2017 Hong Kong ePrix
The 2017 Hong Kong ePrix (formally the 2017 FIA Formula E HKT Hong Kong ePrix for sponsorship purposes) was a pair of Formula E electric car races held on 2 and 3 December 2017 at the Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit in Hong Kong before a two-day crowd of 27,000 people. They were the first and second races of the 2017–18 Formula E season and the second running of the event. The 43-lap race contested on 2 December was won by Virgin driver Sam Bird after starting from second position. Jean-Éric Vergne finished second for the Techeetah team and Mahindra driver Nick Heidfeld came in third. The longer 45-lap race held the following day was won by Heidfeld's teammate Felix Rosenqvist from a pole position start. Edoardo Mortara of the Venturi team was the highest-placed rookie in second and Jaguar's Mitch Evans was third.
|2017 Hong Kong ePrix|
|Race 1 of 12 of the 2017–18 Formula E season|
|Date||2 December 2017|
|Official name||2017 FIA Formula E HKT Hong Kong ePrix|
|Location||Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit, Hong Kong|
|Course length||1.860 miles (2.993 km)|
|Distance||43 laps, 79.98 miles (128.72 km)|
|Time||1:04.297 on lap 34|
|2017 Hong Kong ePrix|
|Race 2 of 12 of the 2017–18 Formula E season|
|Date||3 December 2017|
|Official name||2017 FIA Formula E HKT Hong Kong ePrix|
|Location||Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit, Hong Kong|
|Course length||1.860 miles (2.993 km)|
|Distance||45 laps, 83.70 miles (134.70 km)|
|Driver||Lucas di Grassi||Audi|
|Time||1:03.928 on lap 27|
Vergne won the pole position for the first race by recording the fastest lap in qualifying and maintained his startline advantage on the first lap. The race saw the first race stoppage in Formula E history on the first lap when rookie André Lotterer was caught out by traffic and went into the turn three and four chicane barrier, forcing three other cars were to stop on track. After the running order was sorted, the race restarted half an hour later behind the safety car with Vergne leading Bird. Vergne and Bird pulled away from the rest of the field but Bird began challenging Vergne and passed him for the lead on the 20th lap. He held the lead through the mandatory pit stop phase to switch into a second car despite missing the entry to his garage and was subsequently handed a drive-through penalty. Bird however still led the race because of the pit lane's short length and built up a large enough gap over Vergne to claim his sixth career victory.
Rosenqvist secured the pole position for the second race which began behind the safety car because a technical failure stopped the lights gantry from working. However, Rosenqvist lost the lead immediately as the field began racing when he half-spun at the first corner, promoting Mortara into the position. Mortara managed his electrical energy usage better than the rest of the field and he had built up a large enough advantage over Abt resulted in him keeping the lead after the mandatory pit stop window. Mortara then battled the lapped Heidfeld in what he thought was for position but was told over the radio that this was not the case. He then focused on stabilising his advantage over Abt which had fallen to two seconds by setting personal best lap times. With three laps left, however, Mortara spun at turn two, promoting Abt into first place who held it to finish first on the road. Three hours after the race, Abt was disqualified because his inverter and motor-generator unit security stickers did not match those on his car's technical passport. Audi intended to appeal the decision but did not take this up and Rosenqvist inherited his second career victory.
After the races Bird led the Drivers' Championship with a two-point advantage over the second-placed Vergne. Rosenqvist's victory in the second race put him third on 29 points while Mortara was a further five points adrift in fourth. Heidfeld rounded out the top five. Mahindra became the early leaders of the Teams' Championship with 44 points; Virgin were in second place on 41 and Techeetah were a further eight points behind in third. Venturi were fourth on 30 points and Jaguar rounded out the top five with ten races left in the season.
- 1 Background
- 2 Race one
- 3 Race two
- 4 Classification
- 5 Notes and references
The Hong Kong ePrix was confirmed as part of Formula E's 2017–18 series schedule in September 2017 by the FIA World Motor Sport Council. They were the first and second of twelve scheduled single-seater electric car races of the 2017–18 season, and the second running of the event, The ePrix was granted double header status for the first time by motor racing's world governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). Additionally, the 2017 Hong Kong ePrix was the first Asian double header round in Formula E history and was held on 2 and 3 December 2017 at the Hong Kong Central Harbourfront Circuit. Organisers expected that 41,000 people would attend the race. Construction of the track started on 23 November, nine days before the first race. After the previous year's race, the turn three and four chicane was tightened in what the circuit's designer Rodrigo Nunes said was an attempt to reduce the likelihood of accidents in the area.
