|2016 Marrakech ePrix|
The Marrakech ePrix circuit for its debut.
|Date||12th November 2016|
|Official Name||FIA Formula E Marrakech ePrix|
|Location||Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan, Marrakech, Morocco|
|Lap length||2.971km (1.846mi)|
|Distance||33 laps / 98.043km (60.921mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Felix Rosenqvist|
|Fastest Lap||1:22.600 on lap 30|
|Sébastien Buemi||Sam Bird||Felix Rosenqvist|
|Winner Team||Renault e.Dams|
|Hong Kong||Buenos Aires|
Qualifying produced a shock result for the series, as rookie Felix Rosenqvist took pole from Sébastien Buemi, who would later receive a grid penalty for an infringement. Sam Bird would therefore start from second, although a huge accident for the Brit during FP2 saw his race put in doubt as DS Virgin Racing had to quickly rebuild his second car in time for the second half of the race.
It would be Rosenqvist who shot into the lead off the line, streaking ahead of the rest as he built a fair lead over the rest of the field. Bird quickly established himself in second place, as Buemi began to climb through the field.
The stops saw Jean-Eric Vergne get into the fight for the lead as Rosenqvist stopped a lap earlier than most, although the Frenchman's race was ruined when he was punished for speeding in the pitlane. Bird, meanwhile, had fallen to Buemi as the Swiss driver's charge continued, with the Swede the final man standing between Buemi and a second win of the season.
Ulitmately, Rosenqvist's resistance would be broken with six laps to go, Buemi sweeping into the lead as the Swede struggled with energy consumption. Bird would also manage to sweep ahead of Rosenqvist before the end of the race, although time would run out for the Brit to catch Buemi, who duly collected the victory to take a commanding position in the Championship.
The Marrakech ePrix had been proposed for the third season of Formula E as soon as negotiations for the calendar opened back in November 2015. The bid was accepted, with the Marrakech ePrix appearing on the provisional calendar released on the 2nd of July 2016, although the circuit layout was still to be confirmed. It would take until after the season opening race in Hong Kong before the circuit map was released, with FE using the same layout that the WTCC had race on earlier in the year. The press release confirming the circuit also announced that Formula E would be supporting a global meeting of countries in Marrakech, with the COP22 meeting set to discuss Climate Change.
Arguably the biggest news story to break during the break between the Hong Kong and Marrakech ePrix would be the decision of Audi to cancel their World Endurance Championship programme in favour of increased involvement in Formula E. The Ingolstadt based car maker confirmed that they would be taking over the ABT Schaeffler effort in time for the start of the 2017/18 season, although their involvement would actually begin at the start of 2017. Audi were quick to confirm that they would complete the 2016 WEC season with a full compliment of cars, with spiralling costs in the LMP1-H class rumoured to be the main reason for the switch.
Victory for the defending Champion in Hong Kong had meant it was a perfect start to the season for Sébastien Buemi, with a seven point advantage over Lucas di Grassi after the opening round. Nick Heidfeld left the harbourfront circuit in third, matching his start from season two, ahead of Nicolas Prost after their late race energy panic. António Félix da Costa and Robin Frijns battled well to start the season in the points, while pole starter Nelson Piquet Jr. found himself in ninth despite failing to score in the race.
Renault e.Dams were living up to their mantle as pre-season favourites, with Buemi's win and Prost's fourth enough to see them leave Hong Kong with a fair advantage at the top of the Teams' Standings. A nineteen point gap had been established between e.Dams and nearest challengers ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport, who were level on points with Andretti. Mahindra Racing were two points back in fourth, with NextEV NIO, Dragon Racing and Venturi also on the board.
The full entry list for the 2016 Marrakech ePrix is displayed below:
There were no changes to the qualifying format ahead of the 2016 Marrakech ePrix, meaning it would be business as usual for the twenty drivers. The twenty would be split into four groups of five before the qualifying session, with each group getting a six minute window to set a full 200kw lap. The fastest five overall would then progress to the Super Pole shootout, with each driver getting the chance to qualify on an empty circuit to try and take pole position.
The opening quintet of the day would feature two Renault powered cars in the form of Nicolas Prost and Ma Qing Hua, representing Renault e.Dams and Techeetah. Joining them in the fray would be José María López for DS Virgin Racing, António Félix da Costa with Andretti, and Jérôme d'Ambrosio of the Dragon Racing effort. Favourite from the group would be Prost, although he had not set a quali lap during either practice session.
