Go, go, go!
After a few months of waiting that felt like an eternity, Formula E returned, and it returned in style.
NextEV teammates, Piquet and Turvey, shot off the front row like the 2015-16 season never happened. Sadly, it wasn’t the same for everyone. Di Grassi – who crashed in qualifying – hit Ma who subsequently hit Abt who had fallen to P10 and was about to lose his rear wing for his troubles. With no escape roads around, Ma took the next best option… the barriers. With his rear wing falling off, it was no surprise for Abt to be shown the meatball flag. After what was probably some angry team communication, he took to the pit lane. It wasn’t long until Di Grassi was pulled up for his front wing and was also forced to pit. To add salt to the wound, he almost knocked a marshal over when exiting the pit lane.
Lopez seemed to be enjoying a game of bumper cars in the midfield, finding himself being pushed around. That may be the norm in touring cars, but it was bound to end in tears here. New boy Rosenqvist took a spin into the barriers, losing his rear wing and pitting without being shown a flag despite his damage. Lopez’s touring car-style driving landed him heavily in the turn 3/4 chicane barrier. Out in the lead of the race, Piquet had no chance of avoiding him and hit the barriers in sympathy. In fact, it was such a light hit that he did no damage to the car. Fortunately, for the likes of Abt and Di Grassi, the safety car was brought out whilst the Virgin was collected.
Running out of juice
Bird found himself in p1 after his teammate crashed – no crashgate jokes here – but found himself a lap down after pitting. Running on essentially nothing, he made it to the pitlane with Evans having the same issue. When trying to pull away, the car wouldn’t get into first gear. When it eventually decided to work, he was a lap down and out of contention for anything.
The drivers in the top four ran the last lap with less than 5% of energy. But, after an eventful first race, Sebastien Buemi took yet another win in an attempt to protect his championship title. Di Grassi finished P2 – running on what was essentially electrical fumes. And Heidfeld crossed the line in P3 for a delighted Mahindra team.
The championship has only just begun but, if this race is anything to go by, it’ll be dramatic.