Heading into the new season, some teams opted to keep the same line-up as they had in the previous season; however, some teams switched drivers or changed names. ABT Audi Sport became Audi Sport ABT to reflect the increased manufacturer involvement from Audi. Faraday Future ended their partnership with Dragon Racing and NextEV NIO's name was shortened to become NIO. 2011 Formula Nippon title winner and 2012 World Endurance Champion André Lotterer was employed by Techeetah to replace Stéphane Sarrazin, while 2007-08 A1 Grand Prix champion and 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans co-winner Neel Jani took over Loïc Duval's seat at Dragon.
Former IndyCar Series podium finisher and Blancpain GT Endurance Series racer Luca Filippi joined Oliver Turvey at NIO, replacing Nelson Piquet Jr. who left the team by enabling a performance clause and went to Jaguar in place of Adam Carroll. José María López's place at Virgin was taken over by 2014 GP3 Series champion and 2017 12 Hours of Sebring co-winner Alex Lynn, while 2010 Formula 3 Euro Series champion and two-time Macau Grand Prix winner Edoardo Mortara entered the series with Venturi. Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters driver Tom Blomqvist was due to replace Robin Frijns at Andretti but his seat prior to Hong Kong was granted to World Endurance Championship and Super Formula competitor Kamui Kobayashi. Defending drivers' champion Lucas di Grassi stayed at Audi after his title winning campaign and was again joined by Daniel Abt.
Practice and qualifyingEdit
Two practice sessions—both on Saturday morning—were held before the late afternoon race. The first session ran for 45 minutes and the second lasted half an hour. Although drivers were concerned over the possibility of running in darkness, Sébastien Buemi of e.Dams-Renault used the 200 kilowatts (270 hp) available to him and set the fastest time in the opening practice session with a lap of 1 minute and 3.310 seconds, four-tenths of a second faster than any one else on the track. His closest challenger was Mitch Evans in second. The Audis of Abt and di Grassi, Sam Bird, Nico Prost, Piquet. Mortara, Jean-Éric Vergne and Turvey rounded out the session's top ten drivers. During the session, where several competitors struggled to find their optimal driving style, Prost stopped on track with a battery management system glitch and restarted his vehicle to continue driving. Later, Jani broke part of his car's front-left suspension in a collision with the turn ten inside wall but returned to the pit lane where he switched into a second car. Lotterer glanced the same wall and damaged his car's front-right quarter. A short full course yellow was called for as Rosenqvist pulled off the circuit at the last corner.
In the shorter second practice session, Evans set the fastest lap of the weekend so far at 1 minute and 2.875 seconds right at its end. Evans was two-tenths of a second quicker than the second-placed Abt who took the place in practice's final moments and his Audi teammate di Grassi followed in third. Turvey was running faster and was fourth-fastest, ahead of Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra), Bird. Piquet, Rosenqvist, Prost and António Félix da Costa completed the top ten ahead of qualifying. Buemi locked his rear tyres at the turn six hairpin after going onto the dirty part of the track, and oversteered into the barrier six minutes in, causing superficial damage to his car's steering. Heidfeld glanced the turn ten barrier while on his maximum power lap and Maro Engel slid onto the turn two run-off area. Yellow flags were waved with five minutes left when Mortara stopped his car on track at the second turn and ended all competitive running in the session.
Saturday's afternoon qualifying session ran for an hour 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. In the first group of five drivers, Buemi paced the session, ahead of early benchmark leader Lotterer and Engel. Mortara was on a fast lap but was delayed by Lynn whose car was loose, and Mortara impacted the turn five exit wall with his vehicle's left-rear corner. This effect caused him to further hit the barrier. Lynn took fourth and Mortara was the first group's slowest competitor. Bird set the fastest overall lap time in the second group at 1 minute and 3.276 seconds, while Félix da Costa pushed hard on his attempt which saw him to second and was quickest until Bird's attempt. Kobayashi was third despite glancing the barrier and Filippi was fourth. Evans was group two's slowest driver after failing to set a maximum power lap due to him not crossing the start-finish line through an inter-team miscommunication. In the third group, Heidfeld took advantage of having slightly more on-circuit grip and was fastest; his lap demoted Vergne to second. Rosenqvist was third-fastest and Piquet and Jani (who aborted his maximum power lap) were the third group's slowest runners.