It would be d'Ambrosio who set out of the pits first during qualifying, followed by Lopez, da Costa and Ma, with Prost hanging back to guarantee some space on the circuit. Lopez made a mistake on his outlap, locking up into turn seven and allowing da Costa to get through, just before the group started their banker lap at 170kw. Otherwise, there were no incidents to affect the first group, with Prost setting the fastest time ahead of da Costa, Lopez and d'Ambrosio, with Ma unable to complete a full power lap after an issue.
Championship leader Sébastien Buemi headlined the second group of the session with Renault e.Dams, with the Swiss racer already topping the times in practice. His major rivals in the group looked to be Nick Heidfeld for Mahindra Racing, and Oliver Turvey with NextEV NIO, both of whom had impressed in practice. Stéphane Sarrazin and Mitch Evans (Venturi and Jaguar Racing respectively) completed the group, expected to challenge for the top ten but no more.
Buemi set off first in group two, although he would not be the first man to set a time in the group. Indeed, Heidfeld blasted past the Swiss racer on the outlap to get ahead, before deciding to go for a full 200kw lap rather than set a 170kw banker. It would not be enough, however, as Buemi ended up topping the table, with Turvey also getting ahead of the German. Evans and Sarrazin, meanwhile, were already out of contention for the Super Pole, having failed to best anyone bar Ma from the first group.
The two ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport cars of Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt were in action in group three, looking to try and best major rivals Renault. They would be going head to head with Techeetah's Jean-Éric Vergne, a familiar threat for pole with the Renault powertrain. Completing the third quintet would be Loïc Duval for Dragon and Maro Engel of Venturi, who had quiet weekends during practice.
First out in group three would be di Grassi and Abt, sent out together to ensure some clear track for both of the ABT Schaeffler drivers. Unfortunately for the Brazilian title contender, the ploy was not enough as he was beaten by Abt on their full power laps, leaving him on the verge of missing out on the Super Pole shootout. Their issues were further compounded when Vergne went to the top of the order with a stunning 1:20.993, almost four tenths faster than Buemi, although they were in a better position than Duval, who had managed to switch out of his full power lap in the middle sector.
The final quintet would see Felix Rosenqvist headline the group, the Swedish rookie having been the only man to challenge Buemi during practice. Pole sitter from Hong Kong Nelson Piquet Jr. would also be in action for NextEV NIO, with Robin Frijns (Andretti) and Adam Carroll (Jaguar) also in action. Completing the group would be Sam Bird, whose entire weekend was in doubt after a heavy crash in FP2, leaving him with just one usable car during qualifying.
Bird would streak out of the pits first to lead group four, although Rosenqvist was quick to get past and go for a full power lap without a 170kw attempt, the same technique as teammate Heidfeld. The young Swede would, however, manage to make the ploy work and shot into second overall, a lap before Bird came charging into the top five, escaping a brush against the wall at turn eight, the place that he had written off one of his two cars. Piquet and Frijns managed to beat their teammates, the former putting together a clean lap to knock Abt out of the Super Pole shootout, while Carroll locked up badly into turn seven and ruined his full power attempt.
Out first would be Piquet for NextEV, although the Brazilian's lap would be ruined after attempting to carry too much speed into turn one. A mistake strewn lap saw him lose over two seconds to his group time, leaving him at the back of the Super Pole times, lucky to escape without damage after smacking a kerb. Bird went out next and put together a clean lap to take provisional pole, before Buemi took to the track. A small mistake by the Swiss driver in turn one saw him lose a little to Bird, but a strong run through sector two saw the Swiss racer claim provisional pole from the Brit by a little over a tenth.
Next out was Rosenqvist, with many anticipating a full out attack from the Swedish rookie. Yet, in contrast to his group attempt, Rosenqvist would be the very picture of calm during his lap, a very neat lap enough to take him to provisional pole, although he only be Buemi by a few hundredths. Yet, there was confusion in the pits as Rosenqvist shot to pole as Vergne sat at the end of the pits, looking at the pitlane light. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, Techeetah had failed to send him out on time, and so Vergne was unable to set a time at all in Super Pole, handing a maiden pole position to Rosenqvist for only his second ePrix.
