|2017 Montreal ePrix I|
The debuting Montreal ePrix circuit.
|Date||29th July 2017|
|Official Name||2017 Hydro-Québec Montréal ePrix|
|Location||Montréal, Québec, Canada|
|Lap length||2.750km (1.709mi)|
|Distance||35 laps / 96.250km (59.807mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Lucas di Grassi|
|Team||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport|
|Fastest Lap||1:24.536 on lap 19|
|Lucas di Grassi||Jean-Éric Vergne||Stéphane Sarrazin|
|Winner Team||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport|
|New York II||Montreal II|
His main challenger, Lucas di Grassi made the better start to the weekend, sweeping to pole to effectively cut the Swiss racer's advantage down to seven points. Buemi himself claimed second on the grid, although that would become twelfth when he was slapped with a ten place grid penalty, a consequence of a crash in free-practice.
A reasonably clean start saw di Grassi immediately sprint clear of the field, as title rival Buemi got caught in the swarm. The Swiss racer was too cautious on the brakes, received an unintentional swipe from Robin Frijns that damaged his steering, leaving him to limp around the opening lap in sixteenth.
Fortunately for those looking for a fight-back Buemi was able to adapt to the problem, beginning a slow climb through the field. As he did so, di Grassi steadily moved clear of second placed Stéphane Sarrazin, who was left fighting with Felix Rosenqvist for the second step on the podium.
The pitwindow was fast approaching when Buemi finally breached the top ten, a move on Loïc Duval securing the final point for the Swiss racer. Moments later and Nick Heidfeld tried a move on Duval, only for the Frenchman to push him into the wall, breaking the German's suspension while also damaging his own car. Heidfeld's attempt to get to the pits faltered, meaning a Full Course Yellow was thrown to retrieve his car.
With the race neutralised a couple of laps before the optimal pitstop window the entire field swept into the pits. Buemi came in right behind di Grassi's teammate Daniel Abt, and the two would come to blows on the exit when the Swiss looked to have been released straight into the German's path. Both then shot out of the pitlane to rejoin, only for Buemi to stamp on the brakes to avoid hitting a non-stopping Jérôme d'Ambrosio.
Abt would hit the back of the Renault e.Dams, but neither driver would face retribution for the incident. Heidfeld's car was cleared and the race briefly resumed as it had before, until José María López spun himself into the wall, bringing out the Safety Car.
Once Lopez's wreckage was cleared the race restarted for the second time, with di Grassi hitting the FanBoost on the restart to hold his lead. Buemi was waved past teammate Nicolas Prost early on, before Rosenqvist tagged the wall and broke his suspension, promoting the Swiss racer to fourth.
Out front, meanwhile, di Grassi was having to fend off Jean-Éric Vergne for the win, the latter almost taking the position as the pair started the final tour. Buemi, meanwhile, was throwing everything he could at third placed Sarrazin to get himself onto the podium, but a stout defence from the Frenchman would allow Abt and Prost to catch right onto the back of them as the final lap began.
Yet, there would be no late twists on the final lap, meaning di Grassi swept across the line to claim victory, and the lead in the Drivers' Championship with one race still to go. Vergne and Sarrazin claimed another double podium for Techeetah, while Buemi was furious in fourth place, picking fights with everyone when he stepped out of the car in parc ferme.
Unfortunately there would be a late twist after the race, when Buemi's freshly rebuilt car failed post-race scrutineering. A 4kg discrepancy in the car's weight was enough to see him disqualified from the result, meaning di Grassi would head into the final day of the Championship with an eighteen point advantage.
Although the title fight dominated the news ahead of the finale, there were two almost trivial matters that emerged in the final week of the season, concerning a future addition to the series. The source of this news would be Mercedes-Benz, who announced that they would be joining Formula E for the 2019/20 season, giving them three years to prepare their entry. The programme was set to continue alongside their Formula One commitments, and meant that they would face their national rivals Audi and BMW in yet another theatre of motorsport.
