|2016 London ePrix II|
|Date||3rd July 2016|
|Official Name||Formula E Visa London ePrix 2016|
|Location||Battersea Park, London|
|Lap length||2.92km (1.81mi)|
|Distance||33 laps / 96.36km (59.56mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Sébastien Buemi|
|Fastest Lap||1:24.150 on lap 32|
|Nicolas Prost||Daniel Abt||Jérôme d'Ambrosio|
|Winner Team||Renault e.Dams|
|London I||Hong Kong|
After a dramatic race on Saturday, the point situation ahead of the season finale meant that Lucas di Grassi held a three point lead over Sébastien Buemi. Yet, when Buemi put his car on pole during a dry qualifying session, the race would start with the title contenders level, although di Grassi was ahead on count back. For his part, di Grassi would start the finale down in third so was directly behind his rival on the grid, although Buemi had the advantage of having Nicolas Prost starting alongside him.
There was almost an anti-climax at the very start, as di Grassi misjudged the closing speed of his rival into turn three, meaning he slammed into the back of Buemi. The Brazilian snapped his front suspension, while Buemi lost his rear wing, but was pitched into a one hundred an eighty degree spin, allowing him to rejoin and limp back to the pits. The Safety car was called to clear the debris as di Grassi also limped back to the pits, with both the title contenders set to duel for the Championship by trying to set fastest lap.
Out front, Prost was out to build a lead, although every time he managed to get a few seconds ahead, a safety car would appear and destroy his lead. The second visit of the BMW Qualcomm i8 would be caused by a retirement for home hero Sam Bird as he ground to a halt. A third was added when Robin Frijns disappeared, before the stops for the majority of the field.
As Prost cruised to a second victory in two days, di Grassi got first blood in the battle for fastest lap, as both drivers would not be able to use their starting car. Having waited until a large gap appeared, Buemi was also hunting for a quick time, only to be baulked, first by di Grassi, and then by a slow Ma Qing Hua. After several stops in the pits, Buemi found some space behind team mate Prost, snatched fastest lap, before waiting to see if di Grassi could match it.
Ultimately, the Brazilian would fall short, despite strategic use of FanBoost to aid his pursuit of the honours. Missing out by just half a tenth, di Grassi decided enough was enough and conceded to defeat, just as Buemi set a stunning lap of 1:24.150 to settle the issue and earn himself the title he missed out on a year before. Two points was the margin at the end of the season, as Prost claimed victory to earn Renault e.Dams the Teams' Championship for a second season in a row.
With the popularity and drama of the season finale of 2014/15 seeing a record attendance and television audience, the FIA and Formula E Holdings arranged for Battersea Park in London to host two races once again in 2015/16. With that in mind, tickets for the double header went on sale in early March, with reduced prices for early buyers, with the circuit unmodified from 2015.
With just one race to go, Lucas di Grassi held on to a slender three point advantage over Sébastien Buemi, and with three points for pole, that could disappear before the second race of the weekend began. Nicolas Prost, meanwhile, managed to climb up to an impressive third with victory on Saturday, overtaking Sam Bird whose car had failed him once again. Jérôme d'Ambrosio completed the top five in the Drivers' Championship, where eighteen drivers had managed to claim a point or more.
Renault e.Dams had all but sealed the deal in the Teams' Championship after Prost's victory, with ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport needing to claim a one-two on Sunday, and see the Frenchmen fail to score to stand any chance at all. DS Virgin Racing were set for third after another strong campaign, while Dragon Racing were confirmed as the best of the American teams. The other potential battle in the Championship would be between the two teams using season one equipment, with Andretti Autosport just ahead of the outgoing Team Aguri.
The full entry list for the 2016 London ePrix II is displayed below:
Qualifying for the season ending race would start at exactly 12:00pm in London, with a cloudless sky ensuring that the weather could not be blamed for a poor session. The session would also run as usual, with the eighteen cars drawn into four separate groups before the session, before each group got six minutes, and one flying lap, to set a quick time. The fastest five overall then proceed to the Super Pole shootout to decide the top five, with the slowest of the quintet going out first to try an set a time good enough for pole.
