The first circuit race to be held in Switzerland in 64 years, the Zurich ePrix was a massive public success. The huge crowd showed their support for one of their own, Sébastien Buemi. In the battle for a podium finish, the Renault e.dams driver had to settle for fifth place.
Straight away it became apparent that the circuit was a proper head scratcher in terms of set-up, due to the extremely bumpy straights that saw the highest top speed recorded in the history of the discipline, as well as a torturous section crossing the tracks of the Zurich tramway.
Thanks to the preparation carried out ahead of time, the Renault e.dams team demonstrated its competitiveness. Sébastien Buemi set the second best time in group 1, but then the track became faster, which saw him drop to sixth on the start grid. Just behind, Nicolas Prost put in his best qualifying run since the start of the season.
When the lights went out, the Renault e.dams drivers held their positions. Quickly, Séb got the better of D’Ambrosio, while Nicolas was overtaken by Lopez.
Just before half-distance, Séb picked up another position in passing Bird. A full course yellow followed a few seconds later, which led to the car changes. Séb left the pits in fourth place, while Nico passed Vergne for eighth place.
Then the race was turned on its head when the race control penalised five drivers for speeding during the full course yellow. As one of them, Séb had to serve a drive-through penalty.
The penalties mostly affected the group of leaders. Séb found himself in sixth place. He then used his extra power given to him by the FanBoost to take fifth place from Evans.
While in seventh place on lap 31 of 39, Nico retired with a technical problem. Running without energy, he avoided the pit exit in going straight at the braking point for the hairpin. The car refused to restart and his race was over.
After this tenth round of the season, Renault e.dams maintains sixth place in the Team Championship with 99 points. In the Driver Championship, Sébastien is fourth with 92 points.
The two final rounds of season 4 of the FIA Formula E Championship will take place in New York on July 14 and 15.
Nicolas Prost, n°8
“I drove a good race in paying particularly close attention to consumption and the temperatures. I wanted to avoid being in an energy race in the final laps, like we often see. If everything had worked just until the end, I think I could have a good result because I was ahead of D’Ambrosio who finished on the podium. For an unknown reason, the battery cut out under braking at the hairpin and I couldn’t restart the car. This is very frustrating because we got things back in order this weekend. The team did a good job and we hope to put it all together in New York despite this chronic lack of success.“
Sébastien Buemi, n°9
“This was an historic day for motor racing and Switzerland. I tried to enjoy each moment and I am totally exhausted tonight. I would’ve liked to have finished on the podium in front of my public, but it wasn’t possible due to the penalty. We have to accept it, but also understand what happened so it doesn’t happen again. I want to emphasize the excellent work from the team, which deserves a better result than this. We ran a good race in terms of performance and we are already thinking about New York.”
Jean-Paul Driot,team owner
“Our cars were competitive this weekend. However, sometimes in motor racing, stuff just happens. This has occurred several times this season and we have lost podium results or top places due to unexpected problems, like today with this penalty. We will have a talk with the race control, because it is quite surprising that five drivers made the same mistake. We are disappointed but we will continue to work as much for New York as season 5.”
Vincent Gaillardot, Director FE programme
“Zurich was a very important event, especially for Séb and several of our partners. More than ever, we wanted to do well and we did a great job in preparing before this first running of this ePrix. It is an atypical circuit, due to the bumps as well as the record top speed of around 220kph. Everything didn’t go as planned, most notably in qualifying with the track improvement that inhibited us from moving on to the Super Pole. In the race, Séb battled hard and managed to overtake Sam Bird. Unfortunately, a small hitch prevented him from getting on the podium. The level continues to increase at each race, but we are still aiming for a win before the end of the season. ”