Prost clouted the turn five barrier in group four and collected a trackside sponsorship banner that entangled on his front wing. Despite debris being littered on the track, marshals did not wave yellow flags, and Jérôme d'Ambrosio collected the barrier which wrapped around his front-left wheel, stopping the session. When qualifying restarted, Abt ended the group fastest and prevented his teammate di Grassi from progressing to super pole. Turvey was third and d'Ambrosio fourth. The stewards denied Prost the opportunity to continue in qualifying and was the fourth group's slowest driver. At the end of group qualifying, the times set by Bird, Heidfeld, Vergne, Rosenqvist and Abt advanced them into super pole. Vergne took the first pole position of the season and the fifth of his career with a lap of 1 minute and 3.568 seconds. As he completed his lap, Vergne lost control of his car at the final turn, slightly damaging it from contact with the outside wall, and stopped after the timing line. The consequence of Vergne's spin meant his in-lap was more than 120% of his qualifying time but was not penalised since he was adjudged not to have created a danger to others. Vergne was joined on the grid's front row by Bird whose fastest lap was 0.027 seconds slower and made a small error at the second hairpin. Heidfeld qualified third. Abt set a benchmark time that put him on provisional pole but fell to fourth. Rosenqvist locked his brakes at the first hairpin and ran wide to start from fifth. After qualifying, Jani was demoted ten places on the grid for changing his car's battery after his first practice crash. Following the application of Jani's penalty, the remainder of the grid consisted of di Grassi, Turvey, Félix da Costa, Buemi, Piquet, d'Ambrosio, Lotterer, Kobayashi, Engel, Filippi, Lynn, Prost, Mortara, Evans and Jani.
The conditions on the grid at the start of the race were dry and warm. The air temperature throughout the ePrix was between 23 and 23.9 °C (73.4 and 75.0 °F) and the track temperature ranged from 27.2 to 28.3 °C (81.0 to 82.9 °F). 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. For the first Hong Kong race, Kobayashi, Abt and Filippi were handed the extra power. When the race began from its standing start at 15:00 Hong Kong Time (UTC+08:00), Vergne maintained his pole position advantage heading towards the first corner with Bird remaining in second position. Heidfeld launched an attack for the lead of the ePrix but ran wide and fell to fourth after failing to get past Bird. Turvey steered onto the outside line and moved from seventh to third pass Rosenqvist, di Grassi, Abt and Heidfeld at the first turn as the majority of the field went defensive.
The field negotiated the first two corners without incident, but a track blockage at the turn three and four chicane prompted the race director to stop the race for the first time in such conditions in Formula E history. Piquet drove over the kerbs on the inside of the turn three and four chicane and Lotterer (who was attempting to swerve to avoid the traffic) was caught out and drove into the barrier. The quartet of cars driven by Prost, Evans, Mortara and Jani were forced to stop on track as a result. The remainder of the field drove back to the pit lane and awaited further instruction from the race director. Shortly after, the drivers who were stranded at the first chicane were allowed to drive back onto the circuit so that they could line up in the correct running order. The race restarted after more than a half hour delay under the safety car for one lap. Vergne led the field back up to speed at the restart and he was followed by Bird who immediately put pressure on him. Di Grassi immediately began attacking his teammate Abt by turning onto the outside line in the second corner but did not get ahead.
On lap five, Buemi attacked di Grassi by driving on the inside line going into the first turn and the two made contact since di Grassi drove defensively and gave Buemi a small amount of room. At the same time, Filippi closed up to Rosenqvist but sent the latter into a spin at the first corner, dropping Rosenqvist to 15th position and damaging his radiator. Heidfeld attempted to overtake Turvey around the outside heading towards the second corner but Heidfeld locked his brakes which meant he could not complete the move. Consequently, this lost of momentum allowed Abt to draw alongside Heidfeld and moved past him for fourth. Di Grassi and Buemi got involved in the battle for third place shortly afterwards. Di Grassi was the first driver to enter the pit lane on the sixteenth lap because Audi claimed that his right-rear suspension had sustained damage from his earlier contact with Buemi. Di Grassi switched into his second car soon after but this would leave him with less electrical energy than the rest of the field.