The first group of the session was of no interest in terms of the title bout, although home hopes would be invested quite highly as Sam Bird headlined the opening quintet. Saturday winner Nicolas Prost was also included in the group, expected to cruise through to the shootout in order to support his teammate, while out-going Champion Nelson Piquet Jr. would also be in action in the #1 machine. Completing the group would be the two Dragon Racing entries of Loïc Duval and Jérôme d'Ambrosio.
By far the fastest man in the opening group would be Prost, who set an excellent time of 1:22.878 to almost instantly guarentee his involvement in the Super Pole shootout. Indeed, the Frenchman was almost a second quicker than home hero Bird, who only just managed to fend off Piquet, the final gap between those two just 0.007s. Duval was even closer to the Brazilian, missing out on being third fastest by 0.001s, with d'Ambrosio a further 0.014s away.
The second group, and the second quintet, would see the first of the title pretenders get their chance in qualifying, as Lucas di Grassi went to try and grab pole. His only likely threat from the group would be Jean-Eric Vergne, while the home fans would be looking out for Mike Conway who hoped to spring a surprise. Simona de Silvestro and Ma Qing Hua completed the quintet, entering a final battle to be the best of the season one runners.
Unsurprisingly, the class of group two would prove to be the title pretender, although di Grassi did not have the dominance that Prost had enjoyed. Indeed, the Brazilian would be second fastest overall, almost four tenths slower than Prost, although he was half a second quicker than nearest challenger Vergne. The Frenchman was quicker than teammate Bird in the overall standings, while Conway, de Silvestro and Ma were all off the pace, setting times in the 1:24.000s or slower.
Group three, and the first of the quartets, would be graced by the presence of Sébastien Buemi, with the Swiss driver knowing that pole would leave him level on points with Championship leader di Grassi. The Renault e.Dams driver was also favourite to get through to the shootout, although he would have to look out for di Grassi's teammate Daniel Abt, who could potentially be used as a tactical chicane. Nick Heidfeld and António Félix da Costa completed the group for Mahindra Racing and Team Aguri respectively.
If dominance described Prost's performance in the opening group, then Buemi's efforts in group three could only be chronicled as dictatorial. The Swiss racer was a stunning three quarters of a second quicker than Prost, a second quicker than di Grassi and 1.237s faster than Heidfeld, his nearest rival in terms of the group. Heidfeld and Abt, meanwhile, had put themselves inside the Super Pole section with relatively strong times, while da Costa joined the also rans with a 1:24.273.
With the title contenders out of the way, group four would only be of interest to the fans through the involvement of Oliver Turvey, whose qualifying form had been on the up. The Brit headlined a quartet consisting of Stéphane Sarrazin, Bruno Senna and Robin Frijns, although none of the final four were thought to be a threat to the Super Pole.
There would be one final twist in the final group, as Turvey produced a stunning lap to get into the Super Pole session by setting the third fastest time of the group stage. That time relegated Abt to sixth and out of the shootout, with the Brit over a second quicker than his nearest group four challenger Senna. Sarrazin was a disappointed fifteenth, while Frijns only just managed to beat teammate de Silvestro, but was the best part of half a second off the time of da Costa in the Aguri-Andretti battle.
First out into the empty Battersea Park circuit would be Heidfeld, although a mistake ridden lap saw the German set a very poor time. Unsurprisingly, di Grassi put together a clinical, if unspectacular lap, to get into the 1:22.000s, finding three tenths on his lap from the groups, before Turvey made a mistake to lose half a second on his group four effort. That left di Grassi on pole with the two Renault e.Dams cars still to run, with Prost winding himself up to try and get ahead of the Brazilian.
The Frenchman also opted for cleanliness over outright action, and the result was a stunningly similar time to di Grassi, although Prost was a significant 0.027s faster. That put di Grassi down to second, and with Buemi on top form, it looked likely that the Brazilian would be starting the finale in third, and level on points with the Swiss racer. 1:22.033 later and di Grassi's fears were realised, as Buemi flew around Battersea to set a new circuit record, besting his previous time by a tenth with a perfect lap that left both himself and di Grassi on 153 points.
