|2016 Long Beach ePrix|
The Long Beach circuit for Formula E
|Date||2 April 2016|
|Official Name||2016 Faraday Future Long Beach ePrix|
|Location||Long Beach Street Circuit, Long Beach, California, USA|
|Lap length||2.131 km (1.324 mi)|
|Distance||41 laps / 87.371 km (54.290 mi)|
|Pole Sitter||Sam Bird|
|Team||DS Virgin Racing|
|Fastest Lap||0:57.938 on lap 28|
|Lucas di Grassi||Stéphane Sarrazin||Daniel Abt|
|Winner Team||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport|
|2016 Mexico City ePrix||2016 Paris ePrix|
The 2016 Long Beach ePrix, otherwise officially advertised as the 2016 Faraday Future Long Beach ePrix was the sixth round of the 2015/16 FIA Formula E Championship, held on 2 April 2016 at the Long Beach Street Circuit in Long Beach, California, USA. The ePrix would use the same modified version of the legendary Long Beach Street Circuit that FE had used in 2015, although the race would not follow the same result.
Sam Bird was the man to beat after qualifying, the Brit having snatched pole during the Super Pole shootout by 0.009s from Lucas di Grassi. In truth, the Brit had in fact inherited his pole slot, for António Félix da Costa had initially set the quali-pace, only to be thrown out after the session as his tyres were found to be below the minimum pressure dictated by Michelin.
A strong start from Bird would see the Brit hold the lead into the tight first chicane, with di Grassi fending off Stéphane Sarrazin to secure second. Behind, Robin Frijns almost caused an accident when he slammed on his brakes at the head of the chasing pack, causing a lot of minor contact as the field condensed behind him.
The top three quickly pulled away from the rest of the field, leaving Frijns as the centre of attention during the early stages. Indeed, it was the Dutchman's brisk defending that ultimately caught the eye, with Heidfeld having a huge moment on the dirt at turn five while trying to take the Andretti, ultimately relegating him back behind Sébastien Buemi, Daniel Abt and Nicolas Prost.
Buemi was the man to watch over the following laps, with the Swiss racer scything past Abt, before launching an attack on Frijns. Unfortunately for the Championship leader he would slam into the back of the Andretti after one aborted dive went wrong, putting both in the pits with damage. As all that was going on, di Grassi slipped ahead of Bird to take the lead, with the top three very much on their own.
The pit window came and went with only one significant revision to the order, with Prost getting slapped with a penalty for completing his stop under the minimum pitstop time. On track, meanwhile, Bird was working hard to recover the lead, only to send himself skating down an escape road while sizing up a move. He duly rejoined down in seventh, while di Grassi established a huge advantage over Sarrazin.
Into the closing stages and Nelson Piquet Jr. ended his race with a spectacular accident at the chicane, bringing out the BMW Qualcomm i8 safety car. di Grassi, whom had been in position to lap his compatriot at the time of his crash duly aced the restart to hold the lead, although Sarrazin remained glued to his tail.
Yet, time would run out for Sarrazin to make a move stick on the Brazilian, meaning di Grassi swept home to claim his second victory of the season. Behind Sarrazin came di Grassi's teammate Abt in third, while Simona de Silvestro made history by becoming the first woman to score points in Formula E having finished ninth.
Long Beach returned to the Championship as the second venue to use a pre-established racing facility in 2015/16. The circuit will be unchanged from 2015, with the entry list similarly unchanged from the previous round in Mexico City. In late March it was confirmed that Faraday Future would be the title sponsor for the round, which will also feature their concept car, the FFZERO1.
The title fight had taken a significant swing in Sébastien Buemi's favour at the Mexico City ePrix, after Lucas di Grassi was disqualified from the result. The Brazilian had won the race on the circuit with Buemi finishing second, but an underweight car saw him thrown out of the race result with ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport opting not to challenge the decision. Buemi was therefore left with a 22 point lead over the Brazilian, with Brit Sam Bird a further 16 points behind. Mexico City winner Jérôme d'Ambrosio sat in fourth just two points behind Bird, with his team mate Loïc Duval in fifth.
Indeed, a strong weekend for both Renault e.Dams and Dragon Racing in Mexico had seen them hit the top of the Teams' Championship in style. For the French outfit, a 136 point tally saw them lead the American squad by 34 points ahead of the Long Beach race, with ABT Schaeffler being displaced by the latter in the process. DS Virgin Racing were sat in no-mans-land in fourth, while NextEV TCR and Team Aguri would hope to continue their battle against misfortune at the tail end of the Championship.