The second development would come on the even of the Montreal ePrix, when a fourth German car manufacturer opted to announce their intention to join the series. This manufacturer would be Porsche, one of the most successful brands in motorsport, and specifically in sportscar racing, a huge coup for Formula E, increasing the number of teams to twelve. Porsche, who would unfortunately cancel their World Endurance Championship programme at the end of 2017 to focus on their FE debut, were to join in 2019/20 citing their desire to improve their electric car technology.
Incredibly, despite not turning a wheel in New York, it was still Sébastien Buemi who led the title charge, although Lucas di Grassi had managed to get within striking distance, ten points back. The Swiss racer would therefore return to action in the first Montreal ePrix with a chance of taking the title, a victory enough to see him crowned if di Grassi finished eighth or lower without taking pole or fastest lap. For di Grassi, meanwhile, it would be a case of trying to beat the Swiss racer on Saturday in order to give himself a better shot at the title on Sunday.
There were two other drivers in the title hunt at the finale, although both were dark horses as the series rolled into Montreal. Felix Rosenqvist was one of those still in the hunt, although he would need both of the leading pair to hit trouble in both of the races in Montreal. Meanwhile, Sam Bird could dream of his first FE title although he, like Rosenqvist, would need a dramatic conclusion in Canada to see his name on the role of honour.
ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport managed to fall further behind Team Championship leaders Renault e.Dams, who could now win the title in the first ePrix in Montreal. The French squad now held a 65 point advantage, and with 94 still in play the German effort could not be ruled out, although it would take a complete collapse from the double Champions to see them fail to claim a third title. Mahindra Racing and DS Virgin Racing, meanwhile, were sweeping in to challenge the German effort for second, with the former only twelve points behind and looking the stronger of the trio.
The full entry list for the 2017 Montreal ePrix I is displayed below:
There would be no changes to the qualifying format ahead of the first part of the season finale, with the field split into four groups of five drivers to begin qualifying. Each group would have six minutes to set a single full power lap, with the overall order made up from each driver's best effort. The top five overall would then proceed to Super Pole, where they would have one shot at a full power lap on an empty circuit to try and claim pole position.
The opening group of the day featured the dark horse for the title, as Sam Bird headlined the quintet knowing he would need to take pole or his title challenge was over. The Brit would be on his own for DS Virgin Racing, with Daniel Abt and Nelson Piquet Jr. likely to challenge the Brit to get into Super Pole. The two Dragons of Loïc Duval and Jérôme d'Ambrosio completed the quintet.
Temperatures had soared since the prematurely ended FP2 session, meaning grip was at a premium when Piquet led the field out onto the circuit half way through the session. The mutual hold by the teams would spell disaster for d'Ambrosio, who missed the chance to set a quick lap at all after going too slow on his warm-up lap. As for the rest, Piquet put together a terrible effort at the head of the field, Duval and Abt missed their FP2 marks, while Bird failed to set a representative time as his Virgin refused to go into full power mode.
Nicolas Prost headlined the second group of the afternoon, needing a strong result to aid his teammate's title bid. Stéphane Sarrazin had the sister car in Techeetah colours in action, while the José María López was keen for a strong run out after missing the fight in New York. Completing the quintet were the two Andrettis of Robin Frijns and António Félix da Costa, both hoping to be a hazard to someone other than themselves.
Unsurprisingly it was the two Renault powered cars that shot to the top of the times during group two, although with Sarrazin ahead of Prost as both broke into the 1:23.000s. The two Andretti's meanwhile, sandwiched the group on track, da Costa heading out first while Frijns went out last, but they would fail to impress as they only recorded times in the 1:24.000s. Lopez, meanwhile, suffered an identical glitch to teammate Bird in the second Virgin, although he did beat the Brit's effort.
The third quintet was the main attraction of the afternoon, for the two major title protagonists Lucas di Grassi and Sébastien Buemi would go head-to-head to try and get into Super Pole. The third of the title challengers was also in action in the form of Felix Rosenqvist, who would need pole to hold any hopes of a title charge going forward. Jean-Eric Vergne would threaten to claim a Super Pole in the second Techeetah as usual, while Mitch Evans hoped to get a top ten spot for Jaguar.
