In Formula E, the most important person to beat is your teammate. Who did just that in Beijing? Let’s go through the field and hand out the Team Mate Battle points!
These are the rules to which the drivers are being judged.
1 point is awarded to the driver who sets the faster race lap.
3 points are awarded to the driver who performs best in qualifying.
5 points are awarded to the driver who performs best during the race.
Amlin Aguri were one of the most active teams on Twitter in the lead up to the season opener with some commenters comparing their strategy to that of Lotus F1’s over past seasons. Their friendly and down to earth approach certainly seemed to make a difference, as Katherine Legge was one of the beneficiaries of the Fanboost voting. Last minute replacement for Antonio Felix Da Costa, Takuma Sato looked very composed in the car, perhaps unsurprisingly, as the former Jordan and BAR Honda driver had tested the Aguri car pre-season in Donington.
The ePrix didn’t go particularly well for either driver though. Communication problems plagued Katherine’s car, leaving her unable to be kept abreast of her energy usage. As a result, she struggled home in 15th place without showing any particularly strong pace throughout practice or qualifying, as well as picking up a penalty for exceeding track limits. She went quicker than Sato in the second practice session before Takuma was over a second faster in Qualifying. During the race, Sato showed his street racing skills from Indycar hadn’t faded, lining up and passing Nelson Piquet Junior perfectly on Lap 6 in one of the overtaking moves of the race. With energy problems also affecting his car, Sato’s race was compromised as he stopped on circuit at one point but managed to recover to the pits. Re-emerging shortly after, he set about setting the fastest lap of the race, something he achieved in the closing .Sp5rl!47rs and salvaging points for himself.
Fastest lap: Takuma Sato (1-0 to Takuma Sato)
Qualifying: Takuma Sato (3-0 to Takuma Sato)
Race: Takuma Sato (5-0 to Takuma Sato)
Amlin Aguri: 9-0 to Takuma Sato
Andretti Formula E:
Andretti were one of the teams to have an almost trouble free race day, with both drivers making it through the practice and qualifying sessions unscathed. Both set times good enough for the top half of the grid in both practice sessions, before they lined up 5th and 8th in qualifying. Franck took 5th spot but would start 8th after picking up a three place grid drop for crossing the white line leaving the pits. This meant Charles moved up to 7th.
Their respective positions quickly swapped, with Franck pulling no punches with Charles at Turn 2. Montagny muscled his way past, almost pushing Pic into the wall and costing Charles positions. Franck was one of the most aggressive drivers on track throughout the first half of the race, edging past Sam Bird and Karun Chandhok in the opening ten laps, and was fully alongside Nick Heidfeld when the pair dived into the pits on Lap 13. This was something Franck was lucky not to pick up a penalty for also, as his right hand wheels were not inside the white line on the entrance to the pit lane, but he escaped punishment for the transgression.
Franck gained through the pitstop, emerging ahead of Daniel Abt into 4th spot. Despite remaining close behind Di Grassi until race end, Montagny was unable to get past and would wind up in second position behind the eventual winner. Charles Pic also performed well, ending the race in 4th spot after only being confirmed as the second driver in the days prior to the ePrix. Running 8th entering the final lap, Pic cleared the struggling Chandhok before gaining three places thanks to the troubles of Prost, Heidfeld & Abt.
Fastest lap: Franck Montagny (1-0 to Franck Montagny)
Qualifying: Franck Montagny (3-0 to Franck Montagny)
Race: Franck Montagny (5-0 to Franck Montagny)
Andretti Formula E: 9-0 to Franck Montagny
Audi Sport Abt:
.2 kilowatts of energy usage was all that prevented Audi Sport Abt from getting both of their cars on the podium. Di Grassi inherited a slightly fortuitous win, but the Brazilian racer had been close to the head of the field throughout the whole day and didn’t put a wheel wrong. Fastest in opening practice, he was only bettered by fellow countryman Senna in the second session, and only by Prost in qualifying. Holding position at the start and throughout the opening laps, he was jumped by Heidfeld during the pitstop. Maintaining third and keeping up with the leading duo initially, Lucas was unable to challenge for the lead of the race in the closing laps but was in prime position to take the win when Prost & Heidfeld collided.
