Formula E, Hong Kong, 2016

Formula E returns while protest sours Bathurst 1000

Weekend Racing Wrap

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Hong Kong hosted a round of the Formula E championship for the first time as it opened the third season of the all-electric racing series.

Elsewhere the on-the-road winner of the famous Bathurst 1000 was penalised thereby losing the victory, while the first ’round of 12′ race in the chase for the NASCAR sprint car was delayed for a day due to Hurricane Matthew.

Formula E

Race 1 of 12: Hong Kong

Season three of Formula E kicked off in Hong Kong with new drivers and teams in the field but the race was won by last year’s champion and the first champion started from pole position. Sebastien Buemi took victory ahead of former title rival Lucas di Grassi. Starting from fifth, a shrewd strategy from the eDAMS Renault team took him to the top in a fraught race.

2014-15 champion Nelson Piquet Jnr took pole and held a four-second lead at one stage. NextEV team mate Oliver Turvey, who he shared the front row with, held second for the first portion of the race until Sam Bird passed him. World Touring Car champion Jose Maria Lopez qualified in third in his first single seater race since 2005 but tumbled down the order after contact with team mate Bird, and eventually crashed in the turn three chicane on lap 14. Leader Piquet was just behind Lopez at this point and tapped the barriers as he dodged the incident before rejoining in third position.

This began a Safety Car period which lasted long enough for some drivers to make their mandatory car changes. Buemi was among the six drivers to pit, gambling on long stints in their second cars. Buemi rejoined behind Di Grassi, who was on an aggressive power-saving strategy after pitting having lost part of his front wing early on, but quickly got past. Bird was leading at this point, but his race was ruined when his second car wouldn’t start in the pits, and Piquet’s post-Safety Car stop dropped him to ninth.

At the front Buemi and Di Grassi eked out their power while Nick Heidfeld rose to third. Nicolas Prost took fourth, while the late-pitting Andretti team mates Antonio Felix da Costa and Robin Frijns used their energy advantages to rocket up the order fifth and sixth respectively. Jaguar didn’t score on its return to top-line motorsport, with Adam Carroll their only finisher in 12th. Next up for Formula E is a debut in Morocco in November.

V8 Supercars

Race 21 of 29: Bathurst

Will Davison and Jonathon Webb won the Bathurst 1000 despite not leading a single of the race’s 161 laps. Jamie Whincup and co-driver Paul Dumbrell crossed the line first but were penalised 15 seconds after contact with the Garth Tander/Scott McLaughlin. That dropped Davison and Webb to 11th in the classification, but their Triple Eight team are contesting the penalty.

The Holden driver’s penalty meant the race saw the closest finish in the history of the 1,000 kilometre classic. The Davison/Webb car, which started 17th, crossed the line just 0.1434s ahead of Shane van Gisbergen in the car he shared with Lewis Hamilton’s former GP2 team mate Alexandre Premat.


Race 30 of 36: Charlotte Motor Speedway

Jimmie Johnson won the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, ensuring him a spot in the Round of Eight in the Chase for the NASCAR Cup. The race was postponed from Saturday due to the remnants of Hurricane Matthew passing through North Carolina.

Johnson won after overtaking Matt Kenseth on a late restart on lap 317, but had also led for 155 of the 334 lap race. Kenseth ended up in second ahead of three men out of the chase: Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Kyle Larson.

Many of the title contenders hit trouble. Martin Truex Jnr stalled late on when leaving the pit lane, dropping him to 13th, while Denny Hamlin suffered an engine failure while in second with only 27 laps remaining. Polesitter Kevin Harvick suffered engine issues, while Joey Logano, Austin Dillon and Chase Elliott all scraped their cars along Charlotte’s unforgiving concrete walls. With two races remaining in the Round of 8 before another 3 contenders are eliminated, next up is Kansas City.

Also last weekend

Nico Rosberg edged closer to a maiden Formula One world championship title with victory in the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had a bad start from second and was forced to recover places throughout the race.

Over to you

What did you make of this weekends action? Let us know in the comments below.

Next weekend the big title decider is in the DTM series while it’s also the final round of the year for the Euro F3 series, however this title was decided last weekend in favour of Lance Stroll.

The World Endurance Championship is at Fuji as the season nears its climax while Sebastien Ogier will likely take his fourth world Championship as the WRC heads to Spain. In World Rallycross Matias Ekstrom could become the first driver other than Petter Solberg to win the crown in the penultimate round at the Estering in Germany and the chase for the cup continues in NASCAR.

Thanks to Robert Mathershaw (@Mathers) for contributing to this article.

