Renault e.dams leave Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, the fourth round of the FIA Formula E championship, with mixed feelings. Nico Prost finished in the points but his teammate Buemi endured a tough race.
This morning, blue skies and warm temperatures greeted the Mexican track with the Renault e.dams cars first onto the circuit. Despite only arriving to Mexico this morning straight from Monza, Buemi proved his pace yet again by being quickest in both practice sessions, even with the interruptions of yellow flags.
The championship leader drew Q1 and Prost Q3 in a thrilling qualifying but neither of them made it through to Super Pole. After struggling with the dusty surface, Buemi ended the session tenth fastest. Due to Maro Engel’s penalty and Daniel Abt and Jérôme D’Ambrosio disqualifications, Buemi started seventh. Prost meanwhile had to contend with a red-flagged session and started 13th.
When the lights went out, both drivers made it through the first corner and retained position. Soon into the race, a first safety car was deployed following debris on track after a messy first chicane. Unfortunately, Prost had to pit to replace his front wing after receiving contact.
When the race went live again, another safety car period shortly occured as Oliver Turvey (NextEv) stopped on track. This meant that Buemi moved up to P5 and he was soon all over Sam Bird (DS Virgin Racing) to attempt to move up the order.
After both drivers swapped cars, a third safety car made an appearance: it was a Faraday Future Dragon Racing car who stopped on track this time. At the restart, Buemi used the FanBoost on the final straight but Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra Racing) locked up in front of him and José Maria Lopez (DS Virgin Racing) spun. The Swiss ace did his best to avoid the incident and spun off as well, dropping down to P16.
With four laps to go, Nick Heidfield and teammate Felix Rosenqvist (Mahindra Racing) made contact in the famous Stadium section. Prost managed to avoid the crash and moved up to P5. At the chequered flag, the Frenchman remained unchallenged to keep fifth, while Buemi crossed the line in 14th but managed to post the fastest lap of the race to earn one point for his efforts.
Despite the Mexican madness, Buemi still leads the drivers’ championship, but his points advantage has been reduced to five points over his title rival Luca Di Grassi (ABT Shaeffler Audi Sport).
Renault e.dams remain on top of the teams’ championship, with a 31 points lead over ABT Shaeffler Audi Sport. The next action is at the prestigious Monaco track in Monte Carlo on 13 May.
#9 – Sebastien Buemi: The race could have been good for us. We all know it’s difficult to overtake here, especially with so many safety cars. When I tried to use the FanBoost, Rosenqvist locked up both of his front tyres and Lopez spun. I just tried to avoid the accident and by doing this, I also spun. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s more or less what happened today. It’s been a bad weekend for us. The objective was not to lose too many points here, so of course it’s a big disappointment. I was quickest in FP1 and FP2 and we showed good pace but I was at a big disadvantage to be in Q1 as I cleaned the track for everyone. It was especially bad here, due to how windy the conditions were. I also had to avoid an unsafe release after my pit-stop, so I had to let three or four cars pass me. But at some point, our luck will turn, so let’s see what happens in Monaco.
#8 – Nicolas Prost: I had a big fight on my hands today and it was a tough race. I’m under investigation; I understand why because there was some small contact made but I don’t think I’m responsible for it. I really tried to avoid it, I was on the curves but Nick didn’t leave me much space, so he really closed the door. Otherwise, it was a good race and I’m happy with the result so far. It’s a very tight track, there was a lot of contact in the race but that’s racing…it’s the same for everyone. The straights are not very long so it’s a bit tricky to overtake here. But the changes that have been made are good, so I really enjoyed racing on this circuit this year. At the end, even if we were quick in FP1, I started to struggle in FP2 and the car was not very good. During qualifying, the red flag didn’t help but even without it, I wouldn’t have done a massive result so…We have to understand why this weekend wasn’t that good for us. Now, I look forward to the next two races in Monaco and Paris.
Jean-Paul Driot – Senior Team Manager: It’s a very disappointing weekend. We were quickest this morning during free practice. The timings were really good. For the qualifying group lottery, we were unlucky to be in Q1. The track was really dirty. That’s why we were only seventh on the grid. In the race we had some issues with the radio, which made it difficult to communicate with the drivers and to discuss their energy consumption. We could have pitted one lap later but because of the communication issues we had to stop. After the pit-stop, the two Andretti cars left their box three seconds before so Seb was stuck in traffic. To avoid an unsafe release, we then had to let three or four cars pass. Finally, Seb spun off when he used the FanBoost so was really unlucky for us this weekend. Di Grassi rolled the dice and won, so congratulations to him but our luck will turn. We need to work more and more to understand what happened and do the best we can do for the remainder of the season. Prost did a great race because he started from P13 and was stuck in traffic at the beginning. He finished fifth and scored ten points for the drivers and teams’ championships, points that are crucial for us this weekend.