Now that the Formula One and MotoGP seasons are close to wrapping up, petrol heads (or in this case electricity heads) will definitely look forward to the Formula E season starting on the 24th of October.
The inaugural season garnered an audience of over 10.7 BILLION. Now the 2015-2016 season will be bigger and better than ever. Of course not all the drivers from the inaugural season stuck around for season 2, namely Franck Montagny who is currently serving a ban from racing due to drug intake, Jaime Alguersuari who opted out due to medical reasons and a lack of interest (last we heard he was a successful DJ in his native Spain and has since retired from motorsport), Jarno Trulli decided not to race anymore and is now team boss.
Many other drivers did not have their contracts renewed or had other obligations.
The new recruits for the brand new revamped season are Robin Frijns, Nathanael Berthon and the not so new Jacques Villeneuve. Villeneuve will partner Stéphane Sarrazin in Venturi while Nick Heidfeld joins the Mahindra team in place of Karun Chandhok after a fairly unlucky season in Venturi.
Yet another change was in the Andretti squad with part time Andretti driver Simona De Silvestro joining full time along side rookie Robin Frijns.
Former Andretti driver Jean-Eric Vergne switched to DS Virgin Racing to partner Sam Bird this season. Formula E is not just about racing, it’s the whole package, the fun, the parties, the celebrities, the all round entertainment, it’s a way of life for everyone involved.
Another new rule change involved tires, while in Formula One the drivers had to change tires due to high degradation, there is none of that in Formula E. Of course, the sound is everything, with the teams now given the freedom to develop their own drive trains rather than a common drive train; it means that we will get a variety of sounds from the car that is music to our ears.
This season the fans have the ability to decide the outcome of the race due to last season’s Fan boost option, that now allows people to vote for their favorite driver even five minutes into the race. Since most of the cars have not yet taken to the track, we cannot decide who has the clear advantage over the others.
We give you the full results from today’s racing and profile each team:
Beijing ePrix – Classification:
- Sebastien Buemi – Renault e.Dams – 26 Laps
- Lucas di Grassi – Abt Audi Sport +11.006
- Nick Heidfeld – Mahindra Racing +15.681
- Loic Duval – Dragon Racing +16.009
- Jerome D’Ambrosio – Dragon Racing +16.514
- Oliver Turvey – NextEV TCR +39.466
- Sam Bird – DS Virgin Racing +47.531
- Nathanael Berthon – Team Aguri +58.620
- Daniel Abt – Abt Audi Sport +1:03.351
- Stephane Sarrazin – Venturi +1:07.814
- Robin Frijns – Andretti +1:09.260
- Jean-Eric Vergne – DS Virgin Racing +1:31.040
- Bruno Senna – Mahindra Racing +1:50.833
- Jacques Villeneuve – Venturi +1 Lap
- Nelson Piquet – NextEV TCR +2 Laps
- Nico Prost – Renault e.Dams +4 Laps
- Antonio Felix da Costa – Team Aguri +13 Laps
- Simona de Silvestro – Andretti +24 Laps
Founded by Michael Andretti and well known for its IndyCAR successes, the team will be searching for similar glory in newer pastures. Their season 2 drivers are Simona De Silvestro and newcomer Robin Frijns (take it from me, It is easier to write his name than to pronounce it). The team finished last season 6th in the constructors standing and will be looking to improve from there.
This season they have tied up with Amlin who were previously the main sponsors of the Aguri team. Since De Silvestro has driven for Andretti before, she could be a driver to watch out for since she brings a certain amount of aggression to her racing. Frijns though is a bit of an unknown since he is new to the series but he will learn the ways of driving in Formula E
Abt Schaeffler Audi:
Founded by Hans Jürgen Abt, the team heads into the new season with an unchanged lineup of Lucas Di Grassi and Daniel Abt. Di Grassi was 3rd in the standings last season and will be hoping to snatch the crown for himself. Lucas described his machine as possibly the noisiest of the grid. The Abt team will certainly be strong this year and I reckon that Daniel Abt will also get in on the act since he showed a lot of good pace but lacked experience. His Qualifying performance was spot on but race pace undid all his hard work. Di Grassi on the other hand was quick off the blocks but lacked inconsistency as observed by former Indy driver Dario Franchitti.
