António Félix da Costa has won an incident-packed Buenos Aires ePrix, leading home Nicolas Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr. Amlin Aguri driver da Costa kept himself out of trouble throughout the race as accidents and penalties impacted his rivals, including championship leader Lucas di Grassi and pole sitter Sébastien Buemi, both of whom retired whilst leading.
Pre-race, Nick Heidfeld, Jean-Éric Vergne and Bruno Senna were awarded the FanBoost, with the drivers starting from third, sixth and nineteenth respectively.
Buemi won the start from pole, and led Jaime Alguersuari and Heidfeld away, although Heidfeld’s getawat was perhaps the best when he snuck past Alguersuari around the outside of the Turn 1 hairpin on the opening lap.
The race was unfolding calmly until the pit stop windows approached, when a suspension failure for Karun Chandhok through the Turn 8/9 chicane – and subsequent impact with the wall at Turn 10 – triggered the safety car for the first time.
Many teams took this opportunity to pit, however several drivers had to pass the safety car to un-lap themselves after their stops, after having to wait at the stop light at pit exit. Sam Bird, also running in the leading group, was handed a drive-through penalty as the Virgin racer ignored the pit exit lights and proceeding onto the track.
Upon the resumption of racing, Buemi encountered the same fate as Chandhok – suspension failure followed by a crash at Turn 10, handing the lead to di Grassi; Buemi’s failure was triggered by clipping the inside wall on the approach to the chicane.
Di Grassi’s lead lasted for two laps, when he too suffered a suspension failure at the Turn 8/9 chicane, leaving Heidfeld in the lead. The German proceeded to build a lead over Bird (who then served his drive through penalty and re-joined in 12th place), followed by da Costa who had moved up from his eighth-placed starting position. The curse of leading the race struck again, however, as Heidfeld was also handed a drive through for speeding in pit lane during his pit stop, which he would serve with one lap remaining.
This left da Costa to lead the final lap and take the win, as a battle raged behind him between Vergne, Alguersuari and Daniel Abt for the remaining podium positions. Contact between all three over the final laps – including Abt spinning Alguersuari – allowed Prost to avoid the carnage and slip through for second, along with Senna who recovered from losing a lap in the safety car/pit stop confusion to take third.
Post-race, three penalties were imposed: Salvador Duran’s Amlin Aguri was excluded for from the final results for exceeding the maximum permitted power usage, whilst grid penalties for the next race in Miami were issued to Piquet Jr (5 places – speeding under yellow flags) and Jarno Trulli (10 places – gearbox change).
Lucas di Grassi remains at the top of the championship table, but his lead has been reduced to 10 points over Bird, with Buemi in third a further five points behind. Despite missing the opening round of the championship, the 25 points Costa’s received for today’s win promoted him to sixth place in the standings. Prost’s second place has allowed e.dams-Renault to build an 11-point lead in the Team’s Championship, whilst Virgin Racing have moved up to second ahead of Audi Sport ABT.
Formula E now has a two-month break ahead of the fifth round, the Miami ePrix on Saturday March 14. Miami is the first of two back-to-back Unites States events in the series, with the Long Beach ePrix, to be conducted on a shortened version of the historic Long Beach GP circuit, on April 4.
2015 Formula E Buenos Aires e-Prix – Final Classification (35 laps):
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result|
|1.||António Félix da Costa||Amlin Aguri||35||48:52.100|
|2.||Nicolas Prost||Team e.dams Renault||35||+ 5.354|
|3.||Nelson Piquet Jr||China Racing Formula E Team||35||+ 8.552|
|4.||Jaime Alguersuari||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||35||+ 11.148|
|5.||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||35||+ 11.535|
|6.||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||35||+ 13.319|
|7.||Jean-Eric Vergne||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||35||+ 13.617|
|8.||Nick Heidfeld||VENTURI Formula E Team||35||+ 15.464|
|9.||Oriol Servia||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||35||+ 19.334|
|10.||Stéphane Sarrazin||VENTURI Formula E Team||35||+ 28.973|
|11.||Ho-Pin Tung||China Racing Formula E Team||35||+ 37.858|
|12.||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport Formula E Team||34||1 lap behind|
|13.||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||33||Collision|
|14.||Jérôme d’Ambrosio||Dragon Racing Formula E Team||33||2 laps behind|
|DNF.||Jarno Trulli||Trulli Formula E Team||30||+ 4.163|
|DNF.||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Formula E Team||26||Suspension|
|DNF.||Sébastien Buemi||Team e.dams Renault||23||Accident|
|DNF.||Michela Cerruti||Trulli Formula E Team||20||Mechanical|
|DNF.||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing Formula E Team||15||Suspension|
|EX.||Salvador Duran||Amlin Aguri||Power Use|
|Sam Bird||Virgin Racing Formula E Team||29||1:11.540|
Images via FIA Formula E Championship Media