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03 Jul. 2016

Renault e.dams wins second FIA Formula E championship title, Sébastien Buemi crowned drivers’ champion

Renault e.dams wins second FIA Formula E championship title, Sébastien Buemi crowned drivers’ champion

03 Jul. 2016

The drive and dynamism of Renault e.dams was duly rewarded today as a double win for Nico Prost in the London ePrix saw the French squad crowned FIA Formula E champion for a second consecutive year. A dramatic season finale in Battersea Park, London, where Sébastien Buemi had to race for fastest lap to gain the necessary points, brought double delight for the team as he was crowned drivers’ champion.

Renault e.dams embraced the challenge of the Formula E championship from the outset. It took the inaugural Formula E teams’ title in the first year of competition in 2014/15 but narrowly missed the drivers’ title that year.

An overhaul of the technical regulations for the second year, in which teams were given freedom over the powertrain, allowed Renault opportunity to put its technical expertise to adept use. Using its extensive EV know-how and facilities, which helped to create the avant-garde Twizy and ZOE, Renault e.dams quickly emerged as the title favourites.

The team won the first race of the second season in Beijing by a dominant 11 seconds. Another victory followed in round three in Punta del Este, plus podiums in Buenos Aires, Mexico and Paris. The team returned to winning ways in Berlin, setting up a nail-biting title showdown in London. Nico Prost took the spoils in the first race in London, edging Renault e.dams closer to the title, and his lights-to-flag victory in race two secured the crown.

Sébastien’s race to the title was much more dramatic. Wins in Beijing, Punta del Este and Berlin put him one point behind Lucas di Grassi coming into London. Fifth place in the first of the double header set up the title showdown for the second race, but it was not to be a textbook finale. A first lap collision with Lucas di Grassi damaged both Séb and Lucas’ cars, but with both level on points after Séb secured pole, the Swiss needed to continue to secure the title. What followed was a game of cat and mouse: with both out of the points, Séb and Lucas tried to secure the extra points for fastest lap. Ultimately a last-gasp run on the penultimate lap gave Séb the title, his first Formula E crown following a near-miss last year.

Sébastien has scored a total of 155 points and three wins en route to his first Formula E title. Nico has won twice to score a total of 115 points and finish the championship in third position.

Renault has used – and will continue the use – the trail-blazing series as a platform to road-test cutting edge electric vehicle technology, allowing thousands of road users to benefit everyday. Renault now leads the market in ZE sales.

Sébastien Buemi: “I struggle to believe it today. It’s amazing to be the champion after a very tough season. It was not how I wanted to win the title today if I’m honest. We had the crash at the start and our only choice was to win on the fastest lap. We had to give everything; tactics, placement… But I’m extremely happy for everyone. Everyone has worked so hard to get here and they deserve the title. The cleanest and fastest driver won and the best team too.”

Nicolas Prost: “It’s been a dream weekend. The pace in the last few races has been very strong so we knew that we would be the team to beat this weekend, but you never take anything for granted. We’ve had a fantastic weekend, with two wins, so you can’t get much better than this. Yesterday was important as I have had a very difficult season, but bounced back gradually and found the winning form right at the end. I’m so pleased to have secured third in the championship, delighted for Séb and of course very proud of this phenomenal team.”

Alain Prost, senior team manager, Renault e.dams: “I am extremely proud of the team today. Formula E is one of the most competitive environments I have ever experienced, and to win two titles today is an extraordinary achievement. We were fighting against top teams and drivers and never took it as a given that we could win. We have worked hard all year to put together the best car possible and Renault did a fantastic job with the powertrain. Two titles in two years is a fantastic tribute to everyone who has given their time and effort to the team.”

