The designer behind the livery

Edward Couldwell

 

Just as in F1, as well as a new season comes a brand new car in the form of the Gen2 and for Envision Virgin Racing, Audi’s e-tron FE05.

With an all-new exterior to contend with, and a new team identity, just how do you go about designing this and moving a plain, carbon fibre bodywork to an impressive, eye-catching livery. Well, at Envision Virgin Racing, head designer Ed Couldwell explains how he did just that…

Firstly, can you tell us a little about you and your design background?
“I’ve always had a wild imagination combined with a curiosity for how things work, so design seemed like an obvious choice. I studied Industrial Design at Loughborough University but was more distracted by rowing at the time! After graduating I worked on any project that came my way for a variety of companies before getting the opportunity to work at the team.”

When and how did the design process begin?
“Excited by the task of creating my first car livery, I started by playing around with concepts last December – more than 12 months ago – just having fun with it with no particular direction. At this point the Gen2 car had yet to be officially released so it was mostly guess work. One of the greatest challenges with livery design is the number of shareholders involved. This was no exception, so I spent a lot of time thinking about the strategy and purpose behind the livery, dissecting the various elements that would make it a success.”

What was your inspiration behind the livery?
“I wanted to create something that would celebrate our new owner, Envision Group, whilst retaining the spirit of the Virgin brand. I explored the architecture of both brands, as well as the role of a livery within the context of a racing environment, looking into what might influence a spectator’s perception of the car. I arrived at the silver half-tone pattern from looking at how Envision Group communicates its various technologies. This was positioned over the powertrain and represented a flow of energy contrasting with the team’s historic purple, not forgetting the accents of the famous Virgin Red.”

Were there many versions before you settled on a final one?
“Yes, over 150! Enough said.”

Did the final version on the car look the way you pictured it?
“Yes and no. The design was constantly evolving as we experimented with different ideas. Seeing the finished car for the first time felt like another step in that process versus realising the end product.”

And finally, were you happy with it?!?
“Yes, but as any designer will know you just can’t help but think of ways you could improve it.”

Envision Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE05

Sam Bird

Robin Frijns

The next generation

Having written about the business and technology in and around the fast developing world of F1 for quite a while, I realise how important it is to make sure you’re on top of the talent you must have in your ranks just to stand still. This is why I’ve been a keen supporter of the ‘trades’ as well as the current and emerging generations of engineers working their way (perhaps unwittingly) into the sport – these days to F1 and Formula E.

This has been particularly noticeable not just from my time writing for a wide range of specialist and national publications, including the odd book, but also editing AV Magazine (mainly F1) and Electronics Weekly especially with Formula E, as its BrightSparks programme (with the support of RS Components) encourages interest in electronics/engineering from schools and universities.

The diversity of some of the brightest people I’ve had the pleasure to be associated with has filled me with huge optimism for the future occurring, as it does, alongside (but not dominated by) the doom and gloom surrounding all the chat about Brexit from a very Westminster-centric angle.

Don’t be fooled. The future for F1, from an engineering perspective at least, looks very promising indeed.

Mercedes Benz to enter Formula E, pulling out of DTM

 

The company will conclude its participation in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) touring car series at the end of 2018 and enter Formula E for the 2019/20 season (5).

Since the DTM was founded in 1988, there have been 26 racing seasons during which Mercedes-Benz has won 10 drivers’, 13 team and six manufacturer titles (DTM + ITC – International Touring Car championship – combined).

Electric mobility is already of strategic importance to the company and this will only increase. Formula E offers a perfect platform on which to demonstrate the competitiveness of MB’s technology brand EQ in a racing environment, in the area of battery electric powertrains. (EQ stands for ‘electric intelligence’).

“Mercedes-Benz will market future battery powered electric vehicles using the EQ label,” said Dr Jens Thiemer, the company’s Vice-President of Marketing earlier today. “Formula E is a significant step in order to demonstrate the performance of our battery powered electric vehicles, as well as giving an emotional spin to our EQ technology brand through motorsport and marketing.”

