Gripping end to first Formula E race of 2016

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Weekend Racing Wrap is back for 2016. Formula E provided welcome relief from the tedium of the winter with an excellent race in Buenos Aires.

Formula E

Round 4 of 11: Buenos Aires

Sebastien Buemi almost won from last on the grid, where he started after a spin during qualifying. The championship leader fought his way through the field, aided by a Safety Car intervention when Antonio Felix da Costa’s car broke down, but Sam Bird had enough in hand to clinch his first win of the year.

Buemi retains the championship lead by four points over Lucas di Grassi, who he demoted to third with eight laps to go.

Previously in 2016: World Rally Championship

Round 1 of 14: Monte-Carlo

Volkswagen driver Sebastien Ogier began his pursuit of a fourth consecutive World Rally Championship title in ideal style with victory in the Monte-Carlo curtain-raiser despite early pressure from Citroen’s Kris Meeke.

Previously in 2016: IMSA Sportscar Championship

Round 1 of 12: Daytona 24 Hours

Scott Sharp, Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek and Luis Derani shared outright victory in an LMP2 Ligier but the GT LM class win was decided in dramatic style as the two Chevrolet Corvette crossed the finishing line just three-hundredths of a second apart. The win went to Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler.

Previously in 2016: Toyota Racing Series New Zealand

Lando Norris took victory in the second race of the year but after opening up an 18-second lead in race three (above left) he lost out by staying on slick tyres as rain fell. That allowed Force India-backed 20-year-old Jehan Daruvala in to win from 15th, claiming the historic Lady Wigram Trophy previously won by the likes of Jack Brabham,Stirling Moss, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and Jochen Rindt.

Ferdinand Habsburg put his low-level flying incident at Silverstone last year behind him by winning the opening round of the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand at Ruapuna, but hasn’t made it to the top step of the podium since.

Daruvala and Norris took a win each in the next meeting at Teretonga, where Nelson Piquet’s son Pedro took the other race win. Norris kept up his winning run at Hampton Downs but crashed out in the second, reverse grid race (above right). That left Ferrari’s 16-year-old Chinese racer Guan Yu Zhou to take his first win before Piquet added his second.

Norris won two of last weekend’s races at Taupo (below), stretching his points lead over Piquet to 86 with 225 available in this weekend’s finale. Daruvala took his fourth win of the year to go fourth in the standings behind Zhou.

Previously in 2016: MRF Challenge

Emerson Fittipaldi’s grandson Pietro claimed victory in the 14-race MRF Challenge championship which began last October. In a series crammed with junior F1 talent Fittipaldi out-qualified Adrian Newey’s son Harrison by three-thousandths of a second in the first race of the final weekend (above), and held him off while Mick Schumacher – son of Michael – fought his way forward.

Fittipaldi repeated the result in the third race of the final weekend at the Madras Motor Race Track in Irungattukottai, clinching the title with a race to spare. Tatiana Calderon finished runner-up in the points with Newey fifth behind Nikita Troitskiy and Alessio Picariello.

Over to you

What racing action did you watch last weekend? And what else have you had your eye on over the winter? Let us know in the comments.

Next weekend the World Rally Championship continues in Sweden and the Toyota Racing Series New Zealand concludes with the three final races at the Manfeild circuit. What will you be watching?

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “Gripping end to first Formula E race of 2016”

  1. I’m surprised the Bathurst 12 Hours didn’t make an appearance here. That was cracking (again). The Formula E was absolutely spectacular, and the Rolex 24 was also truly special. Certainly wetting my appetite for the coming months.

    1. Yeah Mount Panorama dutifully delivered on the drama once again.

    2. I’m also surprised it didn’t make the cut.

    3. Maybe because there’s no video highlights? I think Keith has said before that unless there’s a video it doesn’t get featured here.

      1. FlyingLobster27
        8th February 2016, 16:21

        Sportscar365 has video highlights of the Bathurst 12 here. Historically (albeit the feature is only one year old), the GT3 galaxy isn’t covered by WRW.

      2. there was a highlights video for the Bathurst 12h very soon after the finish on Sunday

        I guess in the end Keith as the sitemaster has the right to decide which other series he wants to mention in this weekly update, but logically I would have thought (maybe incorrectly) that there is more overlap between the fan base of F1 and GT3 than F1 and NASCAR (which is covered in these updates). There are also a number of ex-F1 drivers or people that were in the single seater ladder competing at the Bathurst 12h, like Bernd Schneider, Markus Winkelhock, Alvaro Parente, Mika Salo, Andy Soucek. There are more of these in other GT racing series like the Blancpain.

    4. Apex Assassin
      8th February 2016, 16:30

      Well this is supposed to be F1 FANATIC not GT Fanatic or Formula Endurance Fanatic. While I greatly respect most other racing categories, Formula E is a joke. I have no interest in it; the drivers are a bunch of “has been’s” racing a bunch of “never was’s” and that doesn’t even begin to describe what a joke the cars are.