Jean-Paul Driot, senior team manager, Renault e.dams: “It is difficult to express emotions as you experience in these moments. You hope and you dream of these things, but when they actually happen you find it hard to get the right words. I am proud of each and every team member for contributing to these victories. We have built a professional and capable team that has risen to the challenge in the toughest of environments. We are proud of the team and our partnership with Renault. We have not made things easy for ourselves, and today was particularly tough, but we came through in the end and can enjoy these times now!”

Jérôme Stoll, President of Renault Sport Racing: “We are absolutely delighted with the titles today. The Formula E championship is an ideal platform for Renault to demonstrate the innovation and quality of its electric vehicle technology. The opening of the technical regulations in season two was a perfect opportunity for the teams at Renault Sport and our motorsport engine operations and the Technocentre, the nerve centre of road car design, to put their advanced skills and understanding of EV technology to the test. The robustness and speed of the package they put together was quickly acknowledged as the best in the field, and I am extremely pleased that we now have the titles to say so officially! Congratulations to the team and to Sébastien. We look forward to the developments we have seen on track this year being put to good use by our road car users in the latest generation of ZE vehicles.”

 

 

03 Jul. 2016

Sébastien Buemi and Nico Prost line up on front row for championship decider

Sébastien Buemi and Nico Prost line up on front row for championship decider

03 Jul. 2016

Renault e.dams Sébastien Buemi and Nico Prost will line up for this afternoon’s title decider on the front row. Séb’s title rival Lucas di Grassi starts third, setting up a nail-biting finale in Battersea Park, London. The extra three points for pole now puts the contenders neck and neck going into the final race of the season.

Sébastien had picked Q3 in the earlier lottery. Unlike yesterday where the session took place on a damp track, the Swiss driver had near-perfect conditions. He smashed the first lap, setting a 1 :22.106 to sit top of the standings. His scorching lap was then bettered in the Superpole session to claim the pole and – crucially – extra points.

‘It’s good to be on pole for the race and starting ahead, I hope it will be a smooth race as well!’ said Séb, ‘If Nico can now do the same job that Abt did yesterday it would be very good. He’s not normally the type of guy that closes the door massively, but if he can help out it would be very welcome ! The race is long so we need to all keep focussed and do what we need to do.’

Nico’s strong weekend form continued. After winning the race from pole position yesterday the Frenchman had strong hopes for a repeat today. He was out in Q1 and, as per yesterday, was the quickest of his session with a 1 :22.878 – over a second quicker than his rivals. He laid down a marker in Superpole by going even quicker and was only bettered by his team-mate.

‘A great start to the race with an all-Renault front row. I think Sébastien is really flying today so he doesn’t need my help ! We tried to get first and second, which we managed, so it’s started very well so let’s hope it continues. We’ll see – Lucas is always very strong in the race so we’ll do what we need to do.’

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02 Jul. 2016

Prost wins from Senna in London to take Formula E titles down to the wire

Prost wins from Senna in London to take Formula E titles down to the wire

02 Jul. 2016

Renault e.dams extended its lead in the FIA Formula E championship with an emphatic victory for Nico Prost in the first race of the weekend at the Visa London ePrix. The Frenchman started from pole position and dominated the 33 lap race to win by over five seconds from Bruno Senna. Sébastien Buemi kept his championship hopes alive with a fighting fifth position, just behind championship rival Lucas di Grassi. Renault e.dams now has an 37 point advantage over Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport while Séb is now three points behind di Grassi – meaning everything is to play for in the final race of the season tomorrow.

Nico enjoyed a near-perfect day. He topped the timesheets in the first non-qualifying practice and followed it up with third position in the second practice. Picking the first session in the group qualifying lottery initially looked unfortunate, but it quickly proved to be a lucky draw as Nico was able to set the quickest time of the session as the rain came down after the conclusion of his group. Starting last in a drying Superpole session, Nico cruised to pole position for the first of the two London ePrix this weekend.