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  • 27 comments on “Formula E returns while protest sours Bathurst 1000”

    1. I missd the Bathurst 1000.

      1. I was watching with some mates at the pub. There was Japan on one large screen and Bathurst on another larger one right next to it. Beer and cars – what more could you want from a Sunday afternoon :)

        1. This is one of two reasons I got BT Sports (the other being UFC) and drop Sky Sports. I still get to keep F1 too! Well that and it was free for 6 months.

          Never watched it before, but gave a free trial a go and was instantly hooked. It’s like a slower NASCAR circuit series. Couldn’t believe the speed.

    2. This was my first time watching formula e fully and I must say I was impressed. First thing you have to get your head round is it is not f1, so the speed isn’t there. However the passing and close wheel to wheel action this promotes really was a breath of fresh air. Also as I had no allegiance to a specific team or driver I was able to enjoy it for the spectacle it was. A lot of fun.

      1. Yeah, I’ve been watching two or three races over the past two years but now that FE is going to my country this year, I might follow the championship more closely.

        The race truly had everything: crashes, different strategies going on and some guys hitting mechanical trouble. Combine this with street circuits where the walls are the track limits (the cars may be slow but with the closeness of the walls the cars actually look fast and challenging to drive) and some of the best drivers out of Formula One and you’ve got a great series going on. The FanBoost is obviously a gimmick but so is DRS.

        Only thing I had trouble with is that all cars looked the same: it’s kind of hard to distinguish drivers when a half of the cars are a shade of blue. By the end of the race I managed to distinguish the top 3 and D’Ambrosio’s car but that’s about it.

    3. The crash at Bathurst was a real race spoiler…. And I know wincup doesn’t need another win…. But he was robbed, his drive was epic and the 15 second penalty totally arbitrary.

    4. I take it that the Davison/Webb car finsished .1434 seconds ahead of Shane van Gisbergen and not Whincup/Dunbrell’s

    5. Nelson Piquet Jr won the 2014-15 Formula E championship?
      Well for those who ask why so many people passionately hate Formula E without ever watching it: there’s your answer

      1. What’s wrong with the guy?

        And before you answer Crashgate; he was only doing what his bosses told him to do.

        1. He was unpleasant and arrogant throughout his junior career.

    6. I wonder why manufacturers are so creative with their liveries in Formula E yet in Formula 1 they are dull as…….. Almost all the cars in Formula E look terrific! that purple DS Virgin, that Renault, the Jag…

      1. Formula One cars of 2016 all look so beautiful and I think every car on the grid has a perfect livery. Formula E cars livery look quite ugly to be honest. the Abt looks like a mess and the mahindra is such a boring livery

        1. Lol, it’s not Mahindra’s fault that it’s a ‘boring’ livery, they let fans design the livery for this season and they just went with the best one.

      2. I’m with you on the Formula E liveries, many of them are gorgeous looking, much more imaginative than F1 in general. Jag, Virgin, Abt and the new Faraday cars really stand out.

    7. Formula E cars still feel like a joke. Why do these cars even have wings? It only slows them down. Both Di Grassi (lost half a front wing) and Abt (rear wing turned into a crooked bookshelf) have no issues to keep up without them. And who’s idea is it to fill each FE track with narrow hairpins? It does not result in racing, but in waiting for your turn to turn. Even 90 degrees corners have this issue. And the tires are just awful, making every car understeer. Didn’t watch the whole race, but does it still have the ridicoulus fanboost? And also to mention, that pitstop that requires you to change cars. I get why, but the ‘Formula’ should solve this by developing fast charging battery’s or battery’s of the same size with more capacity.

      It’s not that I want to hate Formula E, I really hope it will keep developing in something beautiful, but in it’s current state, it is just horrible.

      1. Duncan Snowden
        10th October 2016, 19:52

        I pretty much agree with all of that. The most obvious problem for me is that I don’t believe for a second that the cars look the way they do because of aeroydynamics or engineering. They’re clearly that way because the word “Formula” is in the title of the series and swoopy biplane wings are cool (“The most striking change to the cars is the stunning new front wing. The part is purely cosmetic.”). Why not electric touring cars? It might be difficult to race actual production models, given the weight, but a silhouette series using basically the same chassis as FE would surely be feasible, better for the manufacturers’ marketing purposes, and more fitting for the sorts of circuits they race on and the speeds they race at.

        And yes, if your cars can’t complete the distance, have shorter races. Nobody else does this daft car-swapping thing. Motorcycle races are shorter than Grands Prix, for example. Along with the low speeds, Mickey Mouse tracks, background music, and – oh, geez – fanboost, it all just adds to the impression that Formula E isn’t serious. Yes, the racing can be close and competitive, but so are radio-controlled cars and land yachts. I don’t go out of my way to watch those either.

