This Saturday (24), the very first round of the 2015/2016 FIA Formula e season started at the streets of Beijing that wrap the construction known as the Bird’s Nest, the main attraction when the Olympic Games were held in China.
More freedom to the teams thanks to new rules, as well changes in lineups and in the track itself made all the interested people look to this race with certain expectations about possible surprises. In the end, the same teams that appeared as the dominating ones last season were in front, starting by the Renault e.DAMS squad which won thanks to a perfect drive of Sebastien Buemi.
When the race started, pole-sitter Buemi kept his lead on the first corner, but this closed the way to his team-mate, Nicolas Prost, and then the Frenchman saw German Nick Heidfeld breeze past him. After that, more specifically one lap later, he does the unadequate use of his brakes and loses the third position to ABT Audi’s Lucas di Grassi.
The first caution of the season occurred when Simona de Silvestro hit the barriers at turn 2, and when the Green flag came back, Sam Bird made use of the last straight to overtake Loïc Duval. Brake locking was a constant reality in this race, and Bird was a victim of that, letting Duval overtake him after some corners and going down to eighth.
Buemi continued to open his gap to the other competitors while Nick Heidfeld had to deal with di Grassi and Prost to hold the hard-earned second place. Further back, Bruno Senna, Heidfeld’s team-mate at Mahindra, saw Jean-Eric Vergne, Loïc Duval and Sam Bird overtake him in different moments. Vergne overtook Duval to become fifth, and with a huge group of cars right behind, anyone could lose a big chunk of positions with a little mistake.
Halfway past the start and the first four cars went to their pit-stops, with di Grassi taking second place, while Prost and Heidfeld came a bit behind. During the pitlane chaos, the second yellow flag of the day came with a contact between Team Aguri’s Antônio Felix da Costa and Venturi’s Jacques Villeneuve. The former Formula 1 champion kept his way in the race, while a disappointed da Costa called it a day.
Green was back again and Heidfeld was caught sleeping when Prost left him behind to get the third spot, and while that, current champion Nelson Piquet Jr. stopped on track due to problems in his NEXTEV TCR machine. Third-placed Prost, in pursuit of di Grassi, smashed the wall with his right rear end, losing a wheel-guard and destroying his rear wing, but still the Reanult e.DAMS driver kept his way to pass di Grassi, but race control considered too dangerous to let him continue on track and he had to stop three laps later, giving a podium on Heidfeld’s hands.
Further ahead, both Buemi and di Grassi, some miles away from the competition, Just had to bring their cars to the chequered flag, giving to the Swiss driver his first win the season.
Beijing ePrix – Results
The Formula e cars will be on track only on November 7th, as they continue in Asian grounds, moving to Putrajaya, in Malaysia.
PHOTO: Renault e.DAMS