The full entry list for the 2016 Long Beach ePrix is displayed below:
The now familiar group qualifying and Super Pole shootout system was once again in force in Long Beach, with the groups drawn shortly after FP2. Two groups of five and two groups of four drivers would have six minutes to set a flying lap, with the top five overall going through to the Super Pole shootout. The slowest of those five would then go out first, setting a time on an empty circuit before the fourth fastest driver is released and so on, until all of the top five have set a time to try to take pole.
The first of the two quintets in qualifying would hit the circuit shortly after 12:00, Sébastien Buemi headlining the group as Championship leader. Also among the contenders for the shootout was Sam Bird, while Jérôme d'Ambrosio would hope to reverse his practice form and rediscover his previous qualifying pace. Robin Frijns would hope to end the day in the top ten, while Oliver Turvey would hope a clean lap would allow him to beat team mate Nelson Piquet Jr..
Buemi's qualifying form had not been good before Long Beach, and so it proved once again, as a clean lap cost him valuable time early on. Bird, meanwhile, put together a stunning lap to smash the qualifying record and claim the overall lead in qualifying, with Buemi three tenths down in third, behind another surprise performer in Frijns. d'Ambrosio struggled with grip during the session and so looked in danger of slipping out of the top ten, while Turvey rounded out the first group of the day.
The first quartet of the session would go out in group two, with Nicolas Prost the stand out name ahead of the session. Loïc Duval and Stéphane Sarrazin would also be on circuit to do battle in their differing Venturi built cars, while Simona de Silvestro would hope to use her previous experience at Long Beach to propel herself into the top ten in qualifying.
Another poor performance from a Renault e.Dams machine as Prost went slower than Buemi to make it almost inevitable they would lose one or more car from the Shootout. Instead, it was Sarrazin who made waves in group two, as he claimed second behind Bird, with Duval setting a time just a few fractions of a second slower than Prost. de Silvestro rounded out the group, half a second slower than her team mate Frijns.
Group three would also see a quartet of challengers hit the circuit, Daniel Abt of the ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport team the only one with a realistic chance of breaking into the shootout. Jean-Éric Vergne may also have held a hope of getting into the Shootout given the pace of team mate Bird throughout the weekend, while Salvador Duran and Piquet Jr. looked likely to do battle at the back of the field.
Abt put together an impressive lap to leave Buemi on the verge of missing out on the shootout, as he claimed second from Sarrazin. Vergne slotted in between Prost and de Silvestro from group two, while Duran and Piquet Jr. headed to their expected positions at the back of the field.
The final group would see the second quintet of the session hit the circuit, with Championship challenger Lucas di Grassi on circuit with the advantage of knowing what time he would have to achieve to break into the Super Pole. The two Mahindras of Bruno Senna and Nick Heidfeld would also be on track, with Mike Conway and António Félix da Costa rounding out the group draw.
An incredible final session saw di Grassi oust his Championship rival from the shootout, as he completed an impressive lap to go second behind Bird. Yet, even he was out-staged when Heidfeld and then da Costa bested his time to break into the top five, leaving Conway and Senna to round out the group phase, the Brazilian in eleventh and Conway in sixteenth.
First out for the shootout would be Sarrazin, with a clean lap ensuring that he could not be ruled out for pole. di Grassi hit the circuit next, and a clean, strong lap saw him clear Sarrazin's time by over a tenth of a second, meaning Sarrazin was bumped to second. Heidfeld was next out, and his first sector was almost two tenths faster than di Grassi before the German made a mistake into the final hairpin saw him slip well behind the Brazilian driver's time.
da Costa was the penultimate driver, and his first sector suggested that he would struggle to beat Sarrazin. Yet, an incredible performance from the Portuguese driver in the final half of the lap saw him blast ahead of di Grassi, leaving Bird as the only man who could deny him a maiden pole. Yet, Bird was closer to di Grassi according to the stopwatch, besting the Brazilian by just nine thousandths of a second as da Costa claimed pole position for the first time.
Post qualifying scrutineering, however, would see two drivers lose their times from qualifying. The big story would be da Costa, who was excluded from the result as one of his tyres was found to be below the minimum tyre pressure allowed by Michelin. The entire field would be pushed up one position, while Piquet Jr. would also start from the back, being dropped ten places for having one of his e-motors changed.