        Like you, it’s not that I think electric racing is inherently stupid. I genuinely want to see an electric series I can take seriously. I can see how FE might become one, but it’s still a long way off.

    8. Formula E is absolutely brilliant. Back in 2013 when I heard about this, I was always willing to give it a chance, however I felt that this series would be like A1GP, unsuccessful and just meh. However, over the past three years this sport has given us some excellent racing, with different winners and championships which have been won by less than three points. Much more interesting than F1. The only minor problems are Fanboost, which only gives you 2 seconds of more power per race, and fastest lap points. Two small problems which are easily solved. F1 on the other hand….

      1. @ultimateuzair Maybe you should set up FE Fanatic. It seems F1 isn’t for you.

        For me, FE is interminably dull, it was in the first race and it still is whenever I look in to see if anything has changed. It’s about as thrilling as Bass Fishing (or Football / Cricket – same thing really.)

        1. @psynrg really? Imagine the FE race report above as an F1 race. It would be hailed as one of the greatest races of all time. It really is anything but dull. If it’s not for you, then ok, but really your comment is just hyperbole.

          It’s driver line-up is, frankly, stellar and second only to F1 IMO (and fewer pay drivers, if any). Almost every team is now manufactorer-backed, Mercedes has an option to join in 2018 and many more are interested. The circuits and cars are nothing like F1, but at least they are at least challenging enough to force even the best drivers into mistakes in quali and races – Suzuka is one of the most challenging circuits in the world, yet the “pinnacle of motorsport” hasn’t seen a retirement there for two years.

          I just don’t get why some F1 fans delight so much in insulting it. We get it – it’s not F1. But maybe you should get out a bit more more – there’s a whole world of motorsport out there and some of it really is quite entertaining despite being slower, quieter and cheaper.

          1. @graham228221

            I don’t see the ‘fewer pay drivers’ thing because the championship contender Di Grassi was a pay-driver in a backmarker F1 team and the likes of Bird had a hardly better if not worse junior CV to guys like Ericsson and nasr. And not to mention Ma Quinghua, wow, that guy lol

          2. @graham228221 “…slower and quieter.”

            Hmmm. Let me think… Erm. No. Definitely not a convincing argument.

            I enjoy many different disciplines of motorsports, I even enjoy watching virtual motor sports (e.g. iRacing, Automobilista, rFactor, Assetto Corsa).

            One of Formula E’s biggest fails is with it’s ancient & inefficient technology (it’s obvious why Tesla are not involved.)

            The other is with the circuits. They’d be bad enough in a low budget arcade racing game.

            I get the ‘be as different from F1 as possible’ approach, but it’s different in all the wrong ways!

            “…slower and quieter?”

            Nope, works even less now.

        2. @psynrg Maybe you should stop criticising other people’s opinions. I bet that you are one of the people who only hate Formula E because of the sound. The racing in Formula E is better, and you cannot argue with that. F1 hasn’t been that good since 2013, and it’s because the cars have rubbish DRS, and pathetic bulldozer wings which do not allow the cars behind to follow closely. I don’t want to see a few open-wheel cars driving very fast, I want to see RACING, and F1 doesn’t give us much of that in it’s current state, unlike Formula E. Oh and by the way, I don’t have the time to set up a website, so you can just satisfy yourself by making a hate site for Formula E if you want.

      2. This race was good, but majority of races last year were Buemi domination fests and the long gaps between races make it hard for me to get into it

        1. Buemi only won 3 races last season, the same amount as Di Grassi, but I do get your point about the gaps. It’s apparently so that the kit and the cars can be transported as carbon neutrally as possible.

    9. Duncan Idaho (@)
      11th October 2016, 0:41

      “That dropped Davison and Webb to 11th” should be “Whincup and Dumbrell”

      1. @didaho I was just about to say that

    10. John Lancaster
      13th October 2016, 16:06

      Bathurst was looking pretty good for 888 until Whincup and Scotty had their coming together at the chase.
      GT attempted an opportunistic move that was not clever, a shame as he was driving the TWR car for the last time at Bathurst.
      Whincup collect his 15 seconds penalty for the ‘incident’ with the Volvo, which is rather too high for a ‘racing incident’.
      I must admit I was very happy for Davison and Webb, ‘the little team that could’, but I’m not amused that the usual collection of no talent ‘race officials’ applied their usual bone headed thinking.
      Whincup took pole, broke the circuit record three times and ended up in P.11 ……. bloody Muppets.

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