First blood of the afternoon would go to di Grassi, an ultra-precise lap seeing the Brazilian go fastest overall, a 1:23.026 the result of his efforts. Yet Buemi could not be downhearted, for he was only three hundredths slower and second overall, with both looking set to go through to Super Pole. Elsewhere, Evans briefly got into the top five only to be bumped by Vergne, who was set to go fastest overall until he messed up the final circuit. Rosenqvist then came charging across the line to go fourth overall, leaving Prost on the bubble ahead of the final group.
Nick Heidfeld was the only big name in the final group of the afternoon, having looked strong enough for Mahindra Racing throughout the morning. The two Venturis were wheeled out for Tom Dillmann and Maro Engel, while Oliver Turvey and Adam Carroll were looking to beat their teammates.
As expected there were no major thrills from the final group, although Heidfeld cut a disappointed figure after messing up his effort, leaving him well outside the top ten. That opened the door for Carroll to finish as best of the quintet, slipping in just behind teammate Evans in the overall standings, meaning it would be the best starting positions for both Jags. Dillmann and Turvey both achieved their aims as they snuck into the top ten, while Engel somehow suffered the same issue that the Virgins had had earlier in the session.
First out onto the circuit in Super Pole would be Prost, who was relieved that Heidfeld had messed up his effort in the group stage moments earlier. The Frenchman produced a largely clean effort to record a 1:23.330, a couple of minor mistakes costing him time early on. Rosenqvist followed him out, but the Swede's effort was over the moment he locked the rear axle while braking for turn one, meaning he could only manage a 1:24.351.
Sarrazin caused a stir with an unusually uncontrolled effort, the Frenchman claiming a 1:23.179 to claim provisional pole. Buemi then hit the circuit and went fastest overall with a 1:23.065, having simply tried to keep out of the barriers. That put pressure on di Grassi to record a strong time or slip further behind the Swiss racer in the Championship, although the Brazilian would ultimately rise to the challenge.
After a relatively slow opening sector di Grassi put together the fastest second sector of the weekend, hitting every apex to perfection. An equally precise third sector and the Brazilian smashed Buemi's time, a 1:22.869 giving him pole and reducing the gap to the Swiss racer to seven points in the Championship. The news got even better for the Brazilian when Buemi's ten place penalty was confirmed, leaving the Swiss racer in twelfth, while Prost was excluded from the Super Pole results when his car was found to be underweight.
The final qualifying result for the 2017 Montreal ePrix I are outlined below:
|2017 Montreal ePrix I Qualifying Result|
|1st||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:22.869||—||1|
|2nd*||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||1:23.065||+0.196s||12|
|4th||8||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||1:24.351||+1.482s||3|
|EXC†||19||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||Excluded||4|
|1st||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:23.026||—||SP|
|2nd||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||1:23.053||+0.027s||SP|
|4th||19||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||1:23.232||+0.206s||SP|
|5th||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||1:23.239||+0.213s||SP|
|7th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||1:23.532||+0.506s||6|
|8th||47||Adam Carroll||Jaguar Racing||1:23.869||+0.843s||7|
|9th||88||Oliver Turvey||NextEV NIO||1:23.923||+0.897s||8|
|11th||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||1:23.999||+0.973s||10|
|12th||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||1:24.302||+1.276s||11|
|14th||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||1:24.769||+1.743s||14|
|15th||28||António Félix da Costa||Andretti||1:24.805||+1.779s||15|
|16th||37||José María López||DS Virgin Racing||1:25.239||+2.213s||16|
|18th||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||1:25.770||+2.744s||18|
|19th||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NextEV NIO||1:26.165||+3.139s||19|
|107% Time: 1:28.838|
|20th‡||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:36.580||+13.554s||20|
- * Buemi handed a ten place grid penalty for changing a battery.
- † Prost excluded from the Super Pole results after his car was found to be underweight after that session.
- ‡ d'Ambrosio failed to set a time within 107% of the fastest time in the group stages, but would race at the race steward's discretion.