It was almost fitting that the man responsible for testing the Formula E car and being the first driver associated with the sport would take the win and lead the championship after Round 1, and things do look bright for Audi Sport Abt. While not quite on his team-mate’s pace this weekend, Daniel Abt himself ran consistently without problem throughout the entire event and only lost out to Franck Montagny through the pitstop. Even if he did lose his eventual third position to a 57 second penalty due to using 28.2 kw of energy, it’s a very strong start for the team.
The question raised by Daniel Abt’s penalty is simple…why a 57 second penalty? It seems a very odd number to choose. Why not just round it out to a minute? Uneven numbers as penalties are only acceptable as multiples of five, just like setting the volume on your television. Sort it out FIA, that arbitrary number is annoying me more than it should.
Fastest Lap: Daniel Abt (1-0 to Daniel Abt)
Qualifying: Lucas Di Grassi (3-0 to Lucas Di Grassi)
Race: Lucas Di Grassi (5-0 to Lucas Di Grassi)
Audi Sport Abt: 8-1 to Lucas Di Grassi
Disaster on home soil for local hero Ho Pin Tung. After missing most of pre-season testing, Tung showed solid pace in the practice sessions, especially the second session which saw him finish in 4th spot. He undid his good work in qualifying though. After a banker first lap, he spun on his second and damaged his car, resulting in a poor time and a gearbox change. Starting from the pit lane, he immediately didn’t as his car refused to go. By the time it did, Ho Pin was already a lap down and was released into the path of the leaders, but showed good caution and racing sense to give way safely. He would finish his home race a distant 16th place, having never shown much pace throughout the race itself.
Nelson Piquet Junior had quite a different afternoon. His most famed moment in racing came on a street circuit, albeit for completely different reasons, but there were no signs of that Nelson during the race. Nelson showed great car control and spatial awareness as he engaged in several battles throughout the early part of the race, most notably with Takuma Sato and Oriol Servia. Having started in 10th spot, he duelled with eventual 4th place finisher Charles Pic for quite a while, including on Lap 15 after the car change. However, according to the Brazilian himself, he got ‘a bit excited’ early in the stint and used too much battery power, resulting in him fading away in the closing laps as he struggled to get his car home. He would end up with 8th place, which is a great effort for a team that wasn’t expected to show much promise at the first race after a troubled pre-season.
Fastest Lap: Nelson Piquet Jr. (1-0 to Nelson Piquet Jr.)
Qualifying: Nelson Piquet Jr. (3-0 to Nelson Piquet Jr.)
Race: Nelson Piquet Jr. (5-0 to Nelson Piquet Jr.)
China Racing: 9-0 to Nelson Piquet Jr.
We didn’t actually really seem to see much of them on the TV coverage, but Dragon Racing had a solid ePrix. D’Ambrosio finished 6th and 8th in the practice sessions, while Servia struggled, ending Practice 1 in 19th, and Practice 2 in 15th.
He got it together for qualifying though, lapping 1.2 seconds faster than Jerome to take 11th spot, while D’Ambrosio took 13th. They held these positions up until the pitstop, where Oriol elevated himself to 10th, while Jerome slotted in behind in 11th.
Stephane Sarrazin joined the battle of the Dragons, but D’Ambrosio was to spring a surprise, managing to get past the squabbling Servia & Sarrazin and take 6th place ahead of Oriol who claimed 7th. Just 0.048 seconds separated the respective fastest laps of both men, hinting that they extracted the maximum from the package available to them in Beijing.
Fastest Lap: Jerome D’Ambrosio (1-0 to Jerome D’Ambrosio)
Qualifying: Oriol Servia (3-0 to Oriol Servia)
Race: Jerome D’Ambrosio (5-0 to Jerome D’Ambrosio)
Dragon Racing: 6-3 to Jerome D’Ambrosio
What a disastrous race from both drivers after going into the weekend as arguably the strongest team on the grid. Problems started almost immediately for Sebastien Buemi who slightly damaged his car in an off in the first practice session. He made a worse mistake in the second session, which resulted in the Swiss driver damaging his gearbox on his first car. Qualifying in his second car, Buemi knew he would be unable to complete the race and set about attempting to set the fastest lap, something he was delayed from doing as a result of a structural failure at the rear of the car.