Turvey had not been able to remain with the leading two drivers but slowed suddenly with a technical problem and drove to the pit lane for the switch into his second car. Upfront, Vergne and Bird had established a nine-second advantage over the rest of the field and Bird put more pressure on Vergne for the lead. After failing to get past Vergne a couple of times, Bird turned right onto the inside line and passed him for first at turn seven on lap 20. Vergne then went into the pit lane on lap 21 for the mandatory switch into his second car while Bird remained on the track for one additional lap. When Bird made his pit stop, he locked his tyres on the dusty tarmac surface, and slid into the side of his garage. Bird hit team equipment and narrowly avoided collecting one of his team's personnel who was uninjured. Bird abandoned his car at the side of the garage but kept the lead. After the pit stops, Bird held a seven-second advantage over Vergne, who was followed in turn, by Engel, Piquet and Rosenqvist. Abt lost the most places due to a technical error which cost him twenty seconds and fell to eighth.
After his pit stop, Buemi's car shut down due to a technical issue at the exit of the first turn and was stranded in the centre of the track. Buemi was able to restart his vehicle quickly but dropped to 13th position. Since Bird did not park his car inside his garage during his pit stop, he incurred a drive-through penalty but the short length of the pit lane and the fact he had built up a big enough of a gap allowed him to narrowly remain ahead of Vergne after taking it. Rosenqvist was close behind Engel in a battle for fourth place. The duo came into contact at the turn three and four chicane which saw Rosenqvist run into Engel but both drivers avoided impacting the barrier. Heidfeld was attacking Vergne for second place and drew alongside the latter at the turn two hairpin but Vergne locked his brakes and ran deep, preventing Heidfeld from performing the undercut. Lotterer was issued with a drive-through penalty that was related to his first lap multi-car collision while Filippi was similarly penalised for his earlier collision with Rosenqvist.
On the 42nd lap, Rosenqvist braked later than Piquet heading into the first corner and overtook him for fifth place. He closed up to Engel but was not near enough to affect an overtaking manoeuvre and then fell to eighth as he was required to conserve electrical energy. Bird crossed the start-finish line in first place after 43 laps to clinch his first victory of the season and the sixth of his career. Vergne followed 11.575 seconds in arrears in second and Heidfeld completed the podium positions in third. Off the podium, Engel originally finished fourth but was penalised with a time penalty for overusing energy and dropped to 13th. Thus Piquet finished fourth, Abt came fifth, Félix da Costa took sixth and Mortara was the highest-placed rookie in seventh. Rosenqvist lost his eighth-place result after being adjudged to have overused power and dropped to 14th. Lynn, Prost and Filippi rounded out the top-ten. The rest of the order was completed by Buemi, Evans, Engel, Rosenqvist, Kobayashi, Turvey, di Grassi and Jani. Lotterer was deemed to have left his car in an unsafe position under parc fermé conditions and was disqualified from the final results. The sole non-classified finisher was d'Ambrosio who pulled to the side of the circuit with a mechanical failure and later retired after rejoining.
The top three drivers appeared on the podium to collect their trophies and spoke to the media in a later press conference. Bird spoke about the erratic nature of the race and said it was "unreal" for him to have secured the victory after taking his drive-through penalty He also admitted the ePrix had stressed him out but relished its competitive nature in spite of the first-lap stoppage: "Welcome to Formula E. That's like a normal race for us. We've had some crazy races in the past, you only have to look at the first ever race in the series and the crash at the last corner." Vergne said it was the most difficult race of his career as he lacked radio communication and battery regeneration: "So, if this morning somebody told me I’d have these issues, I wouldn’t even take the start of the race. To finish second off the back of this is almost like a victory to us. We’re hoping to fix things overnight and come back stronger tomorrow." Heidfeld stated that his third-place was a result he was least happy with but reserved praise for his team.
