Brazilian driver Lucas DiGrassi took the first win of the all-new, all-electric Formula E series earlier today, driving the Audi Sport ABT car we covered back in March. DiGrassi inherited the win after a violent, last-corner crash took out Prost and Heidfeld. It was a nasty, nasty crash – but it did a lot to highlight some of the highs and lows of Formula E.
First, let’s take a look at the crash, itself.
Nick Heidfeld Formula E Crash at Beijing
Heidfeld was OK, but his crazed move on Prost at the end of the race underlines how quickly things can happen in Formula E, and how badly these guys want to win. It’s very much a for-real racing series, in other words, and all the drivers have something to prove.
That said, the car-switching was awkward and clumsy, and did nothing for the show, itself. Motorsport’s Nick DeGroot (who stayed up until 5AM watching the race live), described it perfectly:
The driver screams into the garage, leaps from one car into an identical one, with a few engineers to help buckle him or her in. If you have to change cars, maybe you should change drivers, too? (That could create) n opportunity for well-funded “gentlemen drivers” to compete … anyway, it looked sort of awkward and undermanned.
“Awkward and unplanned” is not how anyone who’s watched a Formula 1 pitstop or Daytona 24 Hour driver change would would describe the thing. Hopefully, this is not part of the sport that survives for very long.
All in all, it seems like the fledgling new series is off to a promising start. Don’t take my word for it, though – Nick has put together a massive, 380+ photo gallery with cars, drivers, highlights, and more over at Motorsport.com. I’ve picked a few of my favorites, below, but it’s definitely worth a look. Enjoy!