Merging the formulae

Says Toto Wolff: “In motorsport like in every other area, we want to be the benchmark in the premium segment and to explore innovative new projects. The combination of Formula 1 and Formula E delivers that.

“Formula E is like an exciting start-up venture: it offers a brand new format, combining racing with a strong event character, in order to promote current and future technologies. Electrification is happening in the road car world and Formula E offers manufacturers an interesting platform to bring this technology to a new audience – and to do so with a completely new kind of racing, different to any other series.

“I am pleased that we were able to extend our entry option for one year to the 2019/20 season. This gives us time to properly understand the series and to prepare for our entry in the right way.”

Slight aside, but it’s important

Williams Advanced Engineering has received the Consultancy of the Year award at the 2016 British Engineering Excellence Awards.

Sponsored by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Consultancy of the Year is awarded to an organisation demonstrating innovative and timely solutions to engineering problems posed to them by their customers.

WAE has delivered on a number of high profile projects over the past 12 months, including supplying the batteries to the Formula E racing series, creating the Jaguar C-X75 hypercar for the Bond film SPECTRE, and developing the fully electric Aston Martin RapidE and Nissan BladeGlider concept cars. What’s more, the company has seen its Formula One-inspired technologies and know-how introduced into a growing range of sectors such as automotive, motorsport, energy, defence, and healthcare.

It’s healthy, and only right we acknowledge engineering excellence. Many congratulations to the whole team.

Mercedes to enter Formula E

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Toto Wolff and Alejandro Agag agree to reserve an entry in the electric championship for Mercedes.

Now there’s a thought…

I hear that Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd (MGP) and Formula E Operations Ltd have signed an agreement by which Mercedes takes an option to enter the FIA Formula E Championship in Season 5. According to the option agreement, Mercedes may choose to be one of the maximum of 12 entries to be proposed by the Championship Promoter to the FIA to enter the 2018-19 Formula E Championship.

Mercedes could take one of the two new entries that will be allocated in season five – subject to approval of the FIA – when the all-electric racing series goes from the current format of two cars per driver, to a single car for the entire event.

The current 10 teams in Formula E are all expected to continue in Season 5 and beyond, on their current format, or joining forces with other OEM’s.

Alejandro Agag (Formula E’s chief exec) said: “We are delighted to confirm that we have reserved one of our two new entries in Season 5 for MGP. Formula E wants to become the platform where car manufacturers test and develop the technologies that they will then introduce on their road cars. Having the chance to include in the future a brand like Mercedes our Championship would be a major boost to achieve that objective.

“Formula E is becoming an exciting mix of consolidated manufacturers like Renault, Citroen-DS, Audi, Mahindra or Jaguar, and new futuristic brands like Faraday Future, NextEV, or the likes of major component manufacturers like Schaeffler and ZF. Mercedes would be a great addition to that growing line up.”

And Toto Wolff: “We have been watching the growth of Formula E with great interest. At the current time, we are looking at all the options available in the future of motor racing, and we are very pleased with an agreement that secures us an opportunity to enter the series in Season 5.

“Electrification will play a major role in the future of the automotive industry. Racing has always been a technology R&D platform for industry and this will make Formula E very relevant in the future.”

Formula E: Di Grassi wins in Putrajaya

Brazil's Lucas Di Grassi (ABT Audi Sport FE01) celebrates on the podium with Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing DSV-01) and Robin Frijns (Andretti - Spark SRT_01E). Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT

Brazil’s Lucas Di Grassi (ABT Audi Sport FE01) celebrates on the podium with Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing DSV-01) and Robin Frijns (Andretti – Spark SRT_01E). Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT

 

Lucas di Grassi claimed his second FIA Formula E Championship win in a race at Putrajaya in Malaysia that was packed with incident from start to finish.

Even before the race had started Stephane Sarrazin was in trouble as his Venturi cut out on the dummy grid. With the Frenchman unable to take up his place on the front row alongside the Julius Baer Pole Position winner Sebastien Buemi, the start had to be delayed as he was pushed to the back of the field.

