Buemi takes second New York pole as race avoids storm cancellation

Formula E

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Sebastien Buemi has taken a second pole position in the Formula E season finale weekend, against the backdrop of stormy weather that briefly suspended the event with an extreme warning today.

It might seem an unusual problem for Formula E to be at risk by ‘too much electricity’ but a gigantic thunderstorm heading for New York saw local authorities evacuate the site and the event suspended for around an hour earlier today. However, gates have reopened and the race will go ahead as planned.

Just prior to that, Sebastien Buemi took pole in a qualifying session where, as always, the track proved very changeable – except in this case it was due to large areas of standing water.

Formula E qualifying groupings are now determined by the number of points drivers have in the championship, then ordered by a lottery. Today, Group 1 was those at the back of the championship – three substitute drivers in Stephane Sarrazin, Tom Dillman (in for Edoardo Mortara due to a DTM clash) and Ma Qing Hua (in for Oliver Turvey due to an injury sustained in FP2 yesterday) as well as Luca Filippi and Nico Prost.

Prost had a successful qualifying yesterday, where Techeetah’s disqualification saw him make Super Pole for the first time this season but it wasn’t to be today, with the adverse conditions leaving all five first drivers well off the pace – last-minute Ma Qing Hua by more than six seconds but still within the 110% limit for his qualifying group.

Group 2 saw the championship leaders take to the track and all five of Jean-Eric Vergne (who took the title after yesterday’s race), Sam Bird, Lucas di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi and Daniel Abt immediately moved into provisional Super Pole positions, about a second up on the previous group’s times.

Spitting rain began during Group 3, following a pattern where the latter groups have been as unfavourable as the first out and only Andre Lotterer was able to reach the top five, key to Techeetah maintaining a lead in the teams championship that Audi yesterday cut to a mere 5 points.

Antonio Felix da Costa was unable to go out in the group, following a gearbox failure on his car that would lead to him facing the same 10-place penalty for unscheduled replacement that Alex Lynn does after a crash in yesterday’s race damaged his.

Group 4 again slightly slowed on times, leaving the top five unaltered for the Super Pole session.

As dark clouds gathered overhead, Jean-Eric Vergne managed a 1’18.031, Daniel Abt a 1’18.145 and Andre Lotterer a 1’18.013 before a near-perfect (under the conditions) lap from Sebastien Buemi saw him take provisional pole on 1’17.973.

Lucas di Grassi had been the fastest during group qualifying but made an error early on, pushing his car too hard and sliding into the barriers. He was able to drive on but finished taking P5, no 200kW time set for the session.

Sebastien Buemi starts the race from pole, with Andre Lotterer alongside him and his Techeetah teammate Jean-Eric Vergne behind.

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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3 comments on “Buemi takes second New York pole as race avoids storm cancellation”

  1. I was in the city all week and didn’t speak to one person who even knew there was a race happening & I spent a ton of time in Brooklyn. I saw zero promotion aside from some small blurbs in the paper (outside of the standard websites like this one, ofc). The average person had to ask what Formula E even was when I made conversation as few even knew such a thing exists.
    Just going to suggest the narrative that this is the future of racing and that F1 and other series should be scared might be a tad premature.

    1. I don’t think anyone thinks other series should be quaking in their boots – the narrative is more that Formula E isn’t going away, as a lot of people seem to wish it would, rather than that it’s going to consume everything else in its wake.

      The New York round is one of the smaller ones, promotionally. Paris, Hong Kong, Mexico City…. most rounds, to be honest – you can’t ignore it’s there, from billboards to demonstration runs etc.

      (I think, to be fair, most Americans might not know what Formula One is, either, if we play devil’s advocate on that…)

  2. BlackJackFan
    16th July 2018, 2:31

    Hi Hazel – I found your article interesting, informative and well written. Thank you.
    However, I feel your response to V12’s comment might have been taken somewhat personally by you, although it wasn’t even aimed at you.
    From what I’ve seen in the FE press this year several people have certainly been ‘suggesting’ this is the future of motor-racing (and they might be right), but I’ve not not seen a single article suggesting people wish FE would go away – as you claim to be the case…
    V12’s main point was that in Brooklyn itself few people seemed to be aware of the event, or even of FE. To counter this with “most Americans might not know what Formula One is, either,” hardly answers the specific point re. Brooklyn, and FE… And to defend them (why are you having to defend them…?) with “The New York round is one of the smaller ones, promotionally” seems absurd to me. I would be more interested to know why the New York (and FE) Authorities thus appear uninterested to better promote the event…
    BUT, as I say, I do like your articles (and the others) – and this site is now my No.1 ‘go-to’ for racing info.

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