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The 2017 Buenos Aires ePrix (formally the 2017 FIA Formula E Buenos Aires ePrix) was a Formula E electric motor race held on 18 February 2017 at the Puerto Madero Street Circuit in Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, Argentina in front of a crowd of 21,000 people. It was the third round of the 2016–17 Formula E season and the third running of the event. The 37-lap race was won by e.Dams-Renault driver Sébastien Buemi after starting from third position. Jean-Éric Vergne finished second for the Techeetah team and Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas di Grassi came in third.

2017 Buenos Aires ePrix
Race 3 of 12 of the 2016–17 Formula E season
Layout of the Puerto Madero Street Circuit
Layout of the Puerto Madero Street Circuit
Race details
Date 18 February 2017 (2017-02-18)
Official name 2017 FIA Formula E Buenos Aires ePrix
Location Puerto Madero Street Circuit, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Course Street circuit
Course length 2.480 km (1.54 mi)
Distance 37 laps, 91.72 km (56.98 mi)
Weather Sunny; Air: 29.0 to 29.7 °C (84.2 to 85.5 °F), Track: 26 °C (79 °F)
Attendance 21,000
Pole position
Driver Audi Sport ABT
Time 1:09.404
Fastest lap
Driver Sweden Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra
Time 1:09.467 (lap record) on lap 31
Podium
First e.Dams-Renault
Second Techeetah-Renault
Third Audi Sport ABT

Di Grassi won the pole position by recording the fastest lap in qualifying and maintained his start line advantage on the first lap. The race was neutralised on the same lap because of Adam Carroll's stalled car and when the race restarted one lap later Vergne challenged di Grassi for the lead and passed him on lap three. Di Grassi lost second place to Buemi shortly afterwards and the Swiss driver moved into the lead after overtaking Vergne on the sixth lap. Buemi kept the lead after the mandatory pit stops to switch into his second car but despite having trouble with braking in a straight line Buemi remained in first place for the remainder of the event to secure the victory. There were four lead changes among four different drivers during the course of the race.

It was Buemi's third consecutive victory of the season, the ninth of his career, and he became the first driver in Formula E history to win three successive races. The result increased Buemi's Drivers' Championship advantage over di Grassi to 29 points. Buemi's teammate Nico Prost maintained third position, while Vergne's strong finish moved him to fourth place. e.Dams-Renault extended their Teams' Championship advantage over Audi Sport ABT to 51 points and were a further 23 ahead of Mahindra with nine races left in the season.

Contents

ReportEdit

BackgroundEdit

 
Puerto Madero Street Circuit, where the race was held.

The Buenos Aires ePrix was confirmed as part of Formula E's 2016–17 series schedule in September 2016 by the FIA World Motor Sport Council.[1] It was the third of twelve scheduled single-seater electric car races of the 2016–17 season,[2] the third running of the event,[3] and was held on 18 February 2017 at the Puerto Madero Street Circuit in Puerto Madero.[2] It was announced in November 2016 that the race would be the last to be held at the Puterto Madero Street Circuit; the change was prompted because of the Puterto Madero area undergoing redevelopment.[4]

Before the race e.Dams-Renault driver Sébastien Buemi led the Drivers' Championship with 50 points, 22 ahead of nearest rival Lucas di Grassi in second and a further four in front of third-placed Nico Prost. Felix Rosenqvist was fourth on 19 points, and Sam Bird rounded out the top five with 18 points.[5] e.Dams-Renault were leading the Teams' Championship with 74 points; Audi Sport ABT and Mahindra were tied for second position with 36 points each. Virgin stood in fourth on 19 points and were one point ahead of Andretti in fifth place.[5] e.Dams-Renault and Buemi had dominated the championship, winning the season's previous two races. Di Grassi and Bird had secured one second-place finish each, while Nick Heidfeld and his teammate Rosenqvist had both achieved third-place finishes.[5]