With no one directly alongside him, Buemi had a clear run into the first corner, and as was the case in the season-opener in Beijing, the Renault e.dams driver pulled away into a comfortable lead. But this would be no back-to-back win for the Swiss, as his car ground to a halt as the race neared its mid-way point.

With Buemi’s car stopped on track, the team opted to pit his team mate Nicolas Prost as this point, as he had also been suffering with his car cutting out. The early pitstop ensured the Frenchman took over the lead after the mid-race car swaps took place, but as he had to make his energy last for longer than his rivals, combined with his car troubles he was unable to prevent the trailing pack from passing him.

Di Grassi took over in second following the pitstop phase, but only because Dragon Racing’s Loic Duval suffered an over-long stop. The Frenchman had briefly held the lead following Buemi’s troubles, but was now behind not only di Grassi but the Team Aguri car of Antonio Felix da Costa too.

As Prost struggled with his car cutting out, di Grassi made his move for the lead. Behind them Da Costa and Duval entertainingly disputed third. Eventually both found a way by the Renault e.dams and Duval started to close in on the leader. But when a damper broke in the suspension of his car, his great run was ended and di Grassi was left unpressured at the front and duly collected the win.

“You can see how difficult the conditions were with the amount of sand I have in my eye, the amount of sand I have in the car,” he admitted. “It was an extremely tough race, mainly determined by battery temperature. But gladly we managed it better than the others, we did a fantastic job. The team in the background did a perfect job with the strategy and we managed to claim the victory and I’m now the leader in the championship.”

After a mistake in qualifying and a brush with the wall, DS Virgin’s Sam Bird started back in 14th. But the 2014 Putrajaya ePrix winner has an affinity with the circuit, and while those around him were having troubles he was able to concentrate on driving his own race, staying out of trouble and when Jerome D’Ambrosio crashed out of second place for Dragon on the final lap, the Brit inherited the runner-up spot.

“I’m absolutely chuffed,” he beamed. “This one is for the boys at Virgin – I don’t think that too many people know that before the race we were down in the dumps because I didn’t think we were going to finish the race because we only had one battery in the car. The Virgin boys fixed the car so quick, this is for the Virgin boys! If people don’t say Formula E is exciting, then I think they didn’t watch that race. It was carnage, but cool carnage. It’s a series that people should watch because that’s fantastic racing, it’s unreal.”

 

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Da Costa’s great run for Aguri ended when his car cut-out too, which handed a podium finish to Andretti’s Robin Frijns. However, the Dutchman was exceptionally fortunate to finish the race after clouting the wall as he made a passing move on the hobbled Duval.

Even though the suspension and steering were deranged, he somehow kept the car pointing in the right direction and crawled over the line for his first Formula E podium.

“I felt like I was a rally driver!” he exclaimed. “Duval had a problem in front of me and he also had a suspension failure. I overtook him before Turn 9 and I went in just a bit too quick and there was a lot of rubber and dirt. I was on it and I saw the wall coming and I said, ‘this is it, it’s over’. It was quite a big hit and the rear was completely bent, the steering was totally not straight any more. Right corners were fine but in left corners I really had to take it easy. But I’m surprised how strong the Formula E car is.”

Despite his problems at the start Sarrazin came through to fourth, while Bruno Senna took fifth for Mahindra Racing. Da Costa managed to get his car restarted and came home sixth, while Daniel Abt finished seventh for Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport.

Nelson Piquet Jr was again a FanBoost winner and kept out of trouble to score his first points of the season for NEXTEV TCR in eighth, while Nick Heidfeld finished ninth despite having been tipped into a spin at the first corner following a three-way tussle with Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Virgin Racing) who was eliminated on the spot and Jacques Villeneuve (Venturi).

Prost picked up the final point in 10th, while Buemi had the consolation of securing the Visa Fastest Lap and two bonus points.

After one of the most eventful races in Formula E’s short history, the teams and drivers now have a well-earned break before the series resumes in the amazing beachside setting of Punta del Este on 19 December.