Vergne's defensive move at the turn three and four chicane drew criticism from Heidfeld who claimed Vergne transgressed series rules: "I tried to hard to overtake him, but I wasn't always happy with what he did. To me he was doing a bit too much of a slalom race. I think he did not stick to the rules. We spoke about that, he obviously seems to think it was okay. I accept that. But I'm not that happy." Vergne argued that he did not commit any fault as he did not wish to undertake an action that would have jeopardised his chances of battling for the championship and wanted to the finish the race: "Sometimes you have to finish second and third or fourth, but take the points. And at the end of the year they will count." Buemi was critical of di Grassi's driving, stating his belief that the latter should have ceded the position once they reached the corner. He revealed he attempted to drive as close as he could towards the barrier without hitting it but found di Grassi's driving too aggressive: "The corner is very tight, but I am there, you cannot just do the corner - and he just does the corner. He turns, so I end up pushing him and damaging both cars. If I'm beside you it's a bit difficult. What should I do? I cannot do anything." Di Grassi ignored Buemi's criticism and clarified his right-rear suspension was damaged from his contact with Abt instead of Buemi's hit as had been initially reported by Audi.
It was discovered after the race that several drivers had poor radio reception due to the local skyscrapers, prompting them to recalculate their regeneration and electrical energy usage without assistance. Abt likened the situation to competing in Formula 4 and remarked he would have exchanged FanBoost for a proper signal while Piquet said he believed he could have improved on his fourth-place had his radio functioned correctly. Jani said the lack of communication in his first race hindered him as he did not have the knowledge of what his regeneration targets were and Rosenqvist agreed the situation was unexpected and hard to deal with. Lynn revealed his team had been previously affected in a prior ePrix and thus were the best prepared in the field for a similar situation. Bird was told to see the stewards after the race and was given a ten-place grid penalty for the following day's race for not stopping in the garage during his pit stop. Virgin team principal Alex Tai told the press that he sought an answer of whether Bird's penalty was appealable but chose to follow instructions since that would be difficult to undertake. Engel revealed his issue was caused by a loss of electrical power between the first and second turns every lap which allowed Rosenqvist to attack him.
As a consequence of the final positions, Bird started the season leading the Drivers' Championship with 25 points. Vergne was four points adrift in second place. Heidfeld was in third position on fifteen points and Piquet followed a further three points behind in fourth place. With eleven points, Abt rounded out the top five drivers. In the Teams' Championship, Virgin became the early leaders on 29 points with both their drivers finishing in the top ten. Vergne's pole position and second-place finish earned the second-placed Techeetah 21 points and Mahindra were a further six points adrift in third. Jaguar were fourth with twelve points and Audi on eleven points completed the top five.
Standings after the raceEdit
- Notes: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
Practice and qualifyingEdit
One 45-minute practice session on Sunday morning was held before the early afternoon race. Buemi bested Evans's fastest lap of the weekend to go fastest in the third practice session with a time of 1 minute and 2.002 seconds; Lynn followed three-tenths of a second in arrears in second and Di Grassi was third. Vergne was fourth-quickest, with Bird placing fifth and Rosenqvist sixth. Abt was seventh-fastest, Mortara eighth, Heidfeld ninth and Turvey rounded out the top ten ahead of the second qualifying session. During practice, where several drivers locked their brakes and went off into the track's run-off areas, Engel briefly stopped at the first turn but no red flag was necessitated since he restarted his car in time. Prost narrowly avoided being caught out by Turvey who lost control of his car's rear at turn nine while passing the former and d'Ambrosio went into Prost's vehicle and dislodged its right-rear fender at the corner's apex. Prost was able to drive back to the pit lane but voiced his anger over the radio. Buemi slowed to avoid hitting debris at the turn three and four chicane and impeded the faster Félix da Costa with the pair gesticulating.