Buemi had yet to win in Buenos Aires after losing the 2015 victory due to a crash in its final laps and qualified at the back of the field in the 2016 race where he progressed through the field to finish second. He stated that he hoped to qualify well and win the ePrix: "I’ve always been very competitive in Buenos Aires, however I’ve never translated it into the win, so I’m hoping to make that happen this year."[6] Di Grassi revealed his team's objective was to win in Buenos Aires and accumulate as many points as possible. He spoke of his belief the circuit would suit his car following development to it over the winter.[7] After being unable to win in Marrakesh because of various issues, Rosenqvist revealed that he gathered his team members for a meeting to discuss improvements and set himself the objective of securing his first victory in the series and utilised his team's simulator to prepare for the Buenos Aires race.[8] Bird, the race's defending winner, stated Buemi was the one to watch out for and stated he hoped to avoid the poor results from the season's previous two races.[9] Oliver Turvey of NextEV felt in the previous year, he quickly gained confidence with driving the track and was optimistic about continuing his team's development and expected to challenge for a podium or race victory.[10]

Practice and qualifyingEdit

Two practice sessions—both on Saturday morning—were held before the Saturday late afternoon race. The first session ran for 45 minutes and the second for 30 minutes.[11] A 30-minute shakedown session was held on Friday afternoon before the practice sessions and had António Félix da Costa record the fastest time of one minute and 18.1 seconds, ahead of Rosenqvist in second and Heidfeld third.[12] Both practice sessions took place in dry weather conditions.[13] José María López 200 kilowatts (270 hp) of power to set the first session's fastest lap at one minute and 9.431 seconds, 0.628 seconds quicker than Techeetah's Jean-Éric Vergne in second and Mitch Evans was third-fastest for Jaguar. Buemi, Bird, Rosenqvist, Prost, di Grassi, Turvey and Nelson Piquet Jr. (NextEV) rounded out the session's top ten drivers.[14] The session was twice stopped when Félix da Costa lost control of his car's rea and hit the turn six barrier. Félix da Costa's damaged car was transported to his garage for repairs and he switched into his second vehicle.[14][15] He later stopped on track, ending the session early.[14]

In the second practice session, Bird was quickest with a lap of one minute and 8.792 seconds, ahead of Rosenqvist in second and di Grassi third. Buemi was fourth-fastest; Robin Frijns was fifth and Piquet sixth. Turvey was seventh-fastest, Vergne eighth, Prost ninth and Maro Engel (Venturi) completed the top ten ahead of qualifying.[16] Turvey impacted the chicane's barrier with Adam Carroll and Bird spinning their cars in turn five.[16] Loïc Duval's left-front tyre lost a wheel nut, causing it to detach and the session was red flagged.[17] As a result of the red flag to retrieve Duval's tire and the two stoppages seen in first practice, the second session was extended by five minutes. Shortly after practice restarted, Engel stopped at the turn one exit with car problems but a second red flag was not required as he was off the track.[18] Di Grassi pushed hard and went into the turn four wall, damaging his car's front-right corner and rear, and yellow flags were waved to warn drivers about the crash.[16][17][19]

 
Lucas di Grassi (pictured in 2016) had the first pole position of his Formula E career.

Saturday afternoon's qualifying session ran for 60 minutes and was divided into four groups of five cars. Each group was determined by a lottery system and was permitted six minutes of on-track activity. All drivers were limited to two timed laps with one at maximum power. The fastest five overall competitors in the four groups participated in a "Super Pole" session with one driver on the track at any time going out in reverse order from fifth to first. Each of the five drivers was limited to one timed lap and the starting order was determined by the competitor's fastest times (Super Pole from first to fifth, and group qualifying from sixth to twentieth). The driver and team who recorded the fastest time were awarded three points towards their respective championships.[11] The session was held in warm and dry weather conditions.[13]