 

quotes_news

Award for Williams

Formula-E-Battery,-WAE

 

Williams Advanced Engineering has been awarded the 2015 Simms Medal by the Royal Automobile Club in recognition of home-grown British automotive engineering talent.

The Simms Medal is only awarded in years when the RAC’s Technical Committee deems there have been contenders of sufficient merit. Williams Advanced Engineering has been awarded the prize for its work in creating the batteries that are currently powering the cars racing in the Formula E electric racing series.

The Formula E battery had to be designed from scratch within 12 months and to a strictly pre-determined safety cell, cool sufficiently, be 100% consistent from one team to the next (40 race cars plus spares), and last an entire season with no loss of power or performance. The batteries showed remarkable reliability in the inaugural Formula E season, with only one failure in 440 race starts.

Williams Advanced Engineering is only the eighth recipient of the Simms Medal, with previous winners including Richard Parry-Jones CBE in 2007 for his contribution to the automotive industry; Ben Bowlby in 2012 for his ground-breaking DeltaWing racing car and Lord Paul Drayson in 2013 for world record breaking achievements with the Drayson B12/69 LMP-type EV racing car.

Formula E meets Battersea: Saturday

Buemi takes victory in Visa London ePrix

Buemi takes victory in Visa London ePrix

 

The dominant colours at the first day of the Visa London ePrix, held in Battersea Park, were yellow and blue – those of the e.dams-Renault team, which thanks to a victory courtesy of Sebastien Buemi and a seventh place for Nicolas Prost, took the first ever team title.

This was Buemi’s third win of the season, following on from those in Punta del Este and Monaco and it means the fight for the drivers’ title is wide open again, given that series leader Nelson Piquet Jr, finished fifth, also beaten by fellow countryman Lucas di Grassi, who was fourth.

The first and probably decisive building block in Buemi’s victory came shortly after 1pm, when he set the fastest time in qualifying. Starting from what Formula E’s Global Partner christened the number one slot on the grid, the Julius Baer Pole Position, was the key, especially as the start was taken behind the Qualcomm Safety Car.

This decision was taken after Turn 1 had to be modified on safety grounds, so all the cars set off behind the pace car. Just as he did in Monaco on 9 May, Buemi soon set the pace and built up a lead of a handful of seconds, which meant he was able to run the race as he pleased. He richly deserved the haul of 28 points, which means not only does he jump up into second place in the drivers’ classification, but above all, he has closed the gap to the leader to just five points.

The only goal which escaped the Swiss driver was the Visa Fastest Lap Trophy, which went to Lucas di Grassi. Having started third on the grid, the Audi Sport ABT driver had to concentrate more on defending his position from his direct rival in the title fight, than on attacking those in front of him. There were some truly exciting moments in the duel between the two Brazilians, with Piquet trying to make the most of the FanBoost and di Grassi grittily defending, although it was not enough to prevent Jean-Eric Vergne getting past. The Scuderia Ferrari test driver, in his Andretti car, started from fifth, but was one of the fastest in the race, managing to pass both Brazilians.

Jerome D’Ambrosio came home second, racking up his second front running finish in the championship. Dragon Racing’s Belgian driver started from the front row and produced a really impeccable drive, taking a result that’s very important for the team which is still fighting for the runner-up slot in the teams’ classification.

Of the other points finishers, Sam Bird came home sixth, getting the better of fellow countryman, Oliver Turvey, the best of the five rookies, who took a strong ninth place. The remaining points finishers were all French: Prost seventh, Duval eighth and Sarrazin tenth. Just outside the points was Switzerland’s Simona de Silvestro, whose eleventh place was the best result for a woman driver this season.

The tenth race is now over, but there’s barely time to pause for breath: for the first time, a round is made up of two races on consecutive days, much to the delight of the large crowd of Londoners and tourists, who packed Battersea Park on Saturday, filling the grandstands as part of an overall crowd of more than 25,000.

Sunday is the final race of the championship, which will decide the drivers’ title. Yesterday, six of them were in with a chance of being crowned the very first Formula E champion, but now it’s down to just three: Piquet, Buemi and di Grassi. The NEXTEV TCR driver starts with a five point advantage over his e.dams-Renault rival, while Audi Sport ABT’s Brazilian faces a 13 point deficit: with 30 points to play for, anything can still happen.