      Anyway I just want to state clearly that I won’t be clicking on anything not pertaining to F1 on this site.

      1. …said the man commenting on a round-up post about other series racing this weekend.

        1. HAHA! nice one!

      2. Just face the fact mate, F1 is in a deep pile of mess at the moment. Unless they make big and drastic changes, I think it’s safe to say that Formula E is the future of open-wheel motorsport. Not only is it much more exciting than Formula 1 at the moment, but it is also using a renewable source of energy to power their cars. Oil is eventually going to run out. For F1 to stay alive in the next 30 years, it will have to become similar to Formula E or unfortunately die.

      3. I find it pretty logical that a hardcore F1 fan follows more series than only F1, I consider myself a bigger sportscar fan so F1 is almost secondary. Doesn’t mean I won’t visit the best blog around…

      4. Dear Apex Assassin,

        History shows us that racing seems to be inherent in the nature of man. It also shows us that this is a progressive evolution as we will race each other using any conveyance possible with ever increasing technological advances implemented at every turn. From walking, running, riding horses, camels, whatever to chariots, carriages, horseless carriages, bikes, boats, planes, trains, automobiles of all description, jets, etc. It never ends. We include any mode of propulsion no matter how plausible or impossible. This includes gravity, I.C.E., fusion, fission, hybrid, steam, jet, and yes, electric powered.

        Only tunnel vision would narrow down all this history, the future and the primal urge to race anything into one infinitesimal fractional segment of all things racing known as Formula 1. I beg of you, broaden your horizons, accept the inevitable. Many forms of racing will still be present in the future when F1 is but a distant memory. Prepare yourself while there is still time…


      5. It’s too bad that the world doesn’t meet your expectations, but at least you get to share your displeasure with anonymous strangers who are more open-minded than you.

    5. Various highlights videos from Bathurst here-

  2. FE race was just amazing! Buemi did incredibly well.

    1. Formula e was another enjoyable race. I wouldn’t say it was spectacular but it was close all the way through.

      I just wish they’d condense the season to have races every 2 to 3 weeks. I forgot it was on this week and had to use the useless itv demand website.

  3. Buenos Aires e-Prix featured great, clean racing from the start to the end with Buemi attacking Bird in a thrilling finale.
    Almost a classic!

  4. I wish I saw the race.

    I had begun to warm up to Formula E after following their first season during which one could see live races either on the FE website or online streaming services. But to my surprise, in 2016 the streaming services either on the FE website or Viaplay became unavailable where I live, only to appear on Eurosport.

    Unfortunately, Eurosport when it chooses to show an FE race runs series of commercials whenever they choose during a race making you wonder what you are indeed watching. I have found myself forgetting I was watching a race as commercials ran back to back.

    Now, the Buenos Aires race which I was looking forward to seeing, wasn’t even broadcast – at least not to my knowledge. Instead they chose to show Golf all day on Saturday after initially scheduling the race for 11 pm Saturday night.

    I think the FE organisers might kill off their own series before it gets a chance to be widespread by selling licences to private networks for a sport that people hardly know. In my opinion making the sport available on their website and other places at least for the first few years will certainly help it to spread since it is readily available. Since I have only managed to watch one FE race this year, I am fast loosing interest and I do not see myself going out of my way to watch any future Formula E races. I can recommend and encourage someone to pay to watch F1 for obvious reasons; but FE?

    1. What about the Formula E app? Also geo-blocked?

      Anyway, I thaught the race was only ‘meh’. Buemi went from last to second but all his passes were pretty boring: he just blazed past the others on the straights and completed the overtake on the inside of the next corner. The only guy who bothered defending his place was Sam Bird.

      1. @paeschli – Buemi’s very first overtake was on two or three cars at once and it was very close to being out of control, it really showed how hungry he was. I didn’t find most of the other passes boring either; good craft and control, a pleasure to watch. I get what you say about defending though, Buemi’s car really does seem to have quite a big advantage over most of the field. Even so, I really enjoyed the race.

  5. As usual sports car racing is ignored because a single seater driver wasn’t in the event. Why there wasn’t an update last week for the Rolex 24 nor a mention for Bathurst shouldn’t be surprising, but the fact that everyone here says they’ve had it with F1 but seeming ignore fantastic series such as IMSA and Blancpain is.

    1. @somethingwittyer

      because a single seater driver wasn’t in the event

      Not true. I did think about including it but I decided not to.

      Why there wasn’t an update last week for the Rolex 24

      I had an article drafted and ready to go expecting they’d have a video ready quickly, but by the time it appeared it was too late. That’s why it’s in this one instead.

      1. All these comments complaining..
        Ignore them Mr. Kollantine! You’ve got a great F1/Motorsport Site going here, it’s informative and entertaining! Keep up the good work sir!