In the first group of five runners, Evans paced the session, three-tenths of a second faster than Bird in second, and Frijns third. Evans' teammate Carroll and Engel (who stopped twice on track because of technical issues) were the group's two slowest drivers.[20] Bird cited difficulty in gaining optimum tyre temperature for his performance.[21] Vergne used clear air to go fastest in the second group with a late lap that was two-tenths of a second faster than Buemi. Di Grassi, Piquet and Jérôme d'Ambrosio rounded out the top five. The third session was delayed when Vergne and Piquet were investigated by the stewards for an irregularity.[22] Félix da Costa stopped his car on the racing line at the turn one exit and the yellow flag was shown until he performed a restart, enabling him to keep driving.[20][23] Rosenqvist was fastest in the third group, with Stéphane Sarrazin and Duval in second and third. An oversteer through turn seven put López into a barrier, and damaged the rear-right corner of his vehicle. He stopped further down the track and the session was temporarily stopped. Félix da Costa was granted permission by race control to complete his timed lap but damaged his front-right suspension in an collision with the chicane's inside barrier.[20] Both López and Félix da Costa started the race from the grid's ninth row.[21]

In the fourth group, Turvey was the fastest driver, more than one second quicker than teammate Piquet. Prost was third-fastest, and was the group's fastest driver until Turvey's lap.[22] Both Daniel Abt and Ma Qinghua collided with the turn four exit barrier, curtailing their qualifying session.[20] After group qualifying, Turvey, Piquet, di Grassi, Vergne and Buemi were the five drivers who progressed into super pole after recording fast enough lap times.[23] The start of the super pole session was delayed to cater for the removal of a bollard at the chicane.[22] Piquet was the first driver to attempt his lap in super pole, losing half a second because he locked his front tyres and struggled with the rear balance of his car and was fifth.[20][23] Turvey lacked grip through the seventh turn, causing him to lock his tyres and missed the following turn's apex and took fourth position.[20] Despite going slower than Turvey in the track's first sector, di Grassi drove cleanly through turn seven to record a provisional pole position lap time of one minute and 9.404 seconds.[23] Buemi started his lap cleanly but lost half a second in the track's first sector by locking his tyres which placed him off the racing line and took third.[20] Vergne was the fastest driver in the first sector but heavily locked his tyres, qualifying in second place.[22][23] Hence, di Grassi secured his first pole position in Formula E.[24] Behind the top five, the rest of the grid lined up as Prost, Evans, Rosenqvist, d'Ambrosio, Bird, Sarrazin, Heidfeld, Frijns, Duval, Carroll, Abt, Félix da Costa, López, Ma and Engel.[20]

RaceEdit

A special feature of Formula E is the "Fan Boost" feature, an additional 100 kilowatts (130 hp) of power to use in the driver's second car. The three drivers who were allowed to use the boost were determined by a fan vote.[11] For the Buenos Aires race, Buemi, di Grassi and Abt were handed the extra power.[25] Weather conditions at the start of the race were dry and sunny. The air temperature throughout the ePrix ranged from 29.0 to 29.7 °C (84.2 to 85.5 °F) with a track temperature of 26 °C (79 °F);[13] a 90 percent chance of rain was forecast.[26] When the race started at 16:00 Argentina Time (UTC+3) before 21,000 attendees,[27][28] di Grassi maintained his pole position advantage heading into the first turn.[29] Vergne fended off an attempt by Buemi to keep second.[30] Rosenqvist made a brisk getaway, overtaking Evans and Prost and challenged Piquet for fifth.[31] The full course yellow was necessitated when Carroll was unable to move off his starting position but was able to restart his car as the field approached to lap him.[30] Carroll was ordered by his team to catch up to everyone else while abiding by the full course yellow speed limit.[31] At the end of the first lap, di Grassi led from Vergne, Buemi, Turvey, Piquet, Rosenqvist, Prost, d'Ambrosio, Bird, Evans, Sarrazin, Heidfeld, Duval, Frijns, Abt, Félix da Costa, López, Engel, Ma and Carroll.[13]