FIA Formula E Championship – Visa London ePrix (Rd 10) – Results:

1. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 47:54.784s (29 laps)
2. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +0.939s
3. Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti Formula E, +1.667s
4. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +2.409s
5. Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV TCR, +7.370s
6. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +7.762s
7. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +8.553s
8. Loic Duval, Dragon Racing, +9.507s
9. Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV TCR, +10.032s
10. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +12.077s
11. Simona de Silvestro, Andretti Formula E, +15.946s
12. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +35.595s
13. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +41.034s
14. Fabio Leimer, Virgin Racing, +42.697s
15. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +43.273s
16. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +48.423s
17. Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, +1:01.987s
18. Alex Fontana, Trulli, DNF
19. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, DNF
20. Sakon Yamamoto, Amlin Aguri, DNF

Driver Standings (After Rd 10):

1. Nelson Piquet Jr 138pts
2. Sebastien Buemi 133pts
3. Lucas di Grassi 125pts
4. Jerome D’Ambrosio 95pts
5. Nicolas Prost 88pts
6. Sam Bird 76pts
7. Jean-Eric Vergne 70pts
8. Antonio Felix da Costa 51pts
9. Daniel Abt 32pts
10. Nick Heidfeld 31pts

Team Standings (After Rd 10):

1. e.dams-Renault 221pts
2. Audi Sport ABT 157pts
3. NEXTEV TCR 144pts
4. Dragon Racing 133pts
5. Andretti Formula E 119pts
6. Virgin Racing 106pts
7. Amlin Aguri 62pts
8. Venturi 50pts
9. Mahindra Racing 46pts
10. Trulli 17pts

BREAKING: Drama in Berlin as Di Grassi excluded from ePrix

Too quick for my own good. Race winner Lucas di Grassi has been excluded from the DHL Berlin ePrix after his Audi Sport ABT car was found to have been running with a modified front wing.

The race-winning car failed post-race scrutineering where it was discovered that the front wing fairings had been modified to include internal metal reinforcing rods. In addition the stewards found that six of the eight holes in the front wing had been sealed. The remaining two holes were found to have had helicoil inserts and chamfers made and that the front flap and gurney LH 220 has a filler layer added and chamfer made.

The team argued that these changes were made as a result of repairs and that they offered no competitive advantage, however, they were deemed to be in breach of Article 3.1 of 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Technical Regulations and the exclusion was made.

Audi Sport ABT has decided not to appeal the decision.

The decision means that Jerome D’Ambrosio is now the winner of the race and Nelson Piquet Jr is now in the lead of the championship, 10 points ahead of di Grassi.

So, after all that, here are the modified results, etc:

1. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, 48:26.566
2. Sébastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, +2.433s
3. Loïc Duval, Dragon Racing, +3.508s
4. Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV TCR, +3.975s
5. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +13.046s
6. Stéphane Sarrazin, Venturi, +13.335s
7. Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti, +13.678s
8. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +14.055s
9. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Trulli, +15.636s
10. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +16.602s
11. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +16.797s
12. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +20.594s
13. Scott Speed, Andretti, +21.149s
14. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +23.668s
15. Charles Pic, NEXTEV TCR, +25.491s
16. Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, +44.137s
17. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +46.257s
18. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +52.703s
19. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +2 laps
EXC Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT

Driver Standings
Nelson Piquet Jr – 103
Sébastien Buemi – 101
Lucas di Grassi – 93
Nicolas Prost – 78
Jerome D’Ambrosio – 77
Sam Bird – 68
Antonio Felix da Costa – 45
Jean-Eric Vergne – 40
Jaime Alguersuari – 30
Bruno Senna – 28

Team Standings
e.dams-Renault – 179
Dragon Racing – 116
Audi Sport ABT – 115
NEXTEV TCR – 107
Virgin Racing – 98
Andretti – 88
Amlin Aguri – 48
Mahindra Racing – 46
Venturi – 34
Trulli – 17

Formula E: Di Grassi wins on ABT’s home turf

 

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Brazilian driver Lucas di Grassi took a dominant win in the first ever DHL Berlin ePrix. This was his second win of the season, the first having come in Beijing on 13 September last year, at the inaugural Formula E race. This time, the victory came at the home race for his team, Audi Sport ABT. Behind di Grassi came Jerome D’Ambrosio in second place, the Belgian thus securing his first podium of the season. Third was the Monaco ePrix winner, Sebastien Buemi; the Swiss driver thus making it four top-three finishes.