Returning to the pits, he was able to have his car repaired and then set his fastest lap on Lap 13 before retiring on Lap 14. It was a completely different story for Nicolas Prost. After a solid but unspectacular set of practice sessions, Prost joined the battle for pole position between Abt & Di Grassi and emerged on top despite making a mistake on his second qualifying run. In the race, Prost looked as smooth and composed as his father often did, leading the race and handling the pressure from the Audi Sport Abt cars in the first half of the race, and then later from Nick Heidfeld.
Nicolas then undid all his hard work with a silly momentary mistake that could have had monumentally worse consequences. Looking in his rear view mirror on the side of the track that there was no room for Nick to attempt a move showed a slight lack of awareness, as well as too much of an assumption that Heidfeld wouldn’t attempt the more logical dive up the inside. Instead, Nico pulled over on Nick and ruined both of their races and with a grid penalty hanging over him for Round 2, has put himself on the back foot for the first 20% of the championship. Despite this, he gets the race points.
Fastest Lap: Sebastien Buemi (1-0 to Sebastien Buemi)
Qualifying: Nicolas Prost (3-0 to Nicolas Prost)
Race: Nicolas Prost (5-0 to Nicolas Prost)
e.Dams Renault: 8-1 to Nicolas Prost
After looking strong in the second practice session, Senna looked capable of racing against Prost at the head of the field, but circumstances prevented such an eye catching prospect. Bruno’s battery caused problems in qualifying and prevented the Brazilian from leaving the pits at the start of his qualifying slot, Mahindra working hard to fix the issue and get Senna out on track. While they succeeded in doing so, Bruno’s efforts to set a time resulted in him making an error at the first chicane, and he aborted his lap, resulting in a grid position of 19th place.
At the start, Bruno gained a few positions and was battling with the squabbling Amlin Aguris. While there was slight contact with Takuma Sato, it was heavy contact with the sausage kerbing on the inside that broke the Mahindra’s suspension, leaving Bruno stranded out on track and causing the unnecessarily long safety car period.
Karun’s race ran quite smoothly throughout. Lining up 4th, the former HRT & Lotus F1 driver lost a position at Turn 1 to Nick Heidfeld, but held 5th spot until Lap 12 when Franck Montagny got past. Karun lost a position to Sam Bird during the pitstops but reclaimed it on track in a great move on Lap 20. A battery problem was to strike on the final lap though, and Karun fell to 8th spot behind Bird & Charles Pic, but jumped to 5th after the last lap dramas and penalties.
Fastest Lap: Karun Chandhok (1-0 to Karun Chandhok)
Qualifying: Karun Chandhok (3-0 to Karun Chandhok)
Race: Karun Chandhok (5-0 to Karun Chandhok)
Mahindra Racing: (9-0 to Karun Chandhok)
The feared Trulli train was never given an opportunity to make an appearance in Beijing. The fastest vintner in motorsport had a solid morning, finishing 10th and 6th in the practice sessions, before an error in qualifying resulted in no time and needing to change his gearbox. This meant starting from the very back of the grid, something he barely managed on the formation lap. While he succeeded in getting his car going on that occasion, the race start itself saw the car conk out completely, probably as a form of protest against the musical backdrop accompanying the race start.
Michela Cerruti had a fraught day as well, breaking her gearbox in practice and resulting in a grid penalty of ten places. Added to her woes was the fact Trulli’s mapping of her car meant that she was unable to use all of her available power throughout the day, something that went unnoticed until after the race. The race itself saw Michela lapping slowly throughout, with her setting the slowest personal best lap of the race. When she made her pitstop to switch cars, the display unit on her car for minimum pit stop time failed. With her mechanics manually counting, they were too trigger happy releasing her back onto the track, and this resulted in a ten second penalty. She finished in 14th spot with plenty of battery power remaining, thanks to the mapping problem.
