Renault e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi made the perfect start to his FIA Formula E Championship campaign at the Beijing ePrix by claiming pole position and fastest race lap en route to a dominant victory. But it was also a bittersweet weekend for the French squad, which was forced to retire Nico Prost’s car after a rear wing failure.
Renault e.dams’ new-for-2015/16 powertrain again proved its potential during practice, qualifying and the race when both Buemi and Prost were able to post consistently quick lap times.
Although the Renault Z.E.15 demonstrated its pace in Saturday morning’s practice sessions, it was qualifying that cemented the team’s position as a force to be reckoned with when both drivers topped their respective groups and successfully made it through to the all-new Super Pole shoot out. While Nico held top spot during most of the session, it was Buemi that snatched pole position from his team-mate with a lightning fast 1m37.297s lap.
Swiss-born Buemi then enjoyed a practically perfect race by claiming fastest lap en route to his and the team’s first victory of the new season. Prost, meanwhile, struggled off the line, losing his second position to Mahindra’s Nick Heidfeld before Lucas di Grassi (ABT Schaeffler Audi) also nipped past. The trio battled throughout the first half of the race while Buemi extended his lead.
It was the halfway point of the race that would prove vital for the Frenchman as a flawless pit-stop from the squad helped him re-gain third from Heidfeld. However, his luck would soon run out when Race Control deemed his car unsafe to continue as a result of a rear wing failure.
Seb meanwhile went on to take the chequered flag and a first win of the season by 11 seconds from runner-up di Grassi and Heidfeld, who completed the podium after Prost’s forced retirement.
- Seb’s commanding victory, fastest lap (1m39.993s) and pole position helped him score a maximum 30 points.
- He therefore heads to Round 2 as championship leader, while Renault e.dams also top the teams’ standings.
- The squad will look into the rear wing fault that brought Prost’s first race of the season to an unfortunate end.
- Nico’s promising pace and performance throughout the weekend suggest he will be able to bounce back stronger in Putrajaya.
Vincent Gaillardot, Renault Sport Formula E Project Leader: “We worked hard at Donington so we came to this race feeling fairly prepared and had trouble-free running. That meant we were able to focus on race set-up and the drivers could make the most of their time on track. It’s a good starting point for us but we’ve also seen that some of the other manufacturers are not far off our pace.”
Nico Prost: “It’s certainly a frustrating way to round out the weekend. I felt like we could’ve fought for the podium finish, which would have been great for the team. We’re not really too sure what happened yet with the rear wing, but it seems something came loose and I was unable to continue. You know, this is racing and these things happen. I’m hoping I can come back with a stronger result in Putrajaya.”
Sebastien Buemi: “It’s a great feeling to win the first race of the season and be awarded all of the available points – I’ve never had that before! Everything was perfect; the new powertrain from Renault, the battery, the team. To be honest, in the race, I had a bad start but managed to hold on to my position and bring the car home for the win. After such a strong start and good haul of points I’m really looking forward to Malaysia.”
Formula E returns to Putrajaya, Malaysia, on November 7 for Round 2 of the FIA’s all-electric series.