Thanks to today’s victory, di Grassi consolidates his lead in the drivers’ classification, extending it to 17 points over Nelson Piquet Jr, who finished fifth. Nelsinho scored the 10 points that come with that position, plus the two that go with taking the Visa Fastest Lap Trophy. In the teams’ classification, Audi Sport ABT has closed the gap to e.dams-Renault down to 35 points (140 to 175.) Dragon Racing now moves up into third place: the 30 points picked up by D’Ambrosio and Loic Duval (fourth) means that in one go, the team moves ahead of Virgin Racing and NEXTEV TCR.

Just as in Monaco, here too, in the iconic setting of Tempelhof airport, a large enthusiastic and inquisitive crowd turned up to see the first race for electric single-seaters to be held in Germany – 21,000 of them attending the event, which ended with a concert from DJ Felix Jaehn, currently topping the German charts.

2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship. Formula E Race. Berlin e-Prix, Berlin, Germany, Europe. Saturday 23 May 2015 Photo: Adam Warner/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _L5R8398

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Qualifying threw up a big surprise, with Jarno Trulli securing an unexpected, but well deserved pole position. Running in the first group, the Italian made himself at home in the seat destined for the fastest driver in the FIA garage and stayed there right to the end, when it was time for the media interviews. At the start, Jarno managed to keep ahead of di Grassi, but the Brazilian pounced when the Italian made a mistake at the second corner and took the lead. From then on, the Audi Sport ABT driver had a pretty solitary race. Trulli, who was already beginning to struggle with energy management, kept everyone behind him for the first five laps, before dropping back, but in the meantime, Lucas had already built up a lead of around 10 seconds, which meant he was able to manage the race from then on.

On lap 10, Buemi was second, with Nick Heidfeld and D’Ambrosio behind him. By lap 17, 18 drivers had pitted to change cars: only the NEXTEV TCR pair stayed out for one further lap. After the run of stops, di Grassi still had a comfortable lead, while D’Ambrosio managed to get past Buemi in the pits, to move up to second.

2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship. First Practice. Berlin e-Prix, Berlin, Germany, Europe. Saturday 23 May 2015 Photo: Adam Warner/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _A8C7713

2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship. Jarno Trulli (ITA)/Trulli Racing - Spark-Renault SRT_01E and Alain Prost. Formula E Race. Berlin e-Prix, Berlin, Germany, Europe. Saturday 23 May 2015 Photo: Adam Warner/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _L5R8285

Jarno Trulli, Trulli Racing – Spark-Renault (right) and Alain Prost (left).

The Swiss had to focus more on fending off Heidfeld than on attacking D’Ambrosio, at least up until the German Venturi team driver had to slow the pace. The final laps saw the top three manage the situation easily enough, while behind them Piquet was fighting back, with his usual ability to be a protagonist in the closing stages, thanks to his skill in managing the remaining energy in the best way possible. The Brazilian had struggled in qualifying (13th on the grid) but managed to secure a fifth place that means he is still in the hunt for the title.

While he was first past the chequered flag, di Grassi was last to come back to the pits, because his car stopped on track with a technical problem: it meant he had to wait just a little bit longer before being greeted by his team as they celebrated this important win.

The inaugural Formula E season is now on the home straight. After the German capital, it will be the turn of the Russian one, which hosts the Moscow ePrix on 6 June, against the backdrop of the walls of the Kremlin itself.