The final qualifying results for the 2016 Long Beach ePrix are outlined below:
|2016 Long Beach ePrix Qualifying Result|
|1st||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||0:57.261||—||1||G1|
|2nd||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||0:57.270||+0.009s||2||G4|
|3rd||4||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||0:57.412||+0.151s||3||G2|
|4th||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||0:57.825||+0.564s||4||G4|
|EXC*||55||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||0:57.198||18||G4|
|1st||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||0:56.821||—||SP||G1|
|2nd*||55||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||0:57.079||+0.258s||SP||G4|
|3rd||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||0:57.129||+0.308s||SP||G4|
|4th||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||0:57.131||+0.310s||SP||G4|
|5th||4||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||0:57.136||+0.315s||SP||G2|
|6th||27||Robin Frijns||Amlin Andretti||0:57.145||+0.324s||5||G1|
|7th||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||0:57.151||+0.330s||6||G3|
|8th||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||0:57.189||+0.368s||7||G1|
|9th||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||0:57.284||+0.463s||8||G2|
|10th||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||0:57.288||+0.467s||9||G1|
|11th||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||0:57.383||+0.562s||10||G4|
|12th||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing||0:57.496||+0.675s||11||G3|
|13th||28||Simona de Silvestro||Amlin Andretti||0:57.696||+0.875s||12||G2|
|14th||88||Oliver Turvey||NextEV TCR||0:57.952||+1.131s||13||G1|
|15th†||1||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NextEV TCR||0:58.015||+1.194s||17||G3|
|16th||12||Mike Conway||Venturi Formula E Team||0:58.144||+1.323s||14||G4|
|17th||77||Salvador Duran||Team Aguri||0:58.417||+1.596s||15||G3|
|18th||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||0:59.049||+2.228s||16||G2|
|110% Time: 1:02.503|
- * da Costa excluded from qualifying after his tyres were found to be below the minimum pressure allowed by Michelin.
- † Piquet Jr. handed a ten place grid penalty for a changed e-motor. As his low qualifying position meant he would be unable to serve the full penalty, Piquet will have an extra ten seconds added to his minimum pitstop time.
Dry and warm on the pacific coast of the United States, the Long Beach ePrix was expected to be a close run affair with Sam Bird hoping to emulate Nelson Piquet Jr. from the previous year and launch his Championship campaign with victory. FanBoost voting remained open as the field lined up in their grid slots, with eyes also on Sébastien Buemi and António Félix da Costa to see how well they climbed through the field.
An even start throughout the field saw Bird claim the perfect line, and the lead, into the first chicane ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Stéphane Sarrazin. Robin Frijns, meanwhile, almost created some drama after braking heavily into the first corner sent his car into a tank slapping slither, although quick reactions meant he kept the car pointing straight and held fifth place. Further down, the tight chicane caused some congestion, although a good exit for da Costa saw him vault ahead of Piquet Jr. to begin his climb through the field.
Indeed, as the top three began to pull away the attention was on the Portuguese driver as he made his way past Mike Conway and Salvador Duran before the end of the second lap. Jean-Éric Vergne, meanwhile, was falling down the order, Jérôme d'Ambrosio slotting past the DS Virgin Racing machine into turn five, as Buemi began to shape up his first move of the day. But, the focus was back with da Costa, who sent his Team Aguri run Spark-Renault up the inside of Loïc Duval into the hairpin at turn seven, the pair exchanging a couple of blows before the da Costa pulled clear down the start/finish straight.
A lap later and the cameras were focusing on Nick Heidfeld, who lined up a move on Frijns into turn five, although good defending from the Dutchman forced the German outwide. Regardless, Heidfeld tried to dart on the brakes a fraction later than the Andretti, only to lock his rear axle and throw his car into a slide. Quick reactions prevented the Mahindra from sliding into the wall, although by the time he had recovered his composure, Daniel Abt, Buemi and Nicolas Prost had slipped past.
The next few laps saw da Costa return to the centre of attention as he added Oliver Turvey to his list on conquests, before Buemi lined up his first move of the day. A good exit from turn five saw Buemi pull under the rear wing of Abt through turn six, before throwing his car up the inside of the ABT Schaeffler into turn seven, snatching fifth and charging on to catch Frijns. Frijns was running at the pace of the leading trio but a couple of seconds back, meaning Buemi could not be ruled out.