After severing ties with title sponsor Amlin, the Aguri team strangely enough elected to remain with last year’s drive train. But they believe that they a slight chance in the first few races because it might take time for the other teams to get used to the new drive trains while Aguri will be working on a drive train that they are already familiar with. On one side the sheer lack of pace could be their undoing but on the other end of the spectrum the reliability could be a huge advantage but as the season progresses reliability wont be able to save them.
Another IndyCAR affiliated team is Dragon Racing; this team was based off the Penske Team. They impressed in the debut season by finishing second in the standings. They might be the dark horses of this season with the lineup of Jerome D’Ambrosio and Loic Duval. Both drivers have been regular challengers last season so there is absolutely no reason why the momentum should stop.
The Chinese Team were the real big surprise last season when Nelson Piquet Jr emerged victorious as the first Formula E world champion. But they could not replicate that success in the constructor’s championship that season, but will that change this time around? Pre season testing has not gone their way so far with the Chinese team languishing 8th overall. Now with Piquet and Briton Oliver Turvey the former Team China Squad will be itching to shrug off their sluggish start last season and come out charging
E.DAMS Formula E Team:
The team led by “The Professor” Alain Prost powered to the constructor’s title with solid drives by Nicolas Prost and Sebastien Buemi.. Alain Prost believes that the second season will be difficult and they have to deliver god results, and they certainly have the drivers and the capability to do so. Buemi and Prost Jr have been quick and consistent drivers throughout the season. Pre season testing has been fruitful so far for the French team where thy have topped the timesheets
The Mahindra team is one team that has a lot of experience in the production and development of electric vehicles. However the first season was a disappointing one which saw them finish 8th in the standings. But now with Bruno Senna and ex Venturi driver Nick Heidfeld on board, the Mumbai based team will be waiting in the wings to capitalize on that experience. So far in pre season testing the results have been promising. According to Senna, the current model is an evolution from last years model because the McLaren motor has been majorly upgraded giving more torque, which is crucial for performance. Other upgrades included a new gearbox and new brakes. These new upgrades seem to have worked because their average is the joint second highest behind E.DAMS.
After what looked like a promising start brought to a spectacular end last year in Beijing due to former driver Nick Heidfeld’s high-flying act, the Monaco based team have gotten their act together by tying with Mahindra in pre season testing. With a new old driver in the form of Jacques Villeneuve teaming up with Stéphane Sarrazin the Venturi team could become a front-runner. Especially now with Jacques Villeneuve at the wheel there is every reason to expect fireworks because Villeneuve, being an ex World Champion, he still has the hunger to race and win.
After team owner Jarno Trulli stepped down from a driving position in the team, Mexican driver Salvador Duran gladly took up the mantle. After getting it so wrong last season it now looks like it cannot get any worse. Oops I spoke too soon didn’t I? Turns out anything and everything can go wrong before the start of the season because the Italian team not only brought up the rear end in testing but they have now been forced to miss the opening race of the season because some of the key components of the car have been held up by customs officials and due to this the car could not be scrutinized
The Virgin Racing team will be hoping to recover from a disappointing 5th in last season’s championship with Frenchman Jean Eric Vergne partnering Sam Bird. With a new partnership forged with Citroen the Virgin team will be aiming for newer heights. Major upgrades include a new rear end developed by DS Citroen. Both Vergne and Bird have the capability to be championship contenders this season but a lot depends on how the drive train stacks up against the others.
Whatever happens this weekend, motorsports fans will be flooded with an action packed weekend which includes Formula E, Formula 1 and MotoGP.Published 24 Oct 2015, 14:43 IST