2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship. First Practice. Berlin e-Prix, Berlin, Germany, Europe. Saturday 23 May 2015 Photo: Adam Warner/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _A8C7752

2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship. Berlin ePrix, Berlin Tempelhof Airport, Germany. Saturday 23 May 2015 Photo: Andrew Ferraro/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _FER0099

FIA Formula E Championship – DHL Berlin ePrix (Rd 8) – Race results:

1. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, 48:18.890
2. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +7.586s
3. Sébastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, +10.019s
4. Loïc Duval, Dragon Racing, +11.094s
5. Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV TCR, +11.561s
6. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +20.632s
7. Stéphane Sarrazin, Venturi, +20.921s
8. Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti, ++21.264s
9. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +21.641s
10. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Trulli, +23.222s
11. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +24.188s
12. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +24.833s
13. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +28.180s
14. Scott Speed, Andretti, +28.735s
15. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +31.274s
16. Charles Pic, NEXTEV TCR, +33.077s
17. Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, +51.743s
18. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +53.843s
19. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +1:00.289s
20. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +2 laps

Driver Standings
Lucas di Grassi – 118
Nelson Piquet Jr – 101
Sébastien Buemi – 98
Nicolas Prost – 77
Jerome D’Ambrosio – 70
Sam Bird – 66
Antonio Felix da Costa – 45
Jean-Eric Vergne – 34
Jaime Alguersuari – 30
Bruno Senna – 28

Team Standings
e.dams-Renault – 175
Audi Sport ABT – 140
Dragon Racing – 106
NEXTEV TCR – 105
Virgin Racing – 96
Andretti – 86
Amlin Aguri – 48
Mahindra Racing – 46
Venturi – 30
Trulli – 16

Buemi wins in Formula E

Buemi on the top step of the podium in Monaco.

Buemi (centre) on the top step of the podium in Monaco.

 

Today, Sebastien Buemi became the first driver to secure two wins in the FIA Formula E Championship. The Swiss driver won the first ever race of the series to be held in Europe, adding to his previous victory in Punta del Este. It was also the third win for a driver from the e.dams-Renault team, as Nico Prost had come out on top in Miami, thus extending its lead in the teams’ standings.

The race drew a great crowd of around 23,000 spectators which packed the free grandstands and the hospitality areas.

Earlier in the day, Buemi secured pole ahead of championship leader Lucas di Grassi, while Jerome D’Ambrosio and Nelson Piquet Jr lapped fast enough to secure spots on the second row. But it was the race itself that reserved the real thrills and excitement. When the race was only a few seconds old, the leaders managed to escape unharmed, but behind them there was carnage of epic proportions, triggered by Daniel Abt, with a host of drivers involved – Bruno Senna, Jean-Eric Vergne, Loic Duval, Salvador Duran and Vitantonio Liuzzi – while Jaime Alguersuari had already been knocked out before the first corner.

The Qualcomm Safety Car made an immediate appearance and while the extremely efficient Automobile Club de Monaco marshals removed the Brazilian’s and the Spaniard’s cars, the others managed to make their way back to the pits and switch to their second cars, even though in fact their races were irrevocably compromised. At the restart, a lead group developed consisting of Buemi, with di Grassi on his tail, followed by D’Ambrosio, Piquet, Stephane Sarrazin, Nicolas Prost and Sam Bird.

On lap six, the NEXTEV TCR Brazilian made the most of the FanBoost and overtook the Belgian Dragon driver with a super move at Turn 3, to go third. In front, di Grassi stayed in Buemi’s slipstream, but never found the right moment to get past and so decided to pit early on lap 25, going for an undercut. The move didn’t work but only by a few hundredths because Buemi, who had stayed out on track along with Piquet, managed to stay in the lead fending off the attacking move from di Grassi in his Audi Sport ABT car around the outside of the Harbour Hairpin.

In the second stint, di Grassi first tried to stay with Buemi, although he knew the Swiss driver had more energy available, but then had his mirrors full of Piquet with whom he duelled for the lead in the championship. In the end, despite huge efforts from the Long Beach winner, it was di Grassi who came off best in this all-Brazilian battle, crossing the line just over two seconds down on Buemi, while in the closing stages Piquet had to defend from Bird, who tried his utmost to get a foot on the podium at the very last.