The race restarted on lap two with di Grassi leading and Vergne second.[30] Evans overtook d'Ambrosio to move into eighth place,[31] while Vergne began challenging di Grassi for the lead.[30] Vergne passed di Grassi at turn four on the third lap to claim the lead and di Grassi immediately battled Buemi for second position.[30][32] Buemi overtook di Grassi for second place three corners later,[32] while Vergne set what was at that point the fastest lap of the race—at one minute and 12.926 seconds—to pull away from Buemi.[13][31] After sustaining damage to his vehicle's rear-right suspension,[30][32] Bird fell to the rear of the field. Piquet went off the racing line and lost fifth position to Prost.[31] Buemi got a fast exit through the final corner, drafted off Vergne before turning left onto the inside line and passed him by braking late to take the lead at the first corner on lap six.[30][31] Buemi took a wide line to prevent Vergne from retaking the position entering turn two.[29] Di Grassi struggled with his car's handling and Turvey moved past him for third place and Prost closed the gap to di Grassi. Buemi pulled away from the rest of the field. Bird made a pit stop with the damage to his car and switched into his second vehicle, intending to recording the fastest lap but he would not be able to finish the race.[31]

 
Sébastien Buemi (pictured in 2016) took the ninth victory of his career and was the first driver to win three consecutive races in Formula E history.

Engel stopped on the track with powertrain issues; after he restarted, he was shown a black flag with an orange circle, requiring him to enter the pit lane to repair car damage.[31] Prost overtook di Grassi around the inside at turn four to claim fourth position on lap 12,[25][31] and Piquet reduced the time deficit to di Grassi.[30] López forced Sarrazin wide through the fourth turn to take over 18th on the following lap.[29] Buemi held a 4.5 second advantage over Vergne with Turvey, Prost and di Grassi in close attendance for the third place battle.[31] The mandatory pit stops, during which all drivers needed to change into a second car,[11] began on lap 18 when Turvey, Evans and Duval entered the pit lane.[30] Evans was issued a five-second time penalty after he was observed to exceeded the speed limit under full course yellow conditions.[31] The majority of the field followed one lap later and after the pit stops Buemi was in third place.[30] Di Grassi was released into the path of Piquet, causing the driver to brake to avoid a collision.[33] Engel lost engine power at his pit stop and retired from the race.[34] Mahindra elected to keep their drivers Rosenqvist and Heideld on the track for one further lap which would allow the two drivers to push in the event's closing laps because of them having additional electrical energy to use.[30]

Rosenqvist's car failed to start because of a battery management system problem that left him stationary in his garage for one minute longer than usual,[35] and rejoined the circuit in 17th place.[31] Di Grassi closed the gap to Prost, took advantage of a mistake by the latter leaving the final turn, and overtook him by braking late around the inside going into the first turn for third on lap 24.[30][31] Félix da Costa started to challenge López for 14th place while his teammate Frijns battled Abt for tenth position because Abt was holding up several cars but later used Fan Boost to pull away.[25][31] Heidfeld overtook Sarrazin and Frijins to run in 11th but was placed under investigation by the stewards and was later issued with a five-second time penalty after he was adjudged to exceed the minimum pit stop time by four-tenths of a second and fell to 15th.[31][35] Di Grassi pushed hard in an effort to close up to Vergne but he reacted by stabilising the time deficit to be two seconds in front.[30] Buemi activated FanBoost to extend his advantage over Vergne,[30] while Rosenqvist set the race's fastest lap (and overall race track record) at one minute and 9.467 seconds on lap 31, earning him one point.[13][35] Lopez gained three positions to run in eleventh by lap 35 and the stewards announced that di Grassi was under investigation for his pit stop release on that lap.[25]