In the race Nico was able to have a clean getaway from the line and set about building a healthy lead over second-placed Bruno Senna. He was never headed; a smooth car change saw him retain the lead and even a last-gasp safety car could not stop his march towards his second-ever win in Formula E. He crossed the line more than five seconds ahead of Senna, taking 28 points to move into third position in the drivers’ championship with one round remaining.

Sébastien Buemi fought every lap of the race to recover from cruel luck in qualifying. The Swiss driver had started the day well, with third fastest in the first practice session and the quickest time in the second. As a Q3 qualifier, he however fell foul of the heavy rain that arrived just before the start of his session. On a damp, slippery track he could only muster the 14th quickest time with title rival Lucas di Grassi 11th.

With the gauntlet firmly laid before him, Séb started aggressively and immediately took three places to move into 11th overall. In two laps he took Loïc Duval and then Nick Heidfeld to find himself tucked up behind di Grassi. While di Grassi eased past his team-mate Daniel Abt on lap 5, Séb found himself bottled up behind the German in ninth. Lap after lap Séb tried to find a way past, and an opportunity finally presented itself on lap 15 when Sam Bird lost a position to Abt and Séb squeezed through past both to take seventh.

Di Grassi was the next target but again Séb could not find a way through on the tight, sinuous Battersea Park circuit. There was almost a chance when di Grassi broke his front wing on lap 26, but the Brazilian kept going and again Séb’s moves could not stick. The safety car on lap 30 when third-placed Oliver Turvey hit the wall gave scant reward, but Séb was able to gain one place to fifth when Bird dropped back on lap 31.

Nico’s win and Séb’s fifth place adds to Renault e.dams’ tally of points. The team now has an 37 point gap over ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport going into tomorrow’s title decider. Séb has lost a little ground to di Grassi in the drivers’ race, with 150 points to di Grassi’s 153 with just one race remaining, but there is still everything to play for in both championships.

#8 Nico: “That’s the kind of race you always want: to start from the front and then just control it. It was fantastic. There is never an easy race, but it doesn’t get better than this one! I didn’t know about everything going on behind me, I just stayed focussed myself as the worst that can happen in this situation is that you mess up. I was just counting the laps and trying to keep it on the track to get to the end as the win was there. When the safety car came out I did have a swear word or two, but in the end we had a fantastic car and I was able to pull away very easily again. We can be pretty confident tomorrow now. To have a back to back win would be fantastic, but the track changes a lot dependent on the weather conditions. We have to concentrate and make sure we score the maximum points we can to keep the teams’ championship. For me, I will try to help Séb where possible as well.”

#9 Sébastien: “Unfortunately I had rain during my qualifying this morning and obviously I didn’t qualify as high as I would have liked, but it was the same for Lucas so I didn’t really mind. I was really quick in the race. I had a lot of energy to use but sometimes being quick isn’t enough, especially on this track where it’s very difficult to overtake. I struggled to attack Daniel, who was acting like a bodyguard for Lucas and I had to make a move that was safe enough. When Lucas had the broken front wing he was very slow. I had two opportunities to pass him but because his front wing was damaged I didn’t take the risk as I thought he would get a flag for him to stop – but that never happened. I feel that there’s been a lack of consistency today; in Berlin they called in Sam Bird immediately when his wing moved just a little bit whereas today Lucas wasn’t called in. The objective for us now is to have a clean day on Sunday. Of course we want to finish ahead of our main opponents tomorrow and for sure I also think a lot about the drivers’ championship. I have the speed to win so let’s see what will happen.”

Vincent Gaillardot, Renault Sport Project Leader: “We showed this weekend that the improvements brought to London have worked perfectly. We saw that Nico was able to manage his qualifying flawlessly and his race safely. Of course due to the way the race unfolded and the nature of the track Sébastien wasn’t able to overtake easily but the potential was there and the car is competitive. This is good for tomorrow. We have made a step towards our objective and today’s result is positive. We will work this evening with a view to optimise the package we have and prepare for Sunday.”