The final classification of the 2017 Montreal ePrix I is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2017 Montreal ePrix I Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||35||0:56:55.592||1:25.130||28|
|4th||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||35||+8.592s||1:25.444||12|
|5th||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||35||+8.913s||1:24.904||10|
|6th||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||35||+10.058s||1:24.760||8|
|7th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||35||+10.457s||1:25.488||6|
|9th||19||Felix Rosenqvist||Mahindra Racing||35||+16.764s||1:25.982||2|
|11th||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||35||+20.229s||1:26.388|
|13th||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NextEV NIO||35||+23.145s||1:26.492|
|14th||28||António Félix da Costa||Andretti||35||+34.786s||1:26.106|
|15th||88||Oliver Turvey||NextEV NIO||35||+46.996s||1:26.311|
|16th||47||Adam Carroll||Jaguar Racing||35||+49.612s||1:25.400|
|DSQ*||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||35||Disqualified||1:24.978|
|Ret||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||26||Damage||1:24.536||1|
|Ret||37||José María López||DS Virgin Racing||23||Retired||1:26.128|
|Ret||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||13||Accident||1:26.311|
- * Buemi disqualified after his second car was found to be 4kg underweight.
- First ePrix to be staged in Montreal.
- Lucas di Grassi claimed his third pole position.
- Fourth pole position set by an ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport entry.
- Sixth career win for di Grassi.
- It also meant that the Brazilian became the only driver other than Sébastien Buemi to lead the Championship.
- Jean-Éric Vergne earned his eighth podium visit.
- Third podium for Stéphane Sarrazin.
- This was also his team Techeetah's fifth podium finish.
- Second fastest lap set by Loïc Duval.
There was a new Championship leader heading into the final round of the season, with Lucas di Grassi taking an eighteen point advantage over Sébastien Buemi into the finale. The latter's late disqualification meant it was the former who entered the final race as favourite, with di Grassi needing to finish fourth or higher to make it impossible for Buemi to overhaul him. Countless other scenarios would allow either one of them to win, as Sam Bird and Felix Rosenqvist dropped out of the fight.
Renault e.Dams had all but secured their third title in a row in the Teams Championship after Buemi's fourth place, although ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport were still in mathematical contention. Buemi's disqualification had made it slightly closer between the two efforts, although the latter would still need to claim a maximum score alongside a seventh place finish at a minimum. Mahindra Racing and DS Virgin Racing were engaged in a private fight for third, while Techeetah were best of the rest in fifth.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
Videos and Images:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 'FIA RELEASES REVISED SEASON THREE CALENDAR: DATE SWAP FOR NEW YORK CITY AND MONTREAL', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/09/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/september/fia-releases-revised-season-three-formula-e-calendar/, (Accessed 28/09/2016)
- ↑ 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 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 'Di Grassi take pole, cuts gap to seven points', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 29/07/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/july/di-grassi-take-pole-cuts-gap-to-seven-points/, (Accessed 29/07/2017)
- ↑ 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 3.19 3.20 'Di Grassi wins, Buemi disqualified', fiaformuale.com, (FIA Formula E, 29/07/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/july/di-grassi-wins-buemi-disqualified/, (Accessed 30/07/2017)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 'Mercedes-Benz to enter Formula E in Season 6', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/07/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/july/mercedes-benz-to-enter-formula-e-in-season-6/, (Accessed 25/07/2017)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 'Porsche set to compete in Formula E from Season 6', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/07/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/july/porsche-set-to-compete-in-formula-e-from-season-6/, (Accessed 28/07/2017)
- ↑ 'FanBoost opens for first Montreal race', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/07/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/july/fanboost-opens-for-first-montreal-race/, (Accessed 24/07/2017)
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 'Montreal CA - ePrix Race Results', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 29/07/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/results/race-results/season/2022016/round/11, (Accessed 29/07/2017)
- ↑ 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 'Di Grassi and Buemi drawn together for qualifying', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 29/07/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/july/di-grassi-and-buemi-drawn-together-for-qualifying/, (Accessed 29/07/2017)
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 '10-place penalty for Buemi', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 29/07/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/july/10-place-penalty-for-buemi/, (Accessed 29/07/2017)