In contrast to the first race, the lottery system was changed with the top five drivers in the championship placed in the first group and the lower ranked competitors were drawn in order in the three remaining groups. This was changed to allow competitors to remain close to each other and stop significant variables such as changeable weather conditions from affecting the starting grid. In the first qualifying group of five runners, Turvey paced the session with di Grassi a quarter of a second slower in second. Lotterer, d'Ambrosio and the early benchmark setter Jani rounded out the first group's slowest drivers. D'Ambrosio noted that the driving in group one was difficult due a Roborace demonstration held between the third practice and second qualifying sessions leaving debris on the track. In the second group, Rosenqvist moved straight to provisional pole but Evans's effort made him the quickest overall competitor with a lap of 1 minute and 2.577 seconds. Rosenqvist placed second with Engel third and Kobayashi fourth. Buemi was group two's slowest driver as he was off the pace due to him damaging his car with a glance of the turn five inside barrier; he began from the back of the field for the first time since the 2016 Buenos Aires ePrix. Mortara was fastest in the third group and was followed by Lynn, Félix da Costa. Filippi, and early pace setter Prost. In the fourth group, Abt set a lap that immediately moved him to second overall The fourth group's four slowest participants were Bird, Vergne, Heidfeld and Piquet. At the end of group qualifying, the lap times set by Evans, Abt, Mortara, Rosenqvist and Bird advanced them into super pole. Despite an oversteer in the final sector, Rosenqvist drove aggressively to take his fourth career pole position with a time of 1 minute and 2.836 seconds. He was joined on the grid's front row by Evans who was 0.054 slower in spite of going faster than Rosenqvist earlier in his lap. Despite ruining his preparation at the end of his warm-up lap and an driver error at the first corner, Mortara took third position and Bird was fourth in his attempt to minimise the effect of his grid penalty. Abt bent his car's steering arm from minor contact with a wall and a slow middle sector put him fifth. After qualifying, Evans's super pole time was deleted because he was adjudged to have overused his electrical power usage and Bird's penalty saw him start 13th. The rest of the grid lined up after penalties as Lynn, Félix da Costa, Vergne, Turvey, Filippi, Heidfeld, Piquet, di Grassi, Bird, Prost, Engel, Kobayashi, Lotterer, d'Ambrosio, Jani and Buemi.
The second race started at 15:00 local time. The weather conditions at the start were dry and sunny with the air temperature ranging from 23.25 and 23.9 °C (73.85 and 75.02 °F) and a track temperature between 27.2 and 28.35 °C (80.96 and 83.03 °F). As in the first ePrix, the winners of the FanBoost vote were Abt, Kobayashi and Filippi. On the grid, a circuit board failure resulted in the five red lights gantry failing to illuminate, causing the entire field to remain in their starting positions as they awaited a signal from the race director Scot Elkins. Three minutes later, race control elected to use the safety car to start the race. Rosenqvist led the field up to speed but locked his rear brakes heading towards the turn one hairpin and half-spun, falling to eleventh. This gave Mortara the lead and Abt moved into second position. More action took place further down the field as drivers got close to each other but all made it through without any trouble. Filippi's track rod fractured early on and later became the race's only retiree after entering the pit lane. At the end of the second lap, Mortara led from Abt, Evans, Lynn, Félix da Costa, Vergne, Turvey, Piquet, Prost, Bird, Rosenqvist, di Grassi, Engel, Heidfeld, Kobayashi, Lotterer, d'Ambrosio, Jani, Buemi and Filippi.
Early movement within the top five placings occurred as Félix da Costa overtook Lynn around the outside to take over fourth place while Bird was moving up the field and moved from fourteenth to ninth by the start of the fifth lap. On the following lap, Mahindra suffered further problems when Heidfeld slowed and drove to the side of the circuit with a technical issue but was later able to get the fault rectified and continued racing. Upfront, Mortara opened up a four-second advantage over Abt, while Rosenqvist began to move up the field and Buemi and di Grassi struggled in the non-points scoring positions. Abt looked to lessen Mortara's lead but the latter was better managing his electrical energy usage and began to increase his advantage as the pit stop phase was getting closer. Soon after, Heideld delayed Mortara as he seemed to not realise that the race leader was about to lap him. The mandatory pit stops for the switch into a second car began on the 23rd lap when Mortara entered the pit lane with one percent of usable electrical energy. Félix da Costa and Lynn stayed on the circuit for one additional lap before the duo made their pit stops. Soon after his pit stop, di Grassi stopped temporarily at the side of the track at turn six with a battery management system fault. He fell to 17th after restarting his car.
