Sebastien Buemi is the new FIA
Formula E champion after clinching the title courtesy of setting the Visa
Fastest Lap during the season-ending Visa London ePrix on July 3, 2016. The
final race of the 2015/16 season was a controversial affair, brought about by
title rivals Buemi and Lucas di Grassi colliding on the opening lap of the
race. Buemi made a slow start from pole, and was rear-ended by di Grassi under
braking for Turn 3.
Bruno Senna of Mahindra Racing
who came second the previous day in London, claimed sixth position, ahead of team-mate
Meanwhile the incident
involving the top two leading drivers took the rear wing off Buemi’s Renault
e.dams entry, while there was significant front end damage to the Abt
Schaeffler car of di Grassi. Both drivers limped back to the pits so that they could
switch to their second car.
With two points on offer for the Visa Fastest Lap and both drivers tied on points, the championship now boiled down to a fight over who could be quickest over a flying lap. Both drivers – and Stephane Sarrazin - were awarded FanBoost, but the rules state that this power boost cannot be used to claim the bonus points. Waiting for a clear piece of track to emerge, the protagonists bided their time in the pits, waiting for the perfect time to get a clear lap. Di Grassi struck first, but Buemi’s response was emphatic. Di Grassi gave everything in his response, but fell short, leaving the Swiss racer to succeed Nelson Piquet Jr as Formula E champion.
There were three Qualcomm
Safety Car periods during a stop-start race, and the drama continued
after the flag fell with
third-placed man Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Virgin), Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra) and Antonio
Felix da Costa (Team Aguri) all being hit with time penalties for exceeding the
permitted energy limit.
This promoted Jerome
D’Ambrosio of Dragon Racing to third place, his team-mate Loic Duval into fourth
and Stephane Sarrazin into fifth for Venturi. Vergne’s additional penalty for
an unsafe release dropped him to eighth and the two NEXTEV TCR drivers picked
up the final points positions.
The weekend was a great
success with 42,000 fans piling into Battersea Park over the two races and
enjoying a host of eSports action and live music acts, both presented by Visa.
Now the teams turn their
attentions to developing their season three packages to ensure they’re ready
when the all-electric racing series sparks back into life on October 9 with the
HKT Hong Kong ePrix.
Following an appeal from
Dragon Racing regarding the Stewards decision relating to two penalties applied
to Jean-Eric Vergne, the result of the race remains subject to the findings of
the international Court of Appeal.
2016 Visa London ePrix (Rd 10) - Race results
1. Nico Prost, Renault e.dams,
2. Daniel Abt, Abt Schaeffler
Audi Sport, +7.633s (18)
3. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon
Racing, +22.524s (15)
4. Loic Duval, Dragon Racing,
5. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi,
6. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +27.174s (8)
7. Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing, +1:07.544s (6)
8. Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Virgin
Racing, +1:08.002s (4)
9. Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV
TCR, +1:14.270s (2)
10. Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV TCR,
11. Antonio Felix da Costa,
Team Aguri, +1:58.324s
12. Ma Qing Hua, Team Aguri,
13. Mike Conway, Venturi, +1
14. Lucas di Grassi, Abt
Schaeffler Audi Sport, DNF
15. Sebastien Buemi, Renault
e.dams, DNF (5)
16. Robin Frijns, Andretti
Formula E, DNF
17. Simona de Silvestro,
Andretti Formula E, DNF
18. Sam Bird, DS Virgin
Sebastien Buemi, Renault
e.dams - 155
Lucas di Grassi, Abt
Schaeffler Audi Sport - 153
Nico Prost, Renault e.dams -
Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing -
Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon
Racing - 83
Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi -
Renault e.dams - 270
Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport -
DS Virgin Racing - 144
Dragon Racing - 143
Mahindra Racing - 105
Venturi - 77
Andretti Formula E - 49
Team Aguri - 32
NEXTEV TCR – 19
(Source: Text & Pictures: FIA Formula E)
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