|2015 Buenos Aires ePrix|
Circuit Layout for the 2015 Buenos Aires ePrix
|Date||10 January 2015|
|Official Name||2015 FIA Formula E Buenos Aires ePrix|
|Location||Puerto Madero Circuit, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires, Argentina|
|Lap length||2.407 km (1.496 mi)|
|Distance||35 laps / 84.245 km (52.347 mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Sébastien Buemi|
|Fastest Lap||1:11.540 on lap 29|
|António Félix da Costa||Nicolas Prost||Nelson Piquet Jr.|
|Winner Team||Amlin Aguri|
|2014 Punta del Este ePrix||2015 Miami ePrix|
The 2015 Buenos Aires ePrix, officially known as the 2015 FIA Formula E Buenos Aires ePrix, was the fourth ePrix of the 2014/15 FIA Formula E Championship, staged at the Puerto Madero Circuit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 10 January 2015. The race would see António Félix da Costa claim a shock victory for Amlin Aguri after some mid-race drama for an otherwise dominant Lucas di Grassi.
It was Sébastien Buemi whom claimed pole position during the qualifying session, the Swiss racer just edging out Jaime Alguersuari by 0.027s, a then record margin. Nick Heidfeld then edged out the second Virgin of Sam Bird for third, while di Grassi shared the third row with Jean-Éric Vergne.
Buemi duly pulled into the lead at the start of the race, as Heidfeld and Alguersuari fought furiously for second through the first few corners. The rest of the field thundered through in their wake, with no issues in the early stages.
di Grassi was the man on the move during the first few laps, the Brazilian carving through to take second from Heidfeld, as the German himself went the otherway. Indeed, a move by Bird ultimately ended the German's hopes of a strong finish, with Heidfeld's Venturi elbowed out wide at the first corner to allow a gaggle of cars to slip past.
The pitwindow would, however, see confusion grip the field, for Karun Chandhok crashed heavily to bring out the BMW Qualcomm i8 safety car as half the field made their stops. The result was that the wrong car, namely Bird who was among the early stoppers, was picked up by the BMW, with the officials taking several minutes to finally re-order the pack.
Buemi duly restarted the race in the lead, but his sprint clear was ruined when the Swiss racer clipped the barriers at the chicane, breaking his suspension. di Grassi therefore inherited the lead, only to suffer his own suspension drama, handing the lead to Heidfeld, whom had Bird and da Costa on his tail.
However, quickfire penalties saw both Heidfeld and Bird head into the pits before the chequered flag, meaning a shock victory was on the cards for da Costa, if he could keep Vergne at bay in the closing stages. The Portuguese racer duly did so to claim his first victory in FE, while Nicolas Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr. completed the podium as Vergne lost pace late on.
The fourth round of the inaugural 2014/15 FIA Formula E Championship saw the field assemble in Buenos Aires in Argentina for the first time. The circuit itself was formed in the Puerto Madero district of the Argentine capital, with the start and finish lines separated due to the location of the pit complex. In terms of layout the circuit was a mile and a half long, with a mix of hairpins, sweeps and chicanes.
The big news ahead of the inaugural Buenos Aires ePrix was conformation that Franck Montagny had failed a drugs test after the 2014 Putrajaya ePrix, with the FIA suspending the Frenchman with immediate effect. Indeed, his suspension meant that the second seat at Andretti Autosport was available once again, with the American squad deciding to hand Marco Andretti, grandson of Formula One legend Mario Andretti, his FE debut alongside Jean-Éric Vergne. Montagny, meanwhile, would be subsequently banned from competing in any FIA sanctioned event for two years after an investigation was completed in March 2015.
Elsewhere, it was confirmed that Ho-Pin Tung would be returning to the grid, the Chinese racer having missed the 2014 Punta del Este ePrix through other commitments. His replacement Antonio Garcia therefore returned to serving as the team's reserve racer.
Lucas di Grassi came to Buenos Aires with an eighteen point lead in the Driver's championship, with Sam Bird and Sébastien Buemi tied on 40 points. Nicolas Prost was slowly climbing into the title fight, having overtaken Nelson Piquet Jr. for fourth, but the pair were already more than 30 points behind di Grassi.
Audi Sport ABT had, meanwhile, lost their lead in the Team's championship in Punta del Este, and now sat two points behind e.dams-Renault on 62 points. Virgin Racing were in clean air in third, eight behind ABT and eighteen ahead of Dragon Racing. Dragon however, would have to focus on fending off Andretti Autosport, whom were sat on 33 points, just three back. The Venturi Formula E Team sat at the bottom of the Team's standings, three points behind Amlin Aguri, after Trulli GP picked up their first points in Uruguay.