Yet, fate proved otherwise for Buemi as he attempted to get by Frijns using the same move he had pulled on Abt. Unfortunately for him, Frijns placed his car in the centre of the circuit, meaning Buemi slammed into the back of the SRT_01E rather than swing up the inside, breaking the rear wing off the Dutchman's car and snapping off half of his own front wing. Abt calmly made his way past the pair of them as Buemi rejoined, while Frijns narrowly avoided Prost as he spun his car around to get back into the fight. Both would ultimately be shown a mechanical problem flag and be forced to pit a few laps later.
That left Bird, di Grassi and Sarrazin clear at the front of the field as debris brought out yellow flags around the back of the circuit. Bird was then caught out by di Grassi, who used a good run out of turn four to dive down the inside of the Brit into turn five just managing to stop the car for the corner and hold his newly obtained lead. Sarrazin, meanwhile, began to drop back, as di Grassi learned that he, d'Ambrosio and Heidfeld had been awarded FanBoost for the second half of the race.
The stops came and went with only minor drama, although two significant stories would emerge. Firstly, e.Dams ruined Prost's race by by releasing him back into the race just a second short of the minimum pitstop time, meaning he would have to serve a drive through and drop him out of the points. Secondly, Mahindra kept their cars out a lap longer than everyone else, meaning Bruno Senna and Heidfeld would have an extra 5% of energy on the rest of the field to try to secure more valuable points for the Indian outfit.
Bird was giving di Grassi a difficult time after the stops as his mid-corner speed meant he could keep with the low drag ABT Schaeffler through the lap. That was until he made his first mistake of the weekend, as he hit his cold brakes a fraction too late into turn five, sending him into a light collision with the tyres on the outside of the corner. With no damage, but pride slightly hampered, the Brit recovered down in seventh, stuck behind the two Mahindras as they gained from the demise of Prost after his penalty.
What resulted from Bird's drama was an eleven second lead for di Grassi ahead of Sarrazin, while the Brazilian's team mate Abt pulled clear of Heidfeld for third. Buemi, meanwhile, was sent to trundle down the pitlane for causing a collision, before Nelson Piquet Jr. ended his race in the wall. Running on his own at the back of the field, the Brazilian braked a fraction too late for the first chicane. Although he was able to shed enough speed to make the chicane, his momentum sent his NEXTEV TCR car over the inside curb, throwing him into the air and, more significantly, into the outside wall. Broken front suspension meant he could only travel a few feet from the scene of the accident, a slice of luck for di Grassi as he was the next man to use the tarmac Piquet had just vacated.
The stranded NEXTEV TCR saw the BMW Qualcomm i8 emerge for the first time all weekend to slow the field as the field began their final five laps. As the safety car entered the fray, da Costa was forced to leave it as a third problem in as many races saw him pull his Team Aguri machine off of the circuit while running in the top ten. For di Grassi, the restart would be crucial, while Bird hoped he could blast past the two Mahindras, who had burnt a large amount of their additional energy to keep him at bay, to have half a chance at the podium. With three laps to go, the safety car peeled off, leaving di Grassi to pull a small margin over Sarrazin at the front of the field, although he could not shake the Frenchman seeking his first win.
With the safety car break allowing the entire field to save energy the final laps would be run at full power for everyone, and it was Bird who was making moves as he tried every thing to take Senna. But, it was not to be as the Mahindra crossed the line just half a tenth of a second ahead of him at the line, five seconds behind di Grassi. The Brazilian crossed the line to a large cheer from ABT, along with a hurried message not to celebrate with doughnuts, an action that had cost him victory in Mexico City. Sarrazin claimed second within a second of di Grassi, while Abt crossed the line in third to record ABT Schaeffler's first double podium.