After the pit stops, Mortara kept the lead and was now three-and-a-half-seconds in front of Abt. Rosenqvist made up the most positions and was at this point in third position. Félix da Costa's second car had trouble starting and this required a full reset that dropped him to 14th. Similarly, Evans lost four seconds at his pit stop due to a problem with his second car and fell from third to fourth. Mortara was soon placed under pressure by Heidfeld who was making an attempt to unlap himself. Mortara responded by defending as if he was battling for position but was later informed over the radio that this was not the case. Numerous battles occurred in the middle of the field with Bird and Vergne close to each other while Buemi had moved up the order to run in eleventh place. Rosenqvist drew closer to Abt at the rate of half a second per lap and was five seconds adrift with eight laps left. However, Abt responded to Rosenqvist's faster pace to remain in third. Mortara had more usable electrical energy but Abt was able to close up on him and the lead was reduced to two seconds. Mortara used this to his advantage to set personal best lap times and give him a three-second advantage in the closing stages and it appeared he would take his and Venturi's first Formula E win.
However, on lap 43, just as Abt used his FanBoost on the back straight, Mortara endured difficulty with his regenerative braking system, and lost control of his car's rear at the second turn but avoided hitting a wall. This promoted Abt into the lead which he held for the remaining two laps to finish the ePrix first on the road for would have been his maiden Formula E victory and his first in motor racing since the 2012 GP3 Series. Rosenqvist completed his recovery and took second while Mortara came back from his late race spin to complete the podium in third. Off the podium, Evans finished in fourth to match Jaguar's best result in Formula E and Vergne followed in fifth. Bird lost out in his battle with Vergne and was sixth. Turvey, Engel and Prost all had quiet races and followed in positions seven to nine. Lynn was more economical with using electrical energy and eventually slowed to take tenth because he could not overtake Evans. Buemi, Félix da Costa and Piquet followed in the next three placings. Lotterer swerved to avoid Piquet on the inside lane for turn ten, and speared into the exit barriers, heavily damaging his car's front-right corner. Lotterer crossed the timing beam in 14th. Di Grassi, d'Ambrosio, Heidfeld, Kobayashi and Jani were the final classified finishers.
Three hours after the race, it was announced by the FIA stewards that Abt's car was not compliant with the Formula E technical regulations. They discovered that the FIA security stickers on the car's inverter and the motor-generator unit did not match those declared on the vehicle's technical passport provided to the team for the ePrix. Audi team principal Allan McNish suspected an administrative error and announced the team's intention to file an appeal with the FIA International Tribunal in Paris so they could clarify the details surrounding the mix-up. The next day, Audi carefully reviewed all documents and processes and determined that Abt gained no advantage as a result and all parts of the car were fully homologated. The team accepted the FIA's decision and apologised to Abt for the error. The consequence of the decision meant Rosenqvist inherited the second victory of his career with Mortara moving into second and Evans securing Jaguar's first Formula E podium. Additionally, Audi were fined €5,000 ($5,944) after five of its team personnel convened to the podium via the circuit before the final car had reached parc fermé, deemed a "serious breach of safety regulations" by the stewards.
Rosenqvist spoke of his happiness about taking the victory but expressed sympathy for Abt: "It’s not the way you want to win and I don’t feel like I’ve won the race. But I’m happy with the points. Sometimes you’re happy and then you’re sad, like yesterday we were in P15 and turned it around -- getting fastest lap but it got taken away, so there’s been a lot like that but I’ll take maximum points and third in the championship." Second-placed Mortara acknowledged he was possibly overconfident as he sought the additional point for setting the fastest lap along with the victory and vowed that he would be calmer at the season's next race: "It’s… difficult to find the words actually, after a race like that. It’s tough to swallow actually, today. We had the pace, we were managing the race from the beginning to the end – I was pretty much 100% all through the race, to keep the gap with Daniel and I was choosing when to push." Evans spoke of his pride of securing Jaguar's first Formula E podium but that it was regretful as Abt is a close friend of his: "After a tough year in our first season this is great reward for the hard work of everyone in the team. Tonight we will celebrate this achievement together and then work hard to repeat it.”