The final qualifying result for the 2016 Marrakech ePrix are outlined below:
|2016 Marrakech ePrix Qualifying Result|
|1st||19||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||1:21.509||—||1|
|2nd*||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||1:21.546||+0.037s||7|
|3rd||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||1:21.686||+0.177s||2|
|4th||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NextEV NIO||1:23.879||+2.370s||3|
|2nd||19||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||1:21.175||+0.182s||SP|
|3rd||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||1:21.350||+0.357s||SP|
|4th||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||1:21.392||+0.399s||SP|
|5th||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NextEV NIO||1:21.651||+0.668s||SP|
|6th||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:21.725||+0.732s||5|
|7th||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||1:21.777||+0.784s||6|
|8th||88||Oliver Turvey||NextEV NIO||1:21.853||+0.860s||8|
|10th||28||António Félix da Costa||Andretti||1:22.073||+1.080s||10|
|11th||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||1:22.074||+1.081s||11|
|12th||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:22.081||+1.088s||12|
|13th||37||José María López||DS Virgin Racing||1:22.133||+1.140s||13|
|16th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||1:22.355||+1.362s||16|
|17th||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:22.681||+1.788s||17|
|18th||33||Ma Qing Hua||Techeetah||1:23.248||+2.255s||18|
|19th||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:23.933||+2.940s||19|
|20th||47||Adam Carroll||Jaguar Racing||1:25.695||+4.702s||20|
- * Buemi handed a five place grid penalty (and a €2,500 fine) for completing qualifying with an underweight fire extinguisher.
With Sébastien Buemi receiving a post-qualifying penalty, it would be Felix Rosenqvist and Sam Bird on the front row, the Swedish rookie making his first start from pole. With the weather remaining warm and dry, the slight climb in temperature continuing through the day, battery temps would have to be monitored throughout the field. Otherwise, the field was ready to go, with 16:00 local time seeing Formula E add Marrakech to its list of host cities.
When the flag dropped it would be the young Swede who lit up his car the best, launching straight into the lead of the race, with Bird wheel-spinning away into second. The Brit would have to fend off a challenge from Nelson Piquet Jr. into the dusty turn one hairpin, the Brazilian taking advantage of a slow starting Jean-Éric Vergne, who had Nicolas Prost and Daniel Abt attempt to go either side of him. It would also be three wide at the back of the field through the first corner, although everyone made it to turn two without any damage.
A slow Robin Frijns, up in ninth after holding his position at the start, would cause a small traffic jam at the chicane, teammate António Félix da Costa trying to get past as the field bunched up behind. That allowed Stéphane Sarrazin and Mitch Evans to try and attack Lucas di Grassi into turn seven, but to no avail, while Buemi and Prost went side-by-side through turn six, although it would be the Frenchman who remained ahead. With that it would be the end of lap one, with Rosenqvist still leading from Bird and Piquet Jr.
The slow speed of Frijns carried on into lap two, with the Dutchman still having to fend off teammate da Costa, who was under attack from Nick Heidfeld in the second Mahindra. Di Grassi was trying hard to take the German, fending off an attack from Maro Engel, while Evans got bumped to the back of the field on the run to turn one. Through to the chicane and da Costa managed to get a strong run and beat his teammate into the braking zone, although come the end of the second lap the Portuguese racer was three seconds off the back of eighth place Oliver Turvey.
Rosenqvist, meanwhile, was stretching his legs at the front of the field, Bird falling to two seconds back at the start of lap three. The Brit was still without a real challenge from Piquet Jr., who was battling away with Vergne with Abt looking on, while Prost and Buemi swapped positions into turn seven, the Frenchman not making it too difficult for his Swiss teammate to move past. Turvey remained tagged onto the back of the two Renault e.Dams machines, well clear of da Costa and Frijns, while di Grassi finally forced his way past Heidfeld, who would be nerfed out of the way by Engel at the start of lap four.
Heidfeld repeated the favour on Engel at turn three later in the lap, the latter running wide and into the dust, a drift allowing José María López to get alongside into the chicane. The German decided to dive on the brakes as usual, just about held the car onto the circuit and snatched the inside line for the second part of the chicane, forcing Lopez wide and allowing teammate Sarrazin to get a run on the Argentine into turn seven, a move completed by the Frenchman with relative ease.
Di Grassi was now on the march, battling past the two Andrettis as Heidfeld escaped the clutches of Engel and dived past Frijns into turn seven. Da Costa would be a stubborn opponent for di Grassi, although the cameras quickly began focusing on the fight between Piquet Jr. and Vergne, with the Frenchman closing in on the back of the Brazilian. Behind them were Abt, Buemi, Prost and Turvey, and it would be the defending Champion who dictated the group, diving past Abt into turn ten with an excellent move on the brakes.