The full entry list for the 2015 Buenos Aires ePrix is displayed below:
The qualifying groups were announced shortly after practice one, with the draw carried out at random. Starting at 12:00pm, the drivers had ten minutes in their groups to set their fastest time, following the usual proceedure.
Punta del Este winner Sebastien Buemi was joined by Sam Bird, Antonio Felix da Costa, Nelson Piquet Jr. and the returning Ho-Pin Tung of China Racing. Buemi came out on top in the group, setting the first time of the session and what proved to be the fastest in qualifying overall, handing e.dams-Renault their second pole of the season.
Bird was next in the group for Virgin Racing, setting a time two tenths slower than the Swiss driver, ultimately slipping to fourth overall. Next up were da Costa and Piquet, ending up eighth and ninth respectively overall, half a second slower than Buemi. Last in the group, and fifteenth overall, was Tung, whose return to Formula E in Buenos Aires saw him go one and a half seconds slower than his team mate.
Group 2 saw Jaime Alguersuari, Nicolas Prost, Michela Cerruti, Oriol Servià and championship leader Lucas di Grassi take to the track. It turned out that Alguersuari would be the class of the group, missing out on pole by just 0.027s for Virgin Racing. Di Grassi was next up for Audi Sport Abt, ending up fifth overall, looking to use his starting position to extend his championship lead. Prost also ended up in the top ten, although he could not match the pace of his Swiss team mate, placing seventh overall and half a second down.
Servià took thirteenth overall for Dragon Racing, with Cerruti down in seventeenth. Di Grassi, meanwhile, hit the wall with his right rear on his second lap, with Audi Sport Abt needing to repair the car after qualifying.
Next into the ring were the Venturi boys, Nick Heidfeld and Stephane Sarrazin, accompanied by Daniel Abt, Salvador Duran and Karun Chandhok. Heidfeld proved to be the fastest in the group, claiming third overall (pushing Bird down to fourth by just 0.021s), with team mate Sarrazine down in eleventh. Chandhok out-qualified Sarrazine by three tenths to take tenth for Mahindra Racing, with Abt in close attendance in twelfth. Duran was slowest in the group, ending up in sixteenth.
Marco Andretti made his debut for Andretti Autosport as part of the final group in qualifying, joined by a host of former Formula One drivers. Andretti team mate Jean-Eric Vergne went fastest in the group, completing the session in sixth, with Andretti himself ending the session in a positive fourteenth, just over a second off of his team mate's time.
The final three places on the grid would be occupied by the remaining members of the group. Jerome d'Ambrosio took eighteenth after a difficult session for Dragon Racing, while Bruno Senna claimed nineteenth, but was over four seconds slower than polesetter Buemi, Completing the grid was Jarno Trulli, after a crash at turn six ended his session early without setting a time.
The final qualifying result for the 2015 Buenos Aires ePrix are outlined below:
|2015 Buenos Aires ePrix Qualifying Result|
|2nd||3||Jaime Alguersuari||Virgin Racing||1:09.161||+0.027s||2||G2|
|3rd||23||Nick Heidfeld||Venturi Formula E Team||1:09.367||+0.233s||3||G3|
|4th||2||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||1:09.388||+0.254s||4||G1|
|5th||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT||1:09.521||+0.387s||5||G2|
|6th||27||Jean-Éric Vergne||Andretti Autosport||1:09.527||+0.393s||6||G4|
|8th||55||António Félix da Costa||Amlin Aguri||1:09.658||+0.524s||8||G1|
|9th||99||Nelson Piquet Jr.||China Racing||1:09.742||+0.608s||9||G1|
|10th||5||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing||1:09.875||+0.741s||10||G3|
|11th||30||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||1:10.165||+1.031s||11||G3|
|12th||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT||1:10.329||+1.195s||12||G3|
|13th||6||Oriol Servià||Dragon Racing||1:10.588||+1.454s||13||G2|
|14th||28||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||1:10.713||+1.579s||14||G4|
|15th||88||Ho-Pin Tung||China Racing||1:11.049||+1.915s||15||G1|
|16th||77||Salvador Duran||Amlin Aguri||1:11.331||+2.197s||16||G3|
|17th||18||Michela Cerruti||Trulli Formula E Team||1:11.785||+2.651s||17||G2|
|18th*||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||1:12.239||+3.105s||PL||G4|
|19th||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||1:13.209||+4.075s||19||G4|
|107% Time: 1:16.047|
|NC†||10||Jarno Trulli||Trulli Formula E Team||—||20||G4|
- * d'Ambrosio qualified eighteenth, but work on his car prevented him from starting on the grid.