According to Buemi, an unexplained issue with his car's chassis meant his performance over the race weekend was compromised and that his team did not have the knowledge on how to rectify it. He also confirmed to the press that the same problem affected all four of his vehicles. Di Grassi said his performance over the two races showed the pace of his car but was frustrated with its problems: "The car is strong, we have the potential, we have to figure it out. Saturday we lost a fourth place or a fifth place easy, Sunday we lost again at least another fifth or fourth place. It is just frustrating because of small details which are sometimes out of our control." Lotterer stated his first lap incident in the opening ePrix was a consequence of him being in "the wrong place at the wrong time” but he was encouraged over a battle he had with Buemi in the following race and was eager to discover how his team's performance could be improved for future races. Jani said that it had been quite some time since a teammate of his out-performed him but spoke of his satisfaction to improve his performance following Saturday's race. Félix da Costa spoke of his disappointment over the result as he believed he could have placed second had his pit stop not been slow.
The result meant Bird remained the Drivers' Championship leader on 36 points but his advantage over Vergne was reduced from six to two points. Rosenqvist's victory advanced him to third position with 29 points and Mortara's second-place finish moved him to within five points behind the former in fourth. Heidfeld's non-points scoring finish dropped him to fifth and was tied with Evans on points. Mahindra's result enabled them to move into the lead of the Teams' Championship with 44 points, three ahead of Virgin in second place. Techeetah fell to third while Venturi's strong performance allowed the team to move into fourth. Jaguar rounded out the top five with ten races left in the season. 27,000 people attended the two-day event.
Standings after the raceEdit
- Notes: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
|6||1||Lucas di Grassi||Audi||1:03.773||+0.205||6|
|8||28||António Félix da Costa||Andretti-BMW||1:03.914||+0.346||8|
|10||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Jaguar||1:03.993||+0.425||10|
|13||27||Kamui Kobayashi[n 1]||Andretti-BMW||1:04.806||+1.238||13|
- ^1 — Neel Jani was demoted ten places for changing his car's battery following an accident in the first practice session.
|7||28||António Félix da Costa||Andretti-BMW||1:02.979||+0.143||6|
|12||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Jaguar||1:03.310||+0.516||11|
|13||1||Lucas di Grassi||Audi||1:03.346||+0.552||12|
- ^2 — Sam Bird dropped ten places for not stopping in his garage during his mandatory pit stop in the first race.
- ^3 — Mitch Evans's super pole lap was deleted because of him overusing the mandated maximum amount of electrical power usage.
|4||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Jaguar||43||+15.324||10||12|
|6||28||António Félix da Costa||Andretti-BMW||43||+18.083||8||8|
|16||16||Oliver Turvey||NIO||42||+1 Lap||7|
|17||1||Lucas di Grassi||Audi||42||+1 Lap||6|
|18||6||Neel Jani||Dragon-Penske||42||+1 Lap||20|
- ^4 — Three points for pole position.
- ^5 — One point for the fastest lap awarded to Daniel Abt as Jérôme d'Ambrosio did not finish in the top ten.
- ^6 — Maro Engel and Felix Rosenqvist has been given a drive through penalty converted into a 22-second time penalty for exceeding power usage over 180KW
- ^7 — André Lotterer was disqualified leaving his car in an unsafe condition under parc fermé conditions.
|11||28||António Félix da Costa||Andretti-BMW||45||+23.159||6|
|12||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Jaguar||45||+27.104||11|
|13||1||Lucas di Grassi||Audi||45||+28.591||12|
|16||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra||44||+1 Lap||10|
|17||27||Kamui Kobayashi||Andretti-BMW||44||+ 1 Lap||16|
|18||6||Neel Jani||Dragon-Penske||44||+ 1 Lap||19|
|Ret||68||Luca Filippi||NIO||36||Track rod||9|
- ^8 — Three points for pole position.
- ^9 — Felix Rosenqvist won the one point for the fastest lap as Lucas di Grassi did not finish in the top ten.
- ^10 — Daniel Abt was disqualified after FIA stewards discovered the bar codes on his car's inverter and motor-generator unit did not match those on its technical passport provided to Audi.
Notes and referencesEdit
- Kobayashi is a Japanese driver who raced under a Monégasque racing license.
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2017 Montreal ePrix
|FIA Formula E Championship
2018 Marrakesh ePrix
2016 Hong Kong ePrix
|Hong Kong ePrix||Next race:|
2019 Hong Kong ePrix