|2015 Putrajaya ePrix|
The Putrajaya circuit.
|Date||7th November 2015|
|Official Name||YCM 2015 Formula E Putrajaya ePrix|
|Location||Putrajaya, Persiaran Perdana|
|Lap length||2.50km (1.55mi)|
|Distance||33 laps / 82.5km (51.26mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Sébastien Buemi|
|Fastest Lap||1:22.748 on lap 22|
|Lucas di Grassi||Sam Bird||Robin Frijns|
|Winner Team||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport|
|Beijing||Punta del Este|
Problems for pole sitter Sébastien Buemi and team mate Nicolas Prost saw Renault e.Dams miss out on the podium, as Lucas di Grassi claimed victory to take the lead in the Championship. Sam Bird finished second having fought up from the back of the field, while Robin Frijns took advantage of a late failure for António Félix da Costa to snatch third for Andretti.
Ahead of the weekend in Malaysia, Sébastien Buemi was already looking to be Champion elect for the season, having dominated the 2015 Beijing ePrix two weeks earlier. He had become the first driver to score maximum points (30) in a weekend, and so led Lucas di Grassi by twelve. Adding to his hopes was the fact that team mate, and arguably largest threat, Nicolas Prost failed to score, as did defending Champion Nelson Piquet Jr..
Buemi's perfect weekend meant Renault e.Dams led the Teams' Championship, ahead of Dragon Racing, who outscored ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport by four points. Mahindra Racing and NEXTEV TCR completed the top five, with two teams failing to score, although, in fairness, Trulli never started. The Swiss based team missed the scrutineering session before the Beijing race due to a customs issue, and so were withdrawn from the weekend.
However, despite having no customs issues in Malaysia, Trulli once again failed to pass scrutineering. Having announced that Jarno Trulli would be returning for them, their quartet of Motomatica JT-01s failed the pre-race checks by the scrutineers, meaning their entries were withdrawn. Trulli were, however, able to submit their cars for the Punta del Este round in December.
The full entry list for the 2015 Putrajaya ePrix is displayed below:
Putrajaya saw the second running of the new "Super Pole" format in qualifying, with the groups drawn on Friday morning before the weekend. Each group would have six minutes and one flying lap to set their best time, with the best five overall heading into the Super Pole Shoot Out at the end of the session. Each one of the five would then get one shot to set a time good enough for pole, with the fifth placed driver from the groups going first, on a completely empty circuit.
With Trulli once again absent, groups one and two were reduced to four cars, although the pace in practice meant that qualifying was still set to entertain. First onto the circuit was one of the title contenders, Nicolas Prost, joined by Dragon Racing Frenchman Loïc Duval, and the Mahindra Racing duo of Nick Heidfeld and Bruno Senna. Duval had stood out in practice, having wiped almost two seconds off of the lap record set in 2014, although Prost was expected to be the class of the group in the Renault e.Dams machine.
Duval and Prost indeed proved to be the strongest members of the group, although a supreme lap by Duval saw him edge out his countryman by over a tenth, matching Buemi's best time from practice. The two Mahindras ended the session two and three tenths off of Duval's pace respectively, with Senna pushing Heidfeld down with his lap at the end of the six minute session.
As with group one, group two saw a quartet rather than quintet head onto the circuit at 12:10, as two more title contenders hit the track. Beijing winner, and the man who made the qualifying draw, Sébastien Buemi was to go toe to toe with rival Lucas di Grassi in the second group, with both expected to get into the "Super Pole" session. They were to be joined by two drivers using the older Spark-Renault SRT_01E technology, with Robin Frijns and António Félix da Costa representing Andretti and Team Aguri respectively.
A mistake by di Grassi proved costly in both the group and the overall session, as the Brazilian lost time on his only flying lap with a scrape along the wall. Although he completed his lap, it was slower than both Duval and Prost from group one, leaving him on the brink of missing out on the shoot out. Buemi, as expected, topped the entire session with a stunning lap that broke the 1:20.000 barrier, while da Costa put together a clean lap to beat di Grassi. Frijns, meanwhile, bested the two Mahindras to end the session eighth overall.
Defending Champion Nelson Piquet Jr. headlined group three, joined by the two DS Virgin Racing machines of Sam Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne. Stéphane Sarrazin had already proved he had the pace around Putrajaya and so remained a threat, with the group completed by the second Aguri of rookie Nathanaël Berthon. Bird was another expected to perform, having won the race last season, with Vergne's impressive qualifying record meant he could not be ruled out either.
Sarrazin proved to be the class of the group, the Frenchman producing a stunning lap to emerge as the best Venturi built runner by snatching second overall from Duval and, more significantly, pushed di Grassi out of the Super Pole running. Elsewhere, the group proved disappointing, with both Virgins making mistakes and ending up down the order, Vergne ahead of Bird, with Berthon edging out Piquet near the back of the overall order.