- † Trulli failed to set a time in qualifying, but was allowed to start at the stewards discretion.
Ahead of the race it was revealed that Jerome d'Ambrosio had some major issues after qualifying, with Dragon Racing unable to get the issues fixed before the pitlane was officially closed prior of the start. The Belgian would therefore start from the pitlane, although the grid order was not adjusted to accommodate this. With the start line set away from the finish line, the cars assembled on a dummy grid behind the finish line before the race, before going through the final sector to line up on the grid proper for the start.
Off the line, Sebastien Buemi gained a small lead after a good start, although it would be overshadowed by Heidfeld. The German driver had an excellent start to get alongside second place Jaime Alguersuari going into the first corner, although he was on the outside of the hairpin when they turned in. Alguersuari tapped the German as they went through the turn, sending Heidfeld into a controlled slide that got him around the Spanish Virgin, and allowed him to tuck in behind Buemi. It was a clean start throughout, with d'Ambrosio joining the field from the pitlane.
The field settled down quickly, with Buemi leading Heidfeld (whom used his fan boost in a failed attempt to get past on the third lap), while Alguersuari led Sam Bird, Lucas di Grassi, Antonio Felix da Costa, Vergne and several others. Di Grassi was already thinking of the championship, taking Bird and Alguersuari in short over as the ePrix reached the ten lap mark, before catching and passing Heidfeld in short order.
Heidfeld then lost pace (presumably to save energy), falling into the sights of Alguersuari whom took the German with relative ease. Bird was the next to attempt a pass on the German, trying into the first corner on the next lap. The Venturi driver was forced out wide by Bird, allowing da Costa to pass the German as well, with drama lower down the field set to cause confusion across the teams.
On lap 16, as the pitstop window approached, Karun Chandhok suffered a suspension failure at the turn eight/nine chicane, sending the Mahindra racer into the wall. Several drivers decided to pit, including Nelson Piquet Jr., Nicolas Prost, Alguersuari and Vergne, while others stayed out as the safety car was deployed. The leaders, meanwhile, were held up behind the slow Michela Cerruti (down at the back after damage to her nose in the opening laps), meaning Buemi, di Grassi, Bird and Heidfeld looked set to lose the lead when they stopped a lap later.
As they entered the pits, the safety car picked up Bird and co. whom had stopped earlier. The late stoppers then rejoined at the back of the pack, with Buemi, according to the timing screens, in the lead. The officials took their time to confirm that this was the case, before allowing some thirteen cars to pass the safety car before Buemi resumed the lead on track. As the early stoppers then attempted to get to the back of the que before the restart, the safety car started its seventh and final lap.
Buemi had a good start, leading di Grassi, Heidfeld, Bird and Alguersuari, until Bird was given a drive through penalty for ignoring a red light in the pits. Then, Buemi made a mistake, clipping the inside wall at the chicane where Chandhok had retired, breaking his front left suspension. Audi Sport ABT celebrated the incident as di Grassi took the lead, although their reaction proved to be premature.
Within two laps of Buemi's retirement, di Grassi suffered a suspension failure almost identical to that of Chandhok, meaning he was out of the race. Heidfeld now led from Bird, until the Brit served his penalty, leaving Heidfeld in the lead, with da Costa second. Yet, the drama was not yet over for the lead, as Heidfeld was hit with a drive through for speeding in the pits, dropping him back and out of the lead battle. Da Costa and Amlin Aguri were now, shockingly (even for themselves) in the lead of the race, although Vergne was in close attendance in second.
Vergne soon began to lift off to conserve power, meaning da Costa pulled out a small lead, while Vergne dropped into a pack containing Alguersuari, Prost and Abt. With a couple of laps to go, Abt tried an ambitious dive down the inside of Prost, only to misjudge his speed and the dirtiness of the track at the inside of turn six. With his brakes locked, Abt slammed into the side of Alguersuari, putting himself out of the race, and allowing Prost past the pair of them. Alguersuari continued, and would be involved later on.
Vergne now struggled serverly with pace, as Prost drove cleanly around him to take second, while Piquet (believing himself to be a lap down) ran passed quickly for third. Alguersuari was another to take the ailing Andretti, before Senna tried to get past. Senna cruised past Vergne between turns six and seven, with Vergne opting to take the inside, before locking up and hitting the side of the sole Mahindra, pushing Senna into a slide. Both continued, with Senna holding on to the fifth place he had just taken.