Behind the top four, the rest of the points went to D’Ambrosio, Prost, Sarrazin, Charles Pic, Antonio Felix da Costa and Nick Heidfeld, while Scott Speed, eighth at the flag, was dropped back to 12th, right behind Jarno Trulli and ahead of Karun Chandhok.

Not seeing the flag, but making his mark on the event, was Vergne, who set the fastest lap. He did it in 55.157s, thanks partly to his FanBoost, which was worth two points to the Frenchman, as well as the Visa Fastest Lap Award. It’s the first time this award has been given, a partnership between Formula E and the electronic payment services provider.

After seven races, Lucas di Grassi still leads the drivers’ classification on 93 points, four more than Nelson Piquet Jr. Today’s win puts Buemi back in the hunt for the title: the Swiss driver is third on 83 points, six more than team-mate Prost.

In the teams’ classification, e.dams-Renault has made a significant step forward, the French team now has a 45 point lead over Audi Sport ABT (160 to 115) while Virgin Racing has closed up even further to NEXTEV TCR (94 to 93.) Among the results, worthy of note is the fact the Venturi team managed to get both its drivers into the points at this its home race with Sarrazin seventh and Heidfeld 10th.

The historic venue of Monaco kicked off the European part of the Formula E season and now there are new settings to explore. The next round, the DHL Berlin ePrix, takes place in a fortnight, on 23 May at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport.

FIA Formula E Championship – Monaco ePrix (Rd 7) – Race results:
1. Sébastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 48m05s225
2. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +2.154s
3. Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV TCR, +4.634s
4. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +4.801s
5. Jerome D’Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +5.881
6. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +11.032s
7. Stéphane Sarrazin, Venturi, +26.472s
8. Charles Pic, NEXTEV TCR, +49.538s
9. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +52.658s
10. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +52.936s
11. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +58.984s
12. Scott Speed, Andretti, +1m14.138s
13. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +1 lap
NC Vitantonio Liuzzi, Trulli, DNF
NC Jean-Eric Vergne, Andretti , DNF
NC Salvador Duran, Amlin Aguri, DNF
NC Loïc Duval, Dragon Racing, DNF
NC Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, DNF
NC Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, DNF
NC Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, DNF

Driver Standings
Lucas di Grassi – 93
Nelson Piquet Jr – 89
Sébastien Buemi – 83
Nicolas Prost – 77
Sam Bird – 64
Jerome D’Ambrosio – 52
Antonio Felix da Costa – 45
Jean-Eric Vergne – 34
Jaime Alguersuari – 30
Bruno Senna – 28

Team Standings
e.dams-Renault – 160
Audi Sport ABT – 115
Virgin Racing – 94
NEXTEV TCR – 93
Andretti – 82
Dragon Racing – 76
Amlin Aguri – 48
Mahindra Racing – 46
Venturi – 16
Trulli – 12

London Formula E race gets green light

 

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Following a decision by Wandsworth Council, the London race of the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship has received planning approval to be held within the grounds of Battersea Park.

The London ePrix will also encompass two separate races – Rounds 10 and 11 – on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 June, increasing the inaugural calendar by one additional race.

In addition to the Formula E action, spectators will also get to enjoy the championship’s support race – the FE School Series – which sees children from 10 local schools compete in self-assembled electric kit cars around the full-size race track. Organised by UK charity Greenpower, the series aims to inspire young people to develop careers in engineering and sustainability.

Round 5 Miami ePrix, USA, 14 March 2015
Round 6 Long Beach ePrix, US, 4 April 2015
Round 7 Monaco ePrix, Monaco, 9 May 2015
Round 8 Berlin ePrix, Germany, 23 May 2015
Round 9 Moscow ePrix, Russia, 6 June 2015*
Round 10 London ePrix, UK 27 June 2015*
Round 11 London ePrix, UK 28 June 2015*

* Circuit layout remains subject to FIA approval and track homologation.

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