Vergne eventually forced the issue at turn one and moved past Piquet Jr., with Buemi bearing down upon the pair of them as he set fastest lap in escaping from Abt. The Swiss racer was soon tagged on the back of the Brazilian, while Vergne began to put pressure on Bird, who was just keeping Rosenqvist in sight down the start/finish straight. Prost, meanwhile, had managed to force his way past Abt for sixth, just as teams began to think about the impending stops, although Buemi was on a mission and duly took fourth away from Piquet a couple of laps after taking Abt.
Suddenly, da Costa was stranded out on circuit, his Andretti car suddenly stopping at turn nine, with the Portuguese driver stuck on the inside of the track trying to get the car moving. Fortunately, da Costa was able to do a full restart on the car to drag it out of the way, just moments after Loïc Duval, missing part of his front wing, came charging past and had to jink around the stopped Andretti. The Portuguese racer eventually limped back to the pits, although with over half the race still to go, there was no chance for da Costa to take points, meaning the team called time on his race.
With the stops looming ever closer Vergne and Buemi were pushing harder and hard, the former managing to nose past Bird into turn one on lap fifteen, the Brit unable to hold on around the outside in the dust. They would run as a trio for the time being, safe in the knowledge that Rosenqvist was going to stop a lap earlier than them as both Mahindra's drained the batteries. Di Grassi, meanwhile, made a move on Turvey having been released by the retired da Costa, an excellent move seeing the Brazilian sell the Brit a dummy in turn three before slinging his car down the inside of the NextEV NIO machine into the chicane.
Ultimately, Vergne had to stop along wide Rosenqvist, while Buemi and Bird braved an extra lap, with Buemi pulling a stunning move into the penultimate corner to take the lead as the pair came into the pits. Most of the field would join them in the pits on lap eighteen as they battled in the pits, just as Vergne was placed under investigation for speeding in the pitlane. With the pit stops done it was Rosenqvist, Vergne, Buemi, Bird and Prost, Piquet Jr. having dropped down the order after an issue during his stop, while Engel was stuck in the pits with a major issue.
The second half of the race was rather more tame than the first, with di Grassi soon moving past teammate Abt with little resistance. Vergne, meanwhile, was just about to pounce on Rosenqvist when he was called in to serve his penalty, allowing Rosenqvist to ease off and try to conserve enough energy to make it to the end. Unfortunately for the Swede Buemi's charge was continuing and bringing Bird into the fight, the latter two having a laps worth of energy to take the inexperienced Rosenqvist.
With seven laps to go, and through strategic use of FanBoost, Buemi swept into the wake of Rosenqvist, waiting for the best opportunity to take the Swede as quickly as possible. The chance came on the long run to turn eleven, with Buemi turning the car up to full power and drafting past Rosenqvist with ease to sweep into the lead before the braking zone for the left hander, although Rosenqvist stayed on the inside for as long as possible. The blue e.Dams car soon sprinted away from the Mahindra, which was being drawn in by the purple Virgin as the race entered its final throes.
With three laps to go Bird was ready to pounce on Rosenqvist, the Brit taking the opportunity into turn seven, cleanly taking the racing line despite the Swede's best efforts to try and block the move. Vergne, meanwhile, had returned to the fray in fifth but with a lack of usable energy, the Frenchman was forced to allow the two ABT Schaeffler cars through, di Grassi sending a dive down the inside of the Techeetah driver into turn seven with a handful of laps remaining. As the two ABT machines went past Vergne, German racer Engel returned to the circuit after Venturi resolved his issues, while Duval disappeared from the track after running down the escape road at turn ten.
And so the race was run, Buemi cruising home to record a second victory of the season a little under three seconds ahead of Bird who was starting to close on the Swiss racer as the race came to its conclusion. Rosenqvist remained unchallenged to claim a maiden podium for himself, giving Mahindra their second place on the rostrum for the season, while Prost had a quiet run to fourth to double e.Dams' tally for the season. The two Abts swept home together for fifth and sixth ahead of Turvey adn Vergne, the latter's pace collapsing in the closing stages, with Heidfeld and Lopez completing the points. Duval, meanwhile, was able to claim fastest lap, despite disappearing from the track three laps before the end of the race.
