Trulli suffered minimum damage and continued, having lost both time and places, yet still, Piquet's safety car did not emerge.
Nor did it when Nick Heidfeld ground to a hault in the pitlane, with the German pushing his car down the remainder of the entry to change into his second car, although he would ultimately retire through lack of energy. Piquet's race did benefit, however, as he stayed out an extra two laps, while Sam Bird, at the front of the field, managed an extra lap over his rivals for the lead. As Piquet remained in eleventh after his stop, Bird outpaced Loïc Duval for third, and then pushed Jérôme d'Ambrosio hard for second.
The title fight, meanwhile, took a dramatic shift after the stops, as Buemi, safely in fifth place, spun on cold tyres, losing fifth to Senna and falling into the sights of Lucas di Grassi, now with nothing to lose. It got worse for the Swiss driver when his country man Leimer crashed into the barriers at the penultimate chicane, finally bringing out the safety car that Piquet needed. That dragged Piquet onto the back of the point scoring positions, and with an extra 12% of power relative to his competitors. The title fight was now fully on.
Bird pounced on d'Ambrosio for second at the front as Turvey neatly allowed Piquet through without allowing Prost to gain a position as well. That move saw Piquet now just three points behind Buemi, which suddenly closed to one when Turvey set the fastest lap. It was then that Piquet showed the class that had earned him his title chance, as he swung his NEXTEV TCR machine around the outside of Salvador Duran in turn thirteen, putting him in eighth place, and one point in the lead of the Championship, It also saw him put his sights on his two title rivals, with Buemi and di Grassi in sixth and seventh.
A stalemate emerged over the next few laps, with Piquet dropping back to avoid contact with rival di Grassi and attempt to set fastest lap, while Buemi pushed to retake Senna. Bird, meanwhile, set an impressive fastest lap (quicker than his qualifying lap on Saturday) as he pushed Sarrazin closer and closer to his energy limit. It was then that the title got tasty, as two of the lead cars lost their final energy reserve.
Sarrazin was hit first, hitting 0% energy with over half a lap to go, with Bird crawling all over him. Then, as the pack approached the final chicane, on the final lap, Duval slowed to prevent his car dropping below the maximum energy limit, causing Senna and Buemi to jump on the brakes. As Sarrazin fended off Bird into the final corner to win, Buemi forced his way up the inside of Senna, only to see the Brazilian stamp on the power on the exit of the chicane and pull across his e.dams machine.
Buemi therefore missed out on the title by just one point and, in terms of the race, just half a second, as Piquet crossed the line in eighth. With several cars under investigation, there was some tension as to who had finished where, with the FIA quick to announce that only one driver had received a penalty. That man, awarded a 49 second penalty for exceeding the maximum power usage, was Sarrazin, which gave Bird the win and did not affect the title result. Ergo, with no further modifications to the result, Piquet was confirmed as the Champion, the first in Formula E, after a race which Alejandro Agag responded to thus: "I couldn't have dreamt for a better ending."
The final classification of the 2015 London ePrix II is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2015 London ePrix II Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Nat.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1||2||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||29||45:48.792||1:26.790||27|
|2||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||29||+6.973s||1:28.155||18|
|3||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||29||+9.430s||1:28.052||15|
|4||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||29||+10.147s||1:27.912||12|
|6||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT||29||+11.204s||1:28.316||8|
|7||99||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||29||+11.561s||1:26.847||6|
|8||77||Salvador Duran||Amlin Aguri||29||+12.402s||1:28.362||4|
|9||88||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR||29||+14.142s||1:27.463||2|
|11||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT||29||+23.170s||1:28.310|
|12||28||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti Autosport||29||+24.610s||1:28.520|
|13||5||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing||29||+31.501s||1:29.234|
|16||27||Jean-Eric Vergne||Andretti Autosport||28||+1 lap||1:27.139|
|Ret||3||Fabio Leimer||Virgin Racing||17||Accident||1:29.862|
|Ret||55||Sakon Yamamoto||Amlin Aguri||6||Accident||1:30.843|
- * Sarrazin awarded a 49 second penalty for exceeding the maximum power usage for the race.
- First pole position for Stéphane Sarrazin
- Second victory for Sam Bird
- Nelson Piquet Jr. became the inaugural FIA Formula E Champion by a single point
So Nelson Piquet Jr. rounded out the season as the Champion, beating Sébastien Buemi by just a solitary point, while Lucas di Grassi missed out by eleven. Jérôme d'Ambrosio snatched fourth away from Nicolas Prost, who fell to sixth after Sam Bird's victory, with Jean-Eric Vergne the first of those not to complete the full season in seventh. Bruno Senna scored his first points since the Long Beach ePrix to take tenth place, with Stéphane Sarrazin and Salvador Duran the only other big movers on the final day.
e.dams-Renault won the Team's title on Saturday, and announced that they would be a manufacturer backed team in 2015/16, the first team to confirm so. Audi Sport ABT, meanwhile, had trailed the French team since almost the first race of the season, but found themselves overhauled by Dragon Racing, whose double podium shot them up to a surprise second in the Teams' Championship. NEXTEV TCR and Virgin Racing rounded out the top five, with the Trulli Formula E Team rooted to the foot of the table.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Videos and Images:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 'Agag: “I couldn’t have dreamt for a better ending”', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/agag-i-couldn-t-have-dreamt-for-a-better-ending.aspx, (Accessed 30/06/2015)
- ↑ 'Circuit Guide: London 2015', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/calendar/2015-london.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2015)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 'Bird hails ‘unbelievable’ end to season', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/bird-hails-unbelievable-end-to-season.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2015)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 'Drivers satisfied with overnight track changes', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/drivers-satisfied-with-overnight-track-changes.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2015)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 'Visa London ePrix: Sunday Qualifying groups', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/visa-london-eprix-sunday-qualifying-groups.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2015)
- ↑ 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 'Sarrazin takes pole in mixed conditions', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/sarrazin-takes-pole-in-mixed-conditions.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2015)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 'Turvey, Buemi and Piquet win FanBoost vote', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/turvey-buemi-and-piquet-win-fanboost-vote.aspx, (Accessed 28/06/2015)
- ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 'Visa London ePrix race two highlights', youtube.com, (YouTube: FIA Formula E, 28/06/2015), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mNOSOJXDJs, (Accessed 30/06/2015)
- ↑ 'Renault confirms manufacturer entry for season two', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 29/06/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/june/renault-confirms-manufacturer-entry-for-season-two.aspx, (Accessed 29/06/2015)