But, it was to be a historic day for Amlin Aguri, as da Costa swept home to take his and the team's first victory, with a late charging Prost grabbing second. The podium was completed by Piquet, still under the belief that he was a lap down for China Racing, with Alguersuari and Senna completing the top five. Salvador Duran came home eighth to make it a double points day for Amlin Aguri, until he was excluded from the results after it was found he had used too much power during the race.
The final classification of the 2015 Buenos Aires ePrix is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2015 Buenos Aires ePrix Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||55||António Félix da Costa||Amlin Aguri||35||48:52.100||1:12.694||25|
|3rd*||99||Nelson Piquet Jr.||China Racing||35||+8.552s||1:11.591||15|
|4th||3||Jaime Alguersuari||Virgin Racing||35||+11.148s||1:12.292||12|
|5th||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||35||+11.535s||1:11.923||10|
|6th||27||Jean-Éric Vergne||Andretti Autosport||35||+13.319s||1:12.205||8|
|7th||2||Sam Bird||Virgin Racing||35||+13.617s||1:11.540||8|
|8th||23||Nick Heidfeld||Venturi Formula E Team||35||+15.464s||1:12.217||4|
|9th||6||Oriol Servià||Dragon Racing||35||+19.334s||1:12.551||2|
|10th||30||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||35||+28.973s||1:13.149||1|
|11th†||88||Ho-Pin Tung||China Racing||35||+1:12.858||1:13.420|
|12th||28||Marco Andretti||Andretti Autosport||34||+1 Lap||1:13.014|
|13th‡||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT||33||Accident||1:12.164|
|14th||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||33||+2 Laps||1:11.574|
|Ret§||10||Jarno Trulli||Trulli Formula E Team||30||Gearbox||1:13.049|
|Ret||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT||26||Suspension||1:12.114|
|Ret||18||Michela Cerruti||Trulli Formula E Team||20||Retired||1:16.300|
|Ret||5||Karun Chandhok||Mahindra Racing||15||Suspension||1:13.050|
|DSQƒ||77||Salvador Duran||Amlin Aguri||35||Excluded||1:12.747|
- Indicates a driver was awarded FanBoost during the race.
- * Piquet was awarded a five place grid penalty for Miami for speeding under yellow flags.
- † Tung was awarded a time penalty for not respecting the minimum pitstop time.
- ‡ Abt was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.
- § Trulli will serve a ten place grid penalty in Miami after a change of gearbox.
- Duran was excluded from the race result after his telemetry showed he had used more energy than permitted in the regulations.
- First ePrix to be staged in Buenos Aires.
- Debut race for Marco Andretti.
- First pole position for Sébastien Buemi.
- Also the third pole position for Renault-e.dams as an entrant.
- Antonio Felix da Costa claimed his first victory in Formula E.
- Amlin Aguri recorded their first win as an entrant.
- Maiden fastest lap recorded by Sam Bird.
Lucas di Grassi remained in the lead of the championship leaving South America, but was now under pressure from Sam Bird after his retirement. Sebastien Buemi slipped to third, while Nicolas Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr. made significant gains in their pursuit of the title. There was now less than a win seperating di Grassi in first, from Piquet in fifth.
The Team's Championship, meanwhile, saw a significant shift in favour of e.dams-Renault, as Audi Sport ABT failed to score. The French based team now led Virgin Racing by eleven points, with the Germans a further twelve behind. Andretti Autosport overtook Dragon Racing to head to North America as the best placed American team, while Amlin Aguri jumped to eighth after António Félix da Costa's victory.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
Videos and Images:
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- 'Antonio Felix da Costa wins chaotic Buenos Aires ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 10/01/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/january/antonio-felix-da-costa-wins-chaotic-buenos-aires-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 27/04/2015)
- 'Buemi to start from pole position in Buenos Aires ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 10/01/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/january/buemi-to-start-from-pole-position-in-buenos-aires-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 27/04/2015)
- Cite error: Invalid
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- 'Marco Andretti to race in Buenos Aires ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 02/01/2015), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2015/january/marco-andretti-to-race-in-buenos-aires-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 30/04/2015)
- 'Tung Returns for Buenos Aires', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 31/12/2014), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2014/december/tung-returns-for-buenos-aires.aspx, (Accessed 27/04/2015)
- 'Round 4 - Buenos Aires ePrix: Results Booklet', fiaformulae.alkamelsystems.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015), http://fiaformulae.alkamelsystems.com/Results/00_2014-15/05_Buenos%20Aires/62_FIA%20Formula%20E%20Championship/201501102014_Argentina_BOOKLET.pdf, (Accessed 29/07/2018)
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