The final qualifying result for the 2016 London ePrix II are outlined below:
|2016 London ePrix II Qualifying Result|
|1||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||1:22.033||—||1|
|2||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||1:22.948||+0.915s||2|
|3||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:22.975||+0.942s||3|
|4||88||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR||1:23.685||+1.652s||4|
|5||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||1:24.827||+2.794s||5|
|6||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:23.494||—||6|
|7||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing||1:23.783||+0.289s||7|
|8||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||1:23.930||+0.436s||8|
|9||1||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||1:23.937||+0.443s||9|
|10||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:23.938||+0.444s||10|
|11||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:23.952||+0.458s||11|
|13||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||1:24.171||+0.677s||13|
|14||55||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||1:24.273||+0.779s||14|
|17||28||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti||1:24.823||+1.329s||17|
|18||77||Ma Qing Hua||Team Aguri||1:26.259||+2.765s||18|
Unlike the Saturday race, Sunday afternoon was bathed in sunshine, and with no threat of rain all of the attention was on the circuit for the title decided. Pole for Sébastien Buemi meant he was level with Lucas di Grassi on points, although the Brazilian was ahead on count-back. So long as Buemi out scored di Grassi then he would be Champion, although if both failed to score then it would be di Grassi who would be crowned.
When the lights went out it was di Grassi who got the better start, but it would not be enough for the Brazilian to slot in between the two Renaults. Buemi therefore led Prost and di Grassi through the narrow turn one-two combination, before Prost moved to the inside of the circuit before the tight turn three. That opened the door for di Grassi to move into the wake of Buemi, although when the Swiss racer braked for the corner, the Brazilian was caught off guard.
On the brakes, di Grassi was powerless to avoid Buemi meaning the yellow/red/green ABT was sent sailing into the back of the blue/yellow Renault, with both sliding down the escape road. Both cars sustained terminal damage, the safety car being called to clear the resulting debris, although Buemi was back onto the circuit within a heartbeat. Realising this, di Grassi dragged his car back out of the barriers so that he could get into the pits, with the pair of them now in a battle to set fastest lap.
All this had left Prost in the lead of the race, with Nick Heidfeld and Daniel Abt in the top three, while Oliver Turvey and Sam Bird were up in fourth and fifth for the home fans. After two laps the safety car was back in the pits, while Buemi and di Grassi spent time coming in and out of their garages. An excellent restart saw Prost sprint away when the green flag was shown, with Heidfeld fending off a challenge from Abt.
Halfway through the third lap and Bird sent a dive down the outside of Turvey into the second chicane, the Virgin racer getting his car very sideways on the brakes. Next time through and Vergne elbowed his way through the NEXTEV TCR racer, leaving Turvey to defend from teammate Piquet for sixth. That battle, however, would soon become a fight for fifth as Bird dropped out with a throttle failure on lap eight, resulting in another safety car to remove the stranded Virgin.
The second safety car was timed perfectly to ruin a fastest lap for di Grassi, who had been out since the restart to try and get the quickest time and the two points. He abandoned his running when the BMW Qualcomm i8 returned to the circuit, joining Buemi in the pits. It would only be a lap before the latest safety car period was over, with Prost once again sprinting away as di Grassi and Buemi sat in pits.
A lap after the second restart and a huge queue had formed behind António Félix da Costa, who had had an excellent start to the race to climb into the top ten with the ageing Spark-Renault SRT_01E. Coming into the final chicane and Jérôme d'Ambrosio tried a half-hearted move to take the inside, although quickly decided against it. That, however, proved to be a poor decision, as Bruno Senna got alongside, albeit on the outside of the corner, while an unsighted Robin Frijns smacked into the back of the Dragon and took out part of the rear wing. That forced Senna wide so that Loïc Duval could get past, although the whole group would continue on with minor bodywork damage.
Just after that collision, Buemi decided to go out to try and set fastest lap, although he had only just got out onto the circuit when a third safety car of the day was called, this time to retrieve a damaged car. The cause was to be found at the turn ten chicane, where Frijns was parked in the middle of the road after hitting the wall. The Dutchman, however, had had assisstance in getting the smashed front wing and suspension, for he had been squeezed into the wall by Duval while battling for tenth.
Three laps later and Prost could be seen sprinting away once again, with Heidfeld already under pressure from Abt as the field streamed through turn one on lap fifteen. Buemi, meanwhile, waited until the field got halfway through the lap before emerging from the pits, just as Abt tried to pass Heidfeld into turn ten. Both attempts would fail, however, with Heidfeld fending off his countryman, while Buemi abandoned his run after di Grassi emerged a lap later to spoil his run.