  6. Buemi is absolutely smashing Prost right now in both qualifying, but especially in the race. Clearly, it is not just the car. Buemi seems at one with his e.dams Renault. He has incredible confidence in that car and to be honest, I wouldn’t put it past him to dominate this championship. Di Grassi is our only realistic hope.

    Interestingly enough, Prost is seemingly suffering from Webber syndrome at the moment. He was more competitive last season than he has been so far this season, which makes no sense because he has the best car this season (as opposed to equal machinery). Last year he took 3 pole positions, won a race, and outperformed Buemi on various weekends. This year Buemi has been dominating him completely. It is like Webber, who would win more races in a good-but-not-great-car (2009, first half of 2012) than he would in a dominant car (2011, 2013).

    1. @kingshark I said it last year and I’ll say it again if Buemi is spared of trouble (which is funny to say as he started last and still almost won) he will end the championships with most wins/podiums/poles/fastest laps and a very easy title.

    2. The real question about Prost is why was he so good right out the gate last year? Maybe he had some inside knowledge or added benefit in the pre-season. I know it sounds a bit harsh, but maybe the others just caught up quickly, thus relegating him to his natural position. You could say the same thing sort of happened to Abt also.

  7. Not a bad top 3 in the race highlights included for the MRF series (Fittipaldi, Newey, Schumacher). It was also nice to see another Piquet in the TRS. But the presence of those names does beg the question, do you need to have famous parents to climb the junior ranks these days?

    1. @geemac

      do you need to have famous parents to climb the junior ranks these days?

      I’m not discounting the possibility of nepotism (certainly their fathers’ connections must be useful), but if you think about it they probably chose this career very early, didn’t have to face the doubts a normal parent would have, and had a wealth of experience to learn from and literal wealth to get them started.

      1. @george – +1. Role model = highly successful close relative. Hard to argue against.

    2. @geemac @george @tribaltalker

      Plus some genetics as well.

      1. @geemac and @mike-dee
        I doubt it is genetics. You don’t see anywhere near as many sons of fathers becoming as successful in other sports where wealth is not as much of an issue (eg. football).

        1. That’s what I was really getting at @kingshark. The cash and connections that these lads have means it is going to be nigh on impossible for the sons and daughters of “mere mortals” to progress through the ranks.

  8. For endurance fans the season has started brilliantly (esp. if your a Porsche/Audi fan and a Belgian). The 24Hs of Dubai won by WRT with Vanthoor, the rolex 24Hs was an absolute thriller and the Bathurst 12Hs was just wonderfull too.

  9. Speaking only for myself, I find nothing about FE to be “gripping”, unless tires are being discussed. Internal combustion and the noise created is vital. And for those who think that petroleum based fuel is the only source for IC engines, think again. Alcohol is an excellent racing fuel, and is extremely renewable. FE cars are simply overgrown slot-cars, and we all know what happened to that fad.

    1. I don’t like the cars either, but I like the racing.

  10. Update: After watching the FE video again, I realized that one group of people has a very legitimate reason for supporting the electric cars; … the announcers, who no longer have to be concerned with talking-over the engine exhaust sounds.

    Now I’m off to begin recreating the “gripping” sounds of that race, by putting my electric toothbrush next to me ear and revving it. Sooo exciting!!

  11. Managed to watch some night hours as well as the final 3 hours of Daytona, and it was absolutely brilliant. It bodes well for the rest of the season. The LMP2s seem to finally have similar performance levels to the DPs, Mazda have ditched their awful diesel engine and are immediately on the pace, and even Deltawing were able to lead in the early stages before their challenge was ended by a stationary LMPC. And of course, the GTLM still provides some of the most competitive racing anywhere.

    I think IMSA will be a must-watch championship for me this year. It’s the only place where you can see factory-backed Corvette, BMW and now Porsche GTEs. The calendar features more races than the WEC, and more variety, with 100-minute sprints as well as the enduros, plus it is the best selection of circuits of any championship on the planet (well, other than Belle Isle). Pick the 10 best circuits in North America and you’ll probably have a list similar to the IMSA calendar. If it weren’t for the silly wave-by rule for cautions, I’d put in on par with the WEC. If you like the WEC and don’t follow IMSA, you really should.

  12. Noticed FE was on and gave it a watch, didn’t find it as much fun as some other FE races I’ve watched. But was very impressed with the way Bird held off Buemi towards the end… the pace advantage the e.dams had on some parts of the track was incredible but Bird’s positioning was always perfect, and even when he compromised himself on entries he seemed to get good enough exits.

    Liked him in GP2, glad he’s found a series (two, actually) in which he can impress and get paid for it.

  13. Is still there Fanboost in the Formula E?

  14. I’ve never really watched WRC before, but that short video was very entertaining indeed! Shows that speed doesn’t make everything, but driving up to the edge (quite literally!) does do a lot!

  15. Massive props to the Corvette Racing team for letting their drivers race for the win.

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