The final quintet of the group phase saw another mix of old and new, with rookie Jacques Villeneuve up against Daniel Abt and Jérôme d'Ambrosio, both of whom carried impressive qualifying records. Joining them were Simona de Silvestro and Oliver Turvey, with the latter two expected to be near the back of the field due to their cars and struggles. For Villeneuve and d'Ambrosio the pressure was on, given the pace of their team mates, while Abt had a rare opportunity to best team mate di Grassi.
The final session, however, was ultimately just a filler before the main event, with none of the drivers managing to threaten the Super Pole order. d'Ambrosio did best to take seventh overall, leaving Abt to split the two Mahindras, and Villeneuve down in twelfth. For Turvey, a difficult session ended with him outqualified by Piquet, while de Silvestro would round out the grid after a poor lap.
First into battle for pole was da Costa, although he could not match his time from the group phase, losing half a second in the ever increasing temperatures. Prost was next out, but a mistake filled lap meant he was slower than da Costa, while Duval beat both to snatch the lead a few minutes later. Sarrazin's run then left him on top although, like everyone else, the pressure seemed to be telling as he locked up into turn one and lost time compared to his group pace.
Last out was Buemi, and a mistake early on almost put the Swiss driver out of the session with a lock up into turn one. However, his run of form stretching back to the end of the last season meant Buemi had the confidence to wrestle his car back into contention, and by the time he crossed the line, he was almost half a second up on the Venturi. A fifth career pole reinforced his status as favourite for the race win, with Prost and di Grassi sharing the third row, and behind three cars that were expected to be fighting for points rather than podiums.
The final qualifying result for the 2015 Putrajaya ePrix are outlined below:
|2015 Putrajaya ePrix Qualifying Result|
|1||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||1:20.196||—||1|
|3||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:20.886||+0.690s||3|
|4||55||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||1:20.975||+0.779s||4|
|5||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||1:21.786||+1.590s||5|
|6||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:20.449||—||6|
|7||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:20.496||+0.047s||7|
|9||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||1:20.616||+0.167s||9|
|10||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:20.679||+0.230s||10|
|11||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||1:20.727||+0.278s||11|
|13||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing||1:20.820||+0.371s||13|
|14||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||1:20.905||+0.456s||14|
|15||77||Nathanaël Berthon||Team Aguri||1:21.270||+0.821s||15|
|16||1||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||1:21.559||+1.110s||16|
|17||88||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR||1:21.611||+1.162s||17|
|18||28||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti||1:21.958||+1.509s||18|
A warm, dry afternoon in the Malaysian administrative capital greeted the field, as the field gathered on the dummy grid ahead of the race. However, just as the field pulled up into their proper grid slots, Stéphane Sarrazin suffered a fault and signalled that he could not start. Sarrazin was duly pushed into the pit lane, with the start amazingly not delayed by the late issue.
With Sébastien Buemi alone on the front row, the Swiss was an unsurprising leader into the first corner, as the rest of the field battled away from the line. Loïc Duval did just enough to sweep into second ahead of a fast starting António Félix da Costa, while Nicolas Prost fended off Lucas di Grassi. There was drama in the midpack as Jean-Eric Vergne was squeezed by Nick Heidfeld and Jacques Villeneuve in the braking zone, and was left to bounce off of the Canadian and into the German, breaking his suspension. Villeneuve and Heidfeld both continued (the latter having to spin his Mahindra back in the right direction), with Vergne having a short walk back to the pits.
Sarrazin was back in the race before the end of the first lap, quickly catching the back of the field, as Buemi established a small lead at the head of the field. Duval led the counter charge as team mate Jérôme d'Ambrosio lost out to Robin Frijns among a rush of mid-field battles in the opening stages. The next few laps became a stalemate as the drivers found their rhythums, with Buemi and Duval pulling a gap to da Costa. The Portuguese driver now became the centre of attention, as Prost and di Grassi climbed all over the back of the Team Aguri machine.
A mistake for Duval dropped him back from Buemi on lap nine, as Prost finally completed a move on da Costa, getting a better exit out of turn four. The Frenchman now began to bear down on his countryman Duval, with di Grassi stuck to the back of da Costa, having earlier collected a few marks on his front wing on the back of Prost. But, more drama was to come a few laps later, as the halfway mark, and car changes, loomed ever closer.
With just a couple of laps before the expected pitstop window, Buemi lost power coming out of the hairpin, his Renault Z.E.15 grinding to a halt a few hundred feet from the pit entrance. In response, Prost was called into the pits to change, with e.Dams later confirming that an overheating issue had been affecting both cars, although Prost was called in as a precaution. Buemi managed to continue after restarting his car, but immediately swapped to his second car, as Duval took over the lead.
The early stop for Prost made it almost inevitable that he would be leading the race after the pit window, but his stop, three laps earlier than most, meant he would be fighting a rear guard action for most of the second half of the race. There was to be more drama in the pits, however, as a slow stop for Duval dropped him behind di Grassi and da Costa, with Prost slipping into the lead. Elsewhere, Frijns, Heidfeld, Sam Bird and d'Ambrosio managed to gain an extra lap on everyone else, while Nelson Piquet Jr. held out until lap twenty for his stop.
