America hosted two very different flavours of racing over the weekend: Formula E’s all-electric cars whispered around the streets of Miami, while NASCAR’s V8s thundered their way around a one-mile oval in the Arizona desert.
Formula E 2014-15 round five
Build-up to the fifth round of the Formula E championship was delayed and shortened as work over-ran on the Miami street course. Once the work was completed, Jean-Eric Vergne took his second pole position since joining the championship at round three.
As usual the race came alive once the mid-race car changes began. Sam Bird dived past Vergne, only to run low on power on his in-lap. While Vergne dropped back with car problems, it was his new Andretti team mate Scott Speed who went on the attack in the closing stages.
Beginning the penultimate lap Daniel Abt held the lead from Nicolas Prost with Speed lurking. The pair demoted Abt, and in a repeat of the season-opening race in Beijing it was down to whether Prost could contain his rival on the final lap. But there was no repeat of the dramatic crash which ended that race, and Prost duly became Formula E’s fifth different winner in as many events.
NASCAR Cup round four
Kevin Harvick took his second win in as many weeks as NASCAR made its first of two visits to Phoenix. The reigning champion now has two wins and two second places from the opening four rounds.
His Stewart-Haas racing team mate Kurt Busch finished fifth on his return to competition. Busch had been given an “indefinite suspension” by NASCAR in Feburary after a court ruled he had assaulted former partner Patricia Driscoll at last year’s race in Dover.
Over to you
Next weekend is the 12 Hours of Sebring United Sports Car race and NASCAR heads to Auto Club Speedway in California.
Will you be watching either of those? And which races did you watch last weekend? Have your say in the comments.
NB. Video highlights of last weekend’s F1 race and F1-supporting Australian V8 Supercar races are not available.
Weekend Racing Wrap
- How a secret Mercedes engine mode helped pressure Vettel into a race-ending puncture
- Over 100 driver penalties issued in record-breaking 2015
- Part-time racer? The facts of Hamilton’s ‘jet-set lifestyle’
- A unique atmosphere: Going to the Italian Grand Prix at Monza
- The Complete F1 Fanatic 2015 season review
36 comments on “Prost takes Formula E win, Harvick doubles up”
16th March 2015, 12:37
I’m really starting to get into Formula E. Sure there’s some silliness I could do without, such as the fanboost and the music, and it would be nice if the cars were faster and the batteries meant drivers could use the one car throughout the race.
That being said, the race featured a healthy grid of cars, close racing throughout and a tight battle for first place. Not very often that F1 can say the same thing!
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
16th March 2015, 13:41
@kibblesworth There are things I like about Formula E. Particularly compared to F1 this weekend it was nice to see a decent-sized field of single seaters. There are drivers and teams with proven pedigrees. Hosting an entire race weekend in a single day, mostly at all-new venues, is ambitious and has some pay-offs.
But I’ve got a few hang-ups as well, and not just the asinine Fanboost. While the tracks so far mostly have interesting locations, several of them are quite poor even by the standard of street circuits.
The sheer slowness of the cars verges on comical. And having to swap cars mid-race because the battery life is so short doesn’t do the concept of electric racing any favours. I’d like to think that once they start opening up development opportunities in the second season they’ll make big gains in this area – it’s really what the series is supposed to be about, after all. But that depends partly on whether all-electric motoring really is the future.
16th March 2015, 15:04
Only 23$, for the whole Miami ePrix!
16th March 2015, 15:58
Unfortunately, they won’t open up battery development until the 3rd year. But they will open up all the other components in the drive train next year which could give them a 15-20% boost in range. Or maybe they’ll let them use extra power to get the speeds up with the same race distance?
But it will probably be the 4th or 5th year before they can do a full race distance with one car. I keep hoping they’ll stop the silly car swap and do a GP2 style weekend with two sprint races. They could actually manage those distances today. But I’m assuming they can’t afford to pay to shutdown major parts of downtown areas for that long right now???
Anyway, I have high hopes for the future of this series based on some good racing so far.
16th March 2015, 21:51
Couldn’t agree more… The sheer slowliness kills the fun for me when I’m sure they could have made them much quicker… I’ll rather watch 3 or 4 races of 15min each, but with cars going all out with 700 or 800hp, that would be a lot more exciting
Unfortunatly, like F1, this sports are driven by manufacturers not Racing Fans, so they want to build an image that electric cars have decent range… So they make Formula E cars slow, but lasting a longer. I would prefer short sprint races, but with A LOT more power
17th March 2015, 22:46
Well they are Renault power units….