Jean-Paul Driot, Senior Team Manager: “It was a great result for Nico today and I’m very happy for him. He has had an exceptional day from 08:15 this morning until the chequered flag. I’m very pleased that he’s found his self-confidence again and today he’s really shown it. We were a bit frustrated by the fact that we had to start the race with Séb so far down the grid because of the weather conditions he had in qualifying, and luckily he was in the same group as di Grassi. I thought that they put on a very good show in today’s race but I’m a bit frustrated at the same time because Abt was hard on us and almost dangerous. We also felt that there has been a lack of consistency with di Grassi having not been called in when his front wing broke when we had been earlier this season, but that’s racing. We still have two championships to fight for tomorrow. Sunday will be extremely interesting and the challenge remains very high.”

Alain Prost, Senior Team Manager: “We’ve witnessed two races in one today. The race at the front with Nico, then Séb’s behind him. Nico had a great day and was strong from the first few laps he did this morning. Séb’s day unfolded differently as he qualified in rainy conditions and he and di Grassi started the race much lower on the grid. We were battling for both championships at the same time today. It’s not ideal but we have managed to consolidate our position in the team’s championship and lose very little in the driver’s championship. We need to get Séb in the position to win tomorrow and of course we are still focused on both titles. These are very special days that are very intense. We are happy with today’s result and a big well done to Nico, who has been fighting back these past few races and who was on top of his performance today.”

Renault e.dams will be back in action tomorrow for the final round of the year. Whatever happens, both titles will be decided as a result.

 

 

02 Jul. 2016

Nico Prost to start from pole for London ePrix #1

Nico Prost to start from pole for London ePrix #1

02 Jul. 2016

Nico Prost will start the first of the two London ePrix from pole position following a dramatic, rain-affected qualifying. The third pole of Nico’s career sees him start alongside Bruno Senna and ahead of Oliver Turvey.

Nico was out in Q1, which took place in glorious sunny conditions. Although disrupted when Ma Qing Hua stopped on track and Jean-Eric Vergne hit the wall, Nico set the benchmark of 1 :23.247. His time wasn’t bettered throughout the entire qualifying as heavy rain arrived during a second red flag period in Q2 when Stéphane Sarrazin hit the wall.

‘For me everything worked out OK. I was in the right group and then it was clear it was harder to go out at the end of the session with the rain. The trac kwas still wet in Superpole so you needed to get in the groove, find the right performance and not crack under the pressure. We will see for the race. It’s very long and anything can happen with the weather so we need to stay concentrated and do everything we can.’

Dramatically, both title contenders Sébastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi were out in Q3. The heavy rain had passed, but the track remained damp. In such conditions times were necessarily much slower than the earlier groups. Sebastien set a 1 :36.771 while title rival di Grassi set a 1 :35.711. With Q4 slightly drier, Seb’s time was only good enough for 14th on the grid with his rival 11th.

‘I didn’t take enough risks,’ said Seb after the session. ‘But the race is long so we will see. I’ve come from the back of the grid before to get a podium, but in London it will be much harder. The only problem is that there will be a few cars in between myself and Lucas. But what is done is done, so we have to look forward to the race now.’

Drivers // Team

NICO
PROST

SEBASTIEN
BUEMI

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JEAN-PAUL DRIOT
ALAIN PROST

PARTNERS

RACE CALENDAR

24 / October
BEIJING
Prost -   Buemi 1
07 / November
PUTRAJAYA
Prost 10   Buemi 12
19 / December
PUNTA DEL ESTE
Prost 5   Buemi 1
06 / February
BUENOS AIRES
Prost 5   Buemi 2
12 / March
MEXICO CITY
Prost 3   Buemi 2
02 / April
LONG BEACH
Prost 11   Buemi 16
23 / April
PARIS
Prost 4   Buemi 3
21 / May
BERLIN
Prost 4   Buemi 1
02 / July
LONDON
03 / July
LONDON
09 / October
HONG KONG
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