With the title pretenders back in the pits the focus turned once again to the front of the field, with Abt launching an ambitious move into the second chicane to move into second, almost a replay of Bird's move on Turvey early on. It was a move that also allowed Vergne to size up a move on the struggling Mahindra, although the Frenchman's attempt faltered on the brakes into the final chicane. Indeed, Vergne was lucky not to lose out to Turvey, while da Costa used the chaos ahead to take seventh away from Mike Conway.
The survivors were all now in the pit window, with the entire field bar Conway stopping at the end of lap eighteen, the Brit attempting to stay out for another lap. Buemi, meanwhile, had rejoined just behind Prost before his race leading teammate stopped although the Swiss racer would get stuck behind Ma Qing Hua before the Chinese racer stopped. Buemi therefore abandoned another run but stayed out to bide his time, only for Ma to appear in his sights a couple of laps later, halfway through a fast lap for the Swiss racer. Buemi set a new fastest lap at 1:26.056, despite a poor final sector, although di Grassi would emerge from the pits just before the Swiss racer completed the lap.
With news of Buemi's lap came protests from di Grassi, who claimed that he had set a 1:24.700 lap earlier in the race, although the telemetry suggested otherwise. On track, meanwhile, and Conway's ploy had failed spectacularly to leave him sown in twelfth, while Piquet came under attack from d'Ambrosio and Duval, the former managing to get through a turn three. Further up the road and Heidfeld had lost out, Vergne having moved into third to leave the German defending furiously from a charging da Costa who had jumped the two NEXTEVs in the pits.
Back with the title bout and Buemi had finally found enough space to try and settle the issue, completing lap 23 with a 1:24.582, faster than di Grassi's alleged time. The Brazilian was still out on the circuit but was struggling to match the Swiss racers pace, just as Duval got crossed up on the brakes into the first chicane, narrowly missing the back of teammate d'Ambrosio. The two Venturis were in a similar battle, with Conway getting sideways while braking into turn three, the pair of them having just taken a disappointed Piquet, whose pace had collapsed and almost put him into the wall through turn one.
The race finally began to calm after that, with Prost holding a seven second lead over Abt, who was starting to come under pressure from Vergne for second. That gap was a convenient one for e.Dams, who released Buemi into Prost's wake to give the Swiss racer as good a chance as any to beat di Grassi, who had stopped for another setup change. The Brazilian decided to use his FanBoost to accelerate out of the final corner to open a perfect lap, but a mistake early on meant that ploy failed.
Back with the race relevant action and Turvey's pace had collapsed, allowing the two Dragons to take the NEXTEV machine without too much bother. He would also fall to Senna, Conway and Sarrazin before the end of the lap just as Piquet's pace began to pick up.
Returning to the title fight and di Grassi was flying, setting the fastest first and second sectors with three laps to go, although the Brazilian just fell shy of the Swiss' racers time from earlier in the race. Buemi set about setting a lap just as news of di Grassi's fastest second sector broke, with the Swiss racer's lap resulting in a 1:24.150, over half a second quicker than the fallen Brazilian. That proved to be enough for the title, di Grassi climbing out of his car and heading back to the paddock, just moments after Conway pulled off to the side with an issue.
One lap later and the race was over as well, Prost completing an excellent, if overshadowed, drive to earn a second straight win and ensure that e.Dams won the title. Vergne was unable to take Abt so they finished third and second respectively, finishing ahead of Heidfeld and da Costa, before those two were relegated down the order due to penalties. Vergne would also be relegated due to an issue, promoting d'Ambrosio onto the podium with Duval in fourth, while Sarrazin and Senna also climbed up the order.