19th March 2015, 3:42
All of that, plus the noise is horrendous. Sounds like 20 angry bumper cars, or 1000 forks on chalkboards. Most all, they are way too slow. I like how in the intro they are like , 140 mph OMG you guys! Wow. The whole car switching farce confirms that, barring a massive advance in battery technology, all electric is still the past not the future.
16th March 2015, 15:54
Totally agree on how much the Formula E has surprised me with interesting racing. The last couple of laps in the races always sees a serious fight for the checkered flag with AT LEAST 2-3 cars going wheel to wheel and some contact yet often clean enough that nobody complains (clear exception with Prost on that ham fisted move to almost kill Heidfield in the opening race finish).
16th March 2015, 18:14
@kibblesworth @keithcollantine I don’t mind the slowness at all really. I mean the whole grid is so talented and diverse that I’d enjoy watching all of them race shopping carts or lawn mowers. It’s important to understand that it’s the first year of Formula E and it will develop and improve, especially in terms of the overall speed of the cars. A corresponding electric racing series I can think of is TT Zero in the Isle of Man TT. In the space of five years since it started in 2010, the average speed has steadily increased every year, from 96.820 mph in 2010 to 117.366 mph last year. In its first year people were laughing at how slow it was, but now it’s unbelievably quick as you can see from the onboard footage. Although motorbikes and single-seater racing cars are completely different, I still think Formula E will similar to TT zero in terms of its steady increase in pace.
16th March 2015, 19:11
Great point, and I watch the Isle of Mann TT races religiously now. It’s become interesting for me to watch and see if the electrics can catch up to their ICE counterparts.
17th March 2015, 4:19
@insilico @keithcollantine I agree with Keith in that it is a tad to slow at the moment; I think that in order to develop it needs to pick up the pace in the next few seasons. But, as you point out, In_Silico, the scope for development is there and your comparison to TT Zero is an excellent one.
Point is, I can easily see this becoming a serious competitor to F1 in time. I can see it being more attractive to investors in the long run, both from an environmental standpoint and through a desire for a testing ground to develop new electronic technologies. Bit like F1 without any of the baggage.
Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty)
17th March 2015, 10:31
@insilico Agreed, even the F1 was called slow at the start of last year. But like F1, the races are done at a slower pace than qually – which is probably the best advert for speed. The race is then a longer distance economy drive in both, with a stop at a petrol station to boot :P.
16th March 2015, 12:56
I agree, the fanboost is disappointing, but otherwise I enjoy formula e. I like having to swap cars and teams having to gamble on how long the batteries will last, adds strategy to it.
I agree they could be quicker though. And it would be interesting seeing them at some proper venues.
16th March 2015, 13:54
@keithcollantine like others have before me in previous articles of this sort, I have to complain about the headline. The formula E race has only come onto youtube today and I was looking forward to seeing the race tonight. I had managed to avoid the result until checking your site for F1 news today…
I have no problem with the article itself but I think its a but unfair to put the winner in the headline and let the cat out of the bag to people in the same boat as me. Of course it was a risk to check the F1 news but I didnt expect the result to be an article headline… I dont see the need for that. We all know its not the same watching a race when you know the result.
16th March 2015, 14:29
@KeithCollantine I was just about to post the exact same thing as @brawngp also. Particularly for Formula E and IndyCar, I’m unable to watch these races live on TV so instead of streaming (which is bad quality and always buffers) I wait until the races are uploaded to YouTube. I visit F1 Fanatic everyday so if it’s at all possible can you omit the race winner in the headline?
16th March 2015, 22:55
@KeithCollantine Ditto. I just got around to watching the Formula E race this evening but had checked F1 Fanatic after watching the Formula One highlights on Sunday. It says a lot about Formula E that I still enjoyed the race despite knowing the winner though.
17th March 2015, 14:44
@KeithCollantine I feel the same, please keep us all informed but no spoilers in the headlines, as an Australian most of the worlds motorsport is in the evening or the early hours of the mourning, so I record most of it to watch the next day, the fact that you didn’t ruin the result of other categories was one of the original reasons I started coming to your site on a daily basis.
16th March 2015, 14:57
Being from Miami, I am disappointed in the layout of the track. I was hoping they would’ve used something similar to that of Indycar in 2002 or 2003 by Bayfront Park. That was a great, challenging track.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
16th March 2015, 17:59
@f1freek As I recall that also used a portion of Biscayne Boulevard so presumably the configurations are in similar areas?
Mehtab Ahmed (@t4bb3)
16th March 2015, 15:05
Kevin Harvick really is on a streak, it is quite early in the season, but if he continues into the Chase like this, he could get a back to back Sprint Cup title.
17th March 2015, 8:33
@t4bb3 Don’t watch NASCAR that often but 7 consecutive top 2 finishes must be quite the feat, no?
Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty)
17th March 2015, 10:32
@t4bb3 True, but a bad result or two in the chase and he’ll be out of luck..
Mehtab Ahmed (@t4bb3)
17th March 2015, 17:29
I know it is early in the season, and surely luck does play a bigger role with the chase system, but still it is quite a feat. I don’t watch much NASCAR but when DW and the other commentators are praising Harvick’s streak, and it is only bettered by Richard Petty if I correctly remember, it does say a lot in my opinion.
16th March 2015, 17:06
Is it just me who can’t stand the noise these cars make?
It’s like a cross between a vacuum cleaner & some one scratching on a chalk board… Both noises I have hated since childhood
Perhaps instead of fan boost they should award a hush-boost for the quietest car on the grid… After all, this series is about developing technologies for the future and sound pollution is a growing concern
16th March 2015, 19:01
same boat you are in, I can’t stand that sound either, it hurts my ears quite literally.
16th March 2015, 17:12
I love these weekend wraps.
16th March 2015, 17:23
Criminal charges were never filed against Kurt Busch. A family court ruled it was more likely than not that Kurt Busch committed domestic assault against Ms. Driscoll in order for her to obtain a protection order. That is not the burden of proof used in criminal courts in the US.
Will Wood (@willwood)
16th March 2015, 18:23
Can we just bring attention to what an incredible run Kevin Harvick is on right now?
That was his second win of the season and his seventh consecutive top two finish. Seven races either first or second. In one of the most competitive and driver-focused major motorsport series in the world where 42 drivers start each race, that is a phenomenal streak to have.
16th March 2015, 20:29
I can confirm this – I’ve been following NASCAR closely for a couple of years now, had a glimpse into the past history of it and this is one of the most dominant streak’s I’ve ever seen.
Heck, even two wins in a row is rather rare, not to mention a 7-race top 2 streak…
Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty)
17th March 2015, 10:34
A great streak.. and he won his 3rd start after replacing Dale Earnhardt. That makes me think of Ricciardo – when he finally got his chance he seized it. Give Ricciardo a dominant car and I can see him producing a similar streak to Hamilton and Vettel.
18th March 2015, 1:09
@willwood Yeah Kevin’s run is phenomenal. 7 consecutive top 2s has never been done since the 70s with Petty. And back then, less than 20 drivers even attempted to run a whole season. These days over 30 do. Back then, Petty drove for one of only a few top-tier teams (basically all of today’s NASCAR powerhouse teams rose to prominence in the late 80s or even later). Today, over half of the teams have easy access to a windtunnel and over half the cars were developed with shaker rigs and CFD technology. And, to make it even more impressive, Kevin has done it under 2 distinct rule packages, as the streak ran through the last 3 races of 2014 (2 of which he won) and 2015. The 2015 rule package means the engines make about 725 hp (used to be ~850 hp in 2014), the cars produce about 30% less downforce, and the drivers can adjust the track bar height on the fly. The cars do drive a little differently with those changes from 2014 to 2015, but it’s clear that he and Rodney Childers (crew chief) are far ahead of the field, and certainly primed for another run at the championship.
16th March 2015, 20:30
F1 video highlights is actually available via F1 Access – these kind of videos we will have to pay for starting from China (?), but for now they are available for free during the trial period of the new F1 website.
16th March 2015, 22:04
This is a brilliant feature, keep up the good work!
Formula E continues to surprise me. The Miami track was pretty terrible, but even despite that the racing was still pretty good. I guess the main reason for that is just the uncertainty in how to manage the battery life: early in the race things get a little stalemate-y, but near the end some drivers can keep pushing while others need to go into ultra-energy saving mode. And since the once up front have used the most battery life to get there, usually it’s these guys who need to watch their mirrors near the end.
Thinking about going to the race in Berlin. It’s about six hours of driving for us, but if we combine it with exploring Berlin a bit, it might be worth it.
16th March 2015, 22:07
Don’t know how I managed to type ‘once’ there, should be ‘ones’ of course :P
17th March 2015, 8:34
@andae23 I think a lot of that has to do with the fact we got a whole bunch of talented drivers in very similar cars, they’re bound to be close whatever the track is. Of course tracks with more overtaking opportunities will see more action.
17th March 2015, 5:09
Had a quick glimpse of Formula E last Sunday, it was rather underwhelming. Indeed the noise is a big factor in getting into the “motorsport atmosphere”. I feel like the track didn’t help, for someone who tuned-in mid-race, the whole circuit felt nondescript, and there wasn’t much overtaking happening. And yes, speed is a factor but being in street circuits somewhat negates that. I suppose you don’t want those things in Monza or Spa.
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