The 18,000 fans at the 2017 Formula E Monaco race stretched to the edges of their seats at Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi battled around the narrow streets of the historic principality in the final laps toward the finish.
All teams had opted to pit for the mandatory car change during a caution period, so the race win came down to the final moments. With his FanBoost surge, Buemi was able to open up the lead to 1.6 seconds over di Grassi, but di Grassi was not daunted. The two drivers swept to the barriers, cut through narrow turns, and out-strategized each other when any gaps appeared. But, on this track where little passing is possible, qualifying position is desperately important, and Buemi battled the tremendous pressure from di Grassi for his fourth FIA Formula E Championship win of the season. His lead is now 15 points ahead of di Grassi.
This fifth round of the 2016/17 championship, which took place on the most famous and historic street circuit in the racing world today, began with only a five point differential between the top racers. To win at Monaco is a feat like no other, and Buemi’s victory placed him among a choice few racers who can boast of the accomplishment. Buemi had a perfect start to the season until Mexico, when Lucas di Grassi flabbergasted the crowd as he pulled from behind to take the win. Sebastien Buemi, undaunted, came back to claim his place as Formula E superstar as he won the e-Prix at Monaco.
Nick Heidfeld brought his M3Electro to the finish line for the first Formula E podium for Mahindra Racing. With a fine third place performance today, Heidfeld has shown well at the Monaco circuit in other series, with podiums in the 2005 Formula 1, the 1998 International Formula 3000, and the 1997 Formula 3. His teammate Felix Rosenqvist placed sixth overall, so Mahindra Racing recorded its best ever performance in the three years of the FIA Formula E championship.
Formula E Monaco News across the Field
In other Formula E Monaco news, Jean-Eric Vergne’s crash with Nelson Piquet, Jr. outside Turn 3 caused an injury to JEV’s hand that may dampen his upcoming Paris Formula E race. JEV was heard to utter that Piquet, Jr. may have “destroyed” his chances after the two drivers went side-by-side through the corner and banged wheels on the exit.
DS Virgin’s Sam Bird missed out on the top ten after a collision with a barrier forced him out of the Formula E Monaco race and into the pits for repairs. The British driver continues to hope for a good season showing, saying, “We are too far back, but I will do my best to regain ground and try and fight for the top three.” Bird eventually rejoined the field three laps down but did earn the bonus point for fastest lap. Bird’s teammate, Jose Maria Lopez, sustained front and rear wing damage in the opening lap mashup.
BMWi News at Formula E Monaco
The high hopes for the BMWi powertrain testing during the Formula E Monaco race were dampened in the ever-important qualifying session, as the MS Amlin Andretti Team drivers found themselves far back in the pack. Robin Frijns qualified in 13th position, while António Félix da Costa fell to 17th position. Although BMW ran the standard Formula E technology in the series’ first two seasons, it ran its own powertrain for the first time in the Formula E Monaco race.
The BMW i8 (fuel consumption combined: 2.1 l/100 km / 134.5 mpg imp; CO2 emissions combined: 49 g/km) will continue as the high-performance, efficient Safety Car in Formula E, according to BMWBlog. The BMW i3 (energy consumption combined: 12.9 kWh; CO2 emissions combined: 0 g/km) serves as the “Medical Car” and “Race Director Car. ” The BMW X5 xDrive40e (fuel consumption combined: 3.4–3.3 l/100 km / 83.1–85.6 mpg imp; CO2 emissions combined: 78–77 g/km; figures based on the EU test cycle, may vary depending on the tyre format specified) takes on the role of “Rescue Car” or “Extrication Car.”
Advances in Formula E technology across the three years of the championship have resulted in faster cars and longer races. The Formula E Monaco race ran a full four laps longer than the 47 total laps of year one.
Photo credit: Foter.com