Both Dragon drivers were informed over their radios that they had to ensure that they reached the end of the race while Duval was told that d'Ambrosio had more usable electrical energy. Duval reduced the time deficit to teammate d'Ambrosio and attempted an overtake for sixth place, causing light contact between the duo and got ahead of him.[36] Turvey lost eighth when Abt overtook him. On the final lap, Bird was forced wide into a wall by d'Ambrosio, causing him to retire.[31] Despite braking difficulties on his second car that rendered him unable to brake in a straight line,[37] Buemi crossed the finish line after 37 laps to claim his third victory of the season, the ninth of his career, and he became the first driver in the history of Formula E to win three consecutive races.[38] Vergne finished 2.9 seconds behind in second, with di Grassi in third, Prost fourth, Piquet fifth and Duval sixth.[30] Abt used the rest of his electrical energy to move ahead of d'Ambrosio for seventh.[31] Turvey's car overheated and took ninth and López rounded out the top ten.[39] Félix da Costa and Sarrazin finished 11th and 12th.[2] Evans was in a points-scoring position but a reduction in pace dropped him to 13th.[39] Frijns, Heidfeld, Ma, Carroll and Rosenqvist were the final classified finishers.[2] There were four lead changes in the race; four drivers reached the front of the field. Buemi led twice for a total of 31 laps, more than any other competitor.[13]

Post-raceEdit

The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and spoke to the media in a later press conference. Buemi was delighted with the race victory, praising his team for their work and said he was hopeful his recent form would continue into the season's next rounds.[38] His team was concerned over his battery overheating; Buemi stated that he drove cautiously in the first few laps to know where he was and that he had the entire car package under control.[39] Second-place finisher Vergne spoke of his delight because of his relatively new team having had no prior testing of his car, new personnel and equipment. He said he corrected the problems he had in the season's first two races and felt certain that he would focus on winning races: "I think the whole team did a fantastic job, working really, really hard, sometimes many hours overnight and in the end it paid off."[39] Di Grassi, who finished in third, said that it was a good day for his team although he acknowledged that he was not on the same pace levels as the e.Dams-Renaults. He revealed that his first car had a large amount of oversteer and stated the smallest of change would make a large difference in terms of the championship.[27]

Di Grassi was handed a formal reprimand by the stewards for the pit stop release that caused Piquet to brake to avoid hitting him and was fined €1,500.[33] Piquet spoke of his feeling that it was unfair for different punishments to exist for the same penalty and complained of inconsistency from the stewards. He warned drivers would become quickly disenchanted and believed stewards would not be taken seriously in future races. Piquet advocated for more people to observe the track, install more cameras and a GPS system in all cars.[33] D'Ambrosio felt aggrieved over the battle between his teammate Duval in the race's closing period, saying the events were "a little bit of a pity" and was unsure whether it was a misunderstanding.[36] Duval insisted the battle was firm but fair, saying he gave d'Ambrosio room but would make it difficult for anyone to overtake him: "As you have seen in the past though we have had fights and most of the time I was really gentle, and this weekend I was in this position where I was competitive and I had less energy available so I fought."[36] Dragon's team principal Jay Penske revealed his drivers were allowed to battle each other cleanly but if one of them eliminated the other from contention, that driver would be required to miss the following race.[36]

Attention also focused on Jaguar's improved pace during the event. Prior to the race, the team had been criticised by the media for their inability to perform well in the series with some publications criticising the decision to sign Evans and Carroll as their drivers.[40] Evans said his improved performance encouraged everyone working for the team and it gave Jaguar more confidence: "If you look at the bigger picture, I’ve got to be satisfied with today. Qualifying was great, to be honest, I topped the group. If you ask me or the whole team if this would have happened after Marrakesh, we would have taken it with both hands."[41] Carroll stated that he hoped he would have a strong performance in the event and be faster than he could be but it was an issue that could be improved on.[42] Jaguar team principal James Barclay stated the improvement was "a little bit of a positive surprise" but was unsure if Carroll's problem at the start was caused by driver error or an electrical issue but admitted his team had to improve their understanding of full course yellow in future races.[43]