Da Costa fell to di Grassi shortly after the stops, before the Brazilian began to reel in Prost, who was already having to conserve energy. A better exit out of the final corner on lap 22 saw the ABT Schaeffler pull alongside the Renault, before di Grassi took the inside line for turn one and took the place, da Costa lurking in the mirrors looking to take advantage of any mistake from the two of them. With that, di Grassi was in the lead and quickly established a gap to Prost, who was now left to fight da Costa and Duval to stay on the podium.
A lap later, and da Costa sent his Spark-Renault diving down the inside of Prost to take second at turn seven, a move perfected by him the season before. But, as da Costa began to close on di Grassi, his hopes of a victory came to a grinding halt when he lost power into the first chicane. His race was ruined despite managing to restart his Aguri liveried machine, dropping him to seventh, as Duval repeated the Portuguese's move on Prost to take second.
d'Ambrosio, Frijns and Bird, meanwhile, were being drawn ever closer to the podium hunt, having stopped a lap later than most. They all passed Prost in short order, using their advantage in remaining energy breeze by on the straights, before the trio set off after Duval who was trying to challenge di Grassi for the win.
But, with three laps to go, the Frenchman was out of the race after a damper broke in his left rear suspension with no signs of contact. That left d'Ambrosio with an easy pass, while Bird and Frijns were fighting with each other to try to get past quicker. Frijns got the advantage and got by Duval, but in running wide to pass the ailing Dragon picked up dust on his tyres, meaning he lost grip in the run into the hairpin. A small twitch and his Andretti was thrown into the wall, damaging his right rear suspension, with the Dutchman left to crab around the final few laps of the race.
hat left di Grassi with a comfortable lead over d'Ambrosio and Bird, with Frijns slipping away in fourth. e.Dams' miserable race continued as Buemi slipped out of the points, while Prost made a mistake and almost wiped the front wing off of his car, the Frenchman locking his rear axle in the braking zone of turn three. With just one lap to go, the race seemed to be settled, although Sarrazin was completing an excellent recovery drive and was drawing in Frijns at a stunning rate.
Di Grassi remained unchallenged to take his second win in Formula E, with more drama in his wake. d'Ambrosio looked set for second, only needing to stay out of the wall to take a well earned podium, before he caught a struggling Nathanaël Berthon in the final sector. In a similar situation to Frijns, the Belgian ran wide, picking up dust on his tyres, although it was ultimately a suspension failure that ended his race, slamming him into the barrier out of turn seven. That promoted Bird into second and Frijns, just hanging onto his crippled car, to third, handing the Dutchman his first podium in only his second race.
The final classification of the 2015 Putrajaya ePrix is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2015 Putrajaya ePrix Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Nat.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||33||50.17.449||1:23.877||25|
|2||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||33||+13.884s||1:24.273||18|
|5||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||33||+34.404s||1:24.311||10|
|6||55||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||33||+36.925s||1:24.045||8|
|7||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||33||+37.283s||1:24.178||6|
|8||1||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||33||+40.623s||1:23.889||4|
|9||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||33||+52.904s||1:23.366||2|
|10||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||33||+53.695s||1:23.240||1|
|12||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||33||+1:07.728||1:22.748||5|
|13||28||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti||33||+1:24.464||1:25.872|
|14||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||32||+1 lap||1:24.060|
|15||77||Nathanaël Berthon||Team Aguri||32||+1 lap||1:24.981|
|16||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||29||+4 laps||1:23.827|
|Ret||88||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR||4||Electrical||1:25.862|
|Ret||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing||0||Accident||No Time|
- 10th start for António Félix da Costa.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 '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)
- ↑ 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 'Di Grassi keeps his cool to win in Putrajaya', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 07/11/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/november/di-grassi-keeps-his-cool-to-win-in-putrajaya.aspx, (Accessed 22/11/2015)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 'Trulli to miss Putrajaya ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 06/11/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/november/trulli-to-miss-putrajaya-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 07/11/2015)
- ↑ 'FanBoost open for Putrajaya ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/10/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/october/fanboost-open-for-putrajaya-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 27/10/2015)
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 'Qualifying groups for Putrajaya ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 06/11/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/november/qualifying-groups-for-putrajaya-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 16/11/2015)
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 'Formula E launches Super Pole shoot-out', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 18/09/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/september/formula-e-launches-super-pole-shoot-out.aspx, (Accessed 09/10/2015)
- ↑ 'Duval smashes lap record in practice', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 07/11/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/november/duval-smashes-lap-record-in-practice.aspx, (Accessed 16/11/2015)
- ↑ 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 8.16 8.17 'Buemi on pole for the Putrajaya ePrix', (FIA Formula E, 07/11/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/november/buemi-on-pole-for-the-putrajaya-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 16/11/2015)
- ↑ 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 9.16 9.17 9.18 9.19 9.20 9.21 9.22 9.23 'Putrajaya ePrix 2015 - Extended Highlights', youtube.com, (YouTube: Formula E, 11/11/2015), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZhuLlOR4OY, (Accessed 22/11/2015)