The final classification of the 2016 Marrakech ePrix is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2016 Marrakech ePrix Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||33||0:47:40.840||1:23.663||25|
|2nd||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||33||+2.457s||1:24.173||18|
|3rd||19||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||33||+7.195s||1:24.579||18|
|4th||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||33||+11.586s||1:24.212||12|
|5th||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||33||+13.771s||1:24.340||10|
|6th||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||33||+18.233s||1:24.219||8|
|7th||88||Oliver Turvey||NextEV NIO||33||+21.710s||1:24.751||6|
|9th||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||33||+33.699s||1:24.861||2|
|10th||37||José María López||DS Virgin Racing||33||+33.863s||1:24.690||1|
|13th||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||33||+42.034s||1:25.914|
|14th||47||Adam Carroll||Jaguar Racing||33||+49.026s||1:26.725|
|15th||33||Ma Qing Hua||Techeetah||33||+50.433s||1:26.008|
|16th||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NextEV NIO||33||+1:15.452||1:25.091|
|17th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||32||+1 lap||1:24.982|
|18th||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||30||+3 laps||1:22.600||1|
|NC*||5||Maro Engel||Venturi||26||+7 laps||1:23.164|
|Ret||28||António Félix da Costa||Andretti||20||Retired||1:23.008|
- * Engel could not be classified as he failed to complete 90% of the race distance.
- Debut for Marrakech as a host of the FIA Formula E Championship.
- Also the first ePrix to be staged on the African continent.
- Maiden pole for Felix Rosenqvist.
- Eighth career win for Sébastien Buemi.
- Rosenqvist claimed his first podium finish.
- Loïc Duval earned a maiden fastest lap award for Dragon Racing.
Victory for Sébastien Buemi saw the Swiss racer double his tally for the season, a perfect start ensuring the reigning FIA Formula E Champion left Marrakech with a 22 point advantage. Lucas di Grassi, the Swiss racer's biggest rival, was the closest challenger, with Nicolas Prost up to third. Felix Rosenqvist used pole and third place to jump into fourth, ahead of Sam Bird.
The supreme team in Formula E were proving to be Renault e.Dams after another strong weekend, their weekend in Africa leaving them with double the points of their nearest challengers. ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport and Mahindra Racing sat on 36 points apiece, ABT Schaeffler ahead courtesy of a second place finish, with another large gap back to DS Virgin Racing in fourth. The only team yet to score were Jaguar Racing, although Dragon Racing, Venturi and Techeetah were all still in single figures after two rounds.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
Videos and Images:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 'From Hong Kong to New York: FIVE NEW CITIES FOR THIRD FORMULA E SEASON', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 02/07/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/july/from-hong-kong-to-new-york/, (Accessed 02/07/2016)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 'Formula E joins forces with COP22 for Marrakesh ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 17/10/2016), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/october/formula-e-joins-forces-with-cop22-for-marrakesh-eprix/, (Accessed 18/10/2016)
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 'Maiden pole for Rosenqvist', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 12/11/2016), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/november/maiden-pole-for-rosenqvist/, (Accessed 12/11/2016)
- ↑ 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 'Buemi magnificent in Marrakesh', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 12/11/2016), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/november/buemi-magnificent-in-marrakesh/, (Accessed 12/11/2016)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 'Audi commits to works Formula E programme', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/10/2016), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/october/audi-commits-to-works-formula-e-programme/, (Accessed 26/10/2016)
- ↑ 'FanBoost now open for Marrakesh ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 31/10/2016), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/october/fanboost-now-open-for-marrakesh-eprix/, (Accessed 01/11/2016)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 'MARRAKESH, MA - EPRIX RACE RESULTS', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 12/11/2016), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/results/race-results/season/2022016/round/2, (Accessed 12/11/2016)
- ↑ 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 8.13 'Marrakesh ePrix qualifying groups', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 12/11/2016), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/november/marrakesh-eprix-qualifying-groups/, (Accessed 12/11/2016)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 'Five-place grid drop for Buemi', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 12/11/2016), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/november/five-place-grid-drop-for-buemi/, (Accessed 12/11/2016)
- ↑ 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 'Marrakesh ePrix Race Highlights - Formula E', youtube.com, (YouTube: FIA Formula E Championship, 12/11/2016), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUZ3faWp4m0, (Accessed 13/11/2016)