The result extended Buemi's lead at the top of the Drivers' Championship to 29 points in front of second-placed di Grassi, who in turn, was a further ten ahead of Prost in third. Vergne's second-place finish moved him to fourth on 22 points and Rosenqvist was a close fifth on 20 points.[5] e.Dams-Renault's strong result increased their advantage in the Teams' Championship over Audi Sport ABT to 51 points, with Mahindra remaining in third place on 37 points. NextEV moved into fourth on 25 points with Techeetah three points behind in the battle for the position with nine rounds left in the season.[5]

ClassificationEdit

QualifyingEdit

Pos. No. Driver Team Time Gap Grid
1 11   Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT 1:09.404 1
2 25   Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah-Renault 1:09.598 +0.194 2
3 9   Sébastien Buemi e.Dams-Renault 1:09:825 +0.421 3
4 88   Oliver Turvey NextEV NIO 1:10:075 +0.671 4
5 3   Nelson Piquet Jr. NextEV NIO 1:11.274 +1.870 5
6 8   Nico Prost e.Dams-Renault 1:09.442 6
7 20   Mitch Evans Jaguar 1:09.505 +0.063 7
8 19   Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra 1:09.681 +0.239 8
9 7   Jérôme d'Ambrosio Dragon-Penske 1:09.697 +0.255 9
10 2   Sam Bird Virgin-Citroën 1:09.839 +0.397 10
11 4   Stéphane Sarrazin Venturi 1:10.100 +0.658 11
12 23   Nick Heidfeld Mahindra 1:10.152 +0.710 12
13 27   Robin Frijns Andretti-BMW 1:10.172 +0.730 13
14 6   Loïc Duval Dragon-Penske 1:10.257 +0.853 14
15 47   Adam Carroll Jaguar 1:10.946 +1.504 15
16 66   Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT 1:13.284 +3.842 16
17 28   António Félix da Costa Andretti-BMW 1:13.326 +3.884 17
18 37   José María López Virgin-Citroën 1:16.760 +7.318 18
19 33   Ma Qinghua Techeetah-Renault 1:22.405 +12.963 19
20 5   Maro Engel Venturi 1:44.239 +34.797 20
Source:[13]

RaceEdit

Pos. No. Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 9   Sébastien Buemi e.dams-Renault 37 45:45.623 3 25
2 25   Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah-Renault 37 +2.996 2 18
3 11   Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT 37 +6.921 1 181
4 8   Nico Prost e.dams-Renault 37 +8.065 6 12
5 3   Nelson Piquet Jr. NextEV NIO 37 +9.770 5 10
6 6   Loïc Duval Dragon-Penske 37 +35.103 14 8
7 66   Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT 37 +35.801 16 6
8 7   Jérôme d'Ambrosio Dragon-Penske 37 +36.335 9 4
9 88   Oliver Turvey NextEV NIO 37 +37.111 4 2
10 37   José María López Virgin-Citroën 37 +38.206 18 1
11 28   António Félix da Costa Andretti-BMW 37 +43.740 17
12 4   Stéphane Sarrazin Venturi 37 +44.243 11
13 20   Mitch Evans Jaguar 37 +44.918 7
14 27   Robin Frijns Andretti-BMW 37 +49.683 13
15 23   Nick Heidfeld Mahindra 37 +51.456 12
16 33   Ma Qinghua Techeetah-Renault 36 +1 Lap 16
17 47   Adam Carroll Jaguar 36 +1 Lap 15
18 19   Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra 34 +3 Laps 8 12
Ret 5   Maro Engel Venturi 26 Electrical 20
Ret 2   Sam Bird Virgin-Citroën 20 Accident 10
Source:[2]
Notes:
  • ^1  — Three points for pole position.[11]
  • ^2  — One point for fastest lap.[11]

Standings after the raceEdit

  • Notes: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.

ReferencesEdit

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2016 Marrakesh ePrix
FIA Formula E Championship
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2017 Mexico City ePrix
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2016 Buenos Aires ePrix
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