Fastest Lap: Michela Cerruti (1-0 to Michela Cerruti)
Qualifying: Michela Cerruti (3-0 to Michela Cerruti)
Race: Michela Cerruti (5-0 to Michela Cerruti)
Trulli: 9-0 to Michela Cerruti
Almost a dream start for Venturi Racing, but Heidfeld’s feisty and strong drive will encourage the Monegasque team. A 5th place qualifying effort from Nick Heidfeld quickly became 4th, when the German driver pounced around the outside of Karun Chandhok at the first corner. Nick bided his time nicely then, slowly falling back from the leading trio of Prost, di Grassi & Abt, but a clever pitstop strategy saw Nick elevated to 2nd spot. Nick swapped cars quickly, and re-emerged into the pit lane quickly. Instead of accelerating to the pit speed limit, Nick took advantage of the narrow pit exit to block Di Grassi, Montagny & Abt in behind him while driving slowly to ensure he didn’t exceed the minimum pit stop time.
He emerged about four seconds behind Prost, and slowly eased his way up to the back of the Frenchman. While he didn’t attempt a serious move until the final lap, Quick Nick loomed threateningly for several laps before ramping up to a move at the final corner. Getting alongside Prost, Nick was blameless in the resulting collision and crash, which will be of little consolation after arguably being the strongest driver during the race.
Nick’s self control was as impressive as his car control. After hunting down Prost, lining up his move before being swiped into the barriers in a scary crash, Nick scrabbled out from under his wrecked Venturi and ran across the track to confront Nicolas. While the pair remonstrated with each other, how Nick managed to restrain himself from physically squaring up to Prost was admirable. Formula E may be the ‘clean, green’ and slightly sterile cousin of Formula One right now, but an old-fashioned passion and adrenaline filled punch-up would have convinced even the most staunch critic of its racing credentials.
Stephane Sarrazin’s race was solidly unspectacular by comparison. Lining up at the back after crashing in qualifying, Stephane crept his way forward in the race and ended up in 9th spot.
Fastest Lap: Nick Heidfeld (1-0 to Nick Heidfeld)
Qualifying: Nick Heidfeld (3-0 to Nick Heidfeld)
Race: Nick Heidfeld (5-0 to Nick Heidfeld)
Venturi: 9-0 to Nick Heidfeld
A day of mixed fortunes for both drivers at Virgin Racing. Jaime Alguersuari’s qualifying went well, ending the session just 0.4 seconds off pole position and 0.3 seconds faster than Sam Bird’s best effort. Bird moved up to 11th spot after Buemi took his ten place grid penalty. At the race start, Sam was one of the main movers, leaping up to 8th spot behind Jaime & Franck Montagny. When Franck made his dive up the inside of Alguersuari on Lap 5, Sam took advantage of his team-mate being wrong-footed and managed to sneak up the inside of the last corner and set about pulling away.
Sam then tried a slightly alternative strategy to his closest competitors. While Jaime pitted on Lap 13 and emerged down the order after a slow stop, Sam stayed out a lap longer than the leaders. His pitstop time of 1.51 was completely average, but he emerged in 6th spot with slightly more battery power available towards the end of the race. While Sam dropped to 7th behind Chandhok in the closing .Sp5rl!47rs, the Indian driver’s battery overheated on the final lap and Sam got ahead, before being elevated to third after the leaders collided and Abt received his 57 second penalty. Alguersuari’s second half of the race was hampered by the Spaniard not enjoying the handling of the second chassis, and he finished in 11th spot almost a full minute behind his team-mate on track, and two minutes behind after also receiving the same penalty as Abt for overusing his battery energy.
Fastest Lap: Sam Bird (1-0 to Sam Bird)
Qualifying: Jaime Alguersuari (3-0 to Jaime Alguersuari)
Race: Sam Bird (5-0 to Sam Bird)
Virgin Racing: 6-3 to Sam Bird
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