The final classification of the 2016 Long Beach ePrix is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2016 Long Beach ePrix Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||11||Lucas di Grassi||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||41||45:11.582||0:58.765||25|
|2nd||4||Stéphane Sarrazin||Venturi Formula E Team||41||+0.787s||0:58.849||18|
|3rd||66||Daniel Abt||ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport||41||+1.685s||0:58.935||15|
|4th||23||Nick Heidfeld||Mahindra Racing||41||+2.343s||0:58.670||12|
|5th||21||Bruno Senna||Mahindra Racing||41||+4.968s||0:59.174||10|
|6th||2||Sam Bird||DS Virgin Racing||41||+5.229s||0:59.004||11|
|7th||7||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Dragon Racing||41||+6.735s||0:59.261||6|
|8th||6||Loïc Duval||Dragon Racing||41||+8.057s||0:59.196||4|
|9th||28||Simona de Silvestro||Amlin Andretti||41||+10.505s||0:59.681||2|
|10th||12||Mike Conway||Venturi Formula E Team||41||+10.900s||0:59.013||1|
|11th||8||Nicolas Prost||Renault e.Dams||41||+11.205s||0:59.298|
|12th||88||Oliver Turvey||NextEV TCR||41||+17.417s||0:58.920|
|13th||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Virgin Racing||40||+1 Lap||0:59.428|
|14th||77||Salvador Duran||Team Aguri||40||+1 Lap||0:59.230|
|15th||27||Robin Frijns||Amlin Andretti||40||+1 Lap||0:59.370|
|16th||9||Sébastien Buemi||Renault e.Dams||38||+3 Laps||0:57.928||2|
|Ret||55||António Félix da Costa||Team Aguri||33||Damage||0:58.977|
|Ret||1||Nelson Piquet Jr.||NextEV TCR||32||Accident||0:58.584|
- Indicates a driver was awarded FanBoost during the race.
- Second Long Beach ePrix to be staged.
- Sam Bird secured his second pole position start.
- Lucas di Grassi claimed his third career victory.
- ABT Sportsline secured their third win as an entrant in FE.
- Also the second victory for a Schaeffler powertrain.
- Maiden podium finish for Stéphane Sarrazin.
- First point finishes for Simona de Silvestro and Mike Conway.
- Fifth fastest lap recorded by Sébastien Buemi.
Lucas di Grassi was allowed to keep his Long Beach win to take the lead in the Championship from Sébastien Buemi, whose fastest lap points saw him keep within a point of the Brazilian. Sam Bird remained third but was now thirty points behind, while Jérôme d'Ambrosio kept the Brit honest in fourth. Sat in fifth was Stéphane Sarrazin, level on points with Loïc Duval, while the first points for Simona de Silvestro and Mike Conway meant eighteen drivers were on the board for the season.
The poorest weekend in Renault e.Dams time in Formula E saw them lose all bar six points of their lead in the Teams' Championship with ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport up to second after their double podium. Dragon Racing were now in a lonely third, a similar circumstance for DS Virgin Racing in fourth, ahead of the fifth placed Mahindra Racing team. NextEV TCR remained at the foot of the table, while the desperately unlucky António Félix da Costa and Team Aguri remained in eighth despite being in contention at the previous three rounds.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
Videos and Images:
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- 'Da Costa takes sensational Long Beach pole', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 02/04/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/april/da-costa-takes-sensational-long-beach-pole/, (Accessed 03/04/2016)
- 'Di Grassi's Shoreline sensation', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 02/04/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/april/di-grassi-s-shoreline-sensation/, (Accessed 03/04/2016)
- 'Faraday Future named as title sponsor for Long Beach ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/03/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/march/faraday-future-named-as-title-sponsor-for-long-beach-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 31/03/2016)
- 'Di Grassi stripped of Mexico win', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 12/03/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/march/di-grassi-stripped-of-mexico-win.aspx, (Accessed 13/03/2016)
- 'FanBoost open for Long Beach ePrix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 21/03/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/march/fanboost-open-for-long-beach-eprix.aspx, (Accessed 21/03/2016)
- 'Round 6 - Long Beach ePrix: Results Booklet', fiaformulae.alkamelsystems.com, (FIA Formula E, 2015), http://fiaformulae.alkamelsystems.com/Results/01_2015-16/06_Long%20Beach/71_FIA%20Formula%20E%20Championship/201604021607_Long%20Beach_Booklet.pdf, (Accessed 17/08/2018)
- 'Faraday Future Long Beach ePrix: Qualifying Groups', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 02/04/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/april/faraday-future-long-beach-eprix-qualifying-groups/, (Accessed 03/04/2016)
- 'Da Costa stripped of pole position', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 02/04/2016), http://fiaformulae.com/en/news/2016/april/da-costa-stripped-of-pole-position/, (Accessed 03/04/2016)
- 'Shoreline Shockwaves: Long Beach ePrix 2016 Highlights - Formula E', youtube.com, (YouTube: FIA Formula E Championship, 02/04/2016), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_Bg24pJUjE, (Accessed 03/04/2016)