The final classification of the 2016 London ePrix II is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2016 London ePrix II Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Nat.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||33||56:32.648||1:27.096||25|
|2||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||33||+7.633s||1:27.224||18|
|3||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||33||+22.524s||1:27.488||15|
|4||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||33||+23.290s||1:27.301||12|
|6||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||33||+27.174s||1:26.892||8|
|7||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||33||+1:07.544||1:27.691||6|
|8||25||Jean-Eric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing||33||+1:08.002||1:27.214||4|
|9||1||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NEXTEV TCR||33||+1:14.270||1:27.415||2|
|10||88||Oliver Turvey||NEXTEV TCR||33||+1:22.216||1:27.989||1|
|11||55||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||33||+1:58.324||1:27.626|
|12||77||Ma Qing Hua||Team Aguri||32||+1 lap||1:28.432|
|13||12||Mike Conway||Venturi||32||+1 lap||1:26.983|
|Ret||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||18||Out of Energy||1:24.633|
|Ret||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||16||Out of Energy||1:24.150||5|
|Ret||27||Robin Frijns||Andretti Autosport||11||Accident||1:28.917|
|Ret||28||Simona de Silvestro||Andretti Autosport||9||Accident||1:30.475|
|Ret||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||6||Throttle||1:28.374|
An epic end to the season saw the title decided on fastest lap, with Sébastien Buemi snatching the title by just two points. Had the Swiss driver failed to capture the fastest lap in London, Lucas di Grassi would have won on count back, the Brazilian having had more third place finishes throughout the season. Nicolas Prost ensured that he finished in the top three, denying Sam Bird a top three spot on the final day, while Jérôme d'Ambrosio managed to complete the top five as eighteen drivers got on the board.
Prost's finale victory earned Renault e.Dams the title in the Teams' Championship, meaning they remained undefeated since Formula E began. ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport ended their campaign in second, the 49 point gap not a fair representation of how the Championship had actually been fought. DS Virgin Racing ended the season in third, just one point ahead of Dragon Racing whom had a strong end to the season in London. Elsewhere, NEXTEV TCR's final flurry was not enough to deny Team Aguri as they disappeared from the Championship, meaning the Chinese outfit finished bottom of the pile after the withdrawal of the Trulli Formula E Team.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
Videos and Images:
- ↑ '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)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 'London ePrix double header confirmed for July 2/3', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 20/09/2015), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/september/london-eprix-double-header-confirmed-for-july-23.aspx, (Accessed 26/03/2016)
- ↑ 'BUEMI AND DI GRASSI CHARGE UP THE ORDER, BUT IT’S PROST WHO LEADS THE WAY', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 02/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/prost-wins-in-style-as-di-grassi-inches-closer-to-title/, (Accessed 03/07/2016)
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 'BUEMI TAKES POLE TO LEVEL UP POINTS STANDINGS: DI GRASSI TO START THIRD BEHIND BOTH RENAULT E.DAMS', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/buemi-takes-pole-to-level-up-points-standings/, (Accessed 04/07/2016)
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 5.14 5.15 'BUEMI WINS TITLE AFTER SPECTACULAR FINALE: VISA FASTEST LAP ENDS UP DECIDING THE 2015/16 FIA FORMULA E CHAMPIONSHIP', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/buemi-wins-title-after-spectacular-finale/, (Accessed 04/07/2016)
- ↑ 'Tickets on sale for the Visa London ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 11/03/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/march/visa-london-eprix-tickets-on-sale.aspx, (Accessed 26/03/2016)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 'Race Results: Visa London ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/results/race-results/?season=2&round=10&view=race, (Accessed 04/07/2016)
- ↑ 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 'CHAMPIONSHIP RIVALS IN SEPARATE GROUPS FOR VISA LONDON EPRIX QUALIFYING', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/championship-rivals-in-separate-groups-for-visa-london-eprix-qualifying/, (Accessed 18/09/2016)
- ↑ 'London, UK - ePrix: Qualifying', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/results/race-results/?season=2&round=10&view=race, (Accessed 18/09/2016)
- ↑ 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 10.15 10.16 10.17 10.18 10.19 10.20 10.21 10.22 10.23 10.24 10.25 10.26 10.27 10.28 10.29 10.30 10.31 10.32 10.33 10.34 10.35 10.36 10.37 10.38 10.39 10.40 10.41 10.42 10.43 10.44 10.45 'VISA London ePrix 2016 (Sunday: 50 Minute Highlights) - Formula E', youtube.com, (YouTube: FIA Formula E Championship, 10/07/2016), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIYayuaajSY, (Accessed 18/09/2016)