02/05/2017

Renault e.dams look to get back to winning ways on home ground

The Renault e.dams team will be hoping for a return to the top step of the podium in the FIA Formula E Championships next two races on home territory in Monaco and then Paris after its remarkable winning streak came to an end in Mexico (1 April).
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Its reigning Champion, Swiss Sebastien Buemi, came home with only a point for setting the fastest lap in the Mexican race.

Buemi had won the electric racing category’s season-opening three rounds in Hong Kong, Morocco and Argentina to make it six victories in a row for Renault e.dams (it had also won the last three races of the 2015/16 season).

And it looked as if his Z.E.16 car – using Renault Sport Racing’s highly sophisticated drivetrain – could be on for a fourth straight victory in Mexico when he comfortably topped both free practice sessions there.

However sudden dusty track conditions in qualifying cost him dear and he started back in eighth. He was quickly up to sixth and with his pace it appeared he would go on to challenge for the lead. However a spin late while avoiding an accident in front of him on dropped him to an eventual 13th.

Team-mate Nico Prost impressed with his fifth place finish after starting back in 13th and he even led briefly during the pit stops to swap over to second cars.

Renault e.dams still comfortably leads the teams’ standings ahead of the Abt Schaeffler squad which uses Audi Sport-developed electric technology.

Buemi continues to head the drivers’ table but by the reduced margin of five points over Abt Schaeffler’s Brazilian Lucas di Grassi – his big rival from the 2015/16 season which Buemi ultimately won. Prost is third, 25 points – equivalent to a race win – adrift of di Grassi.

Next up are two home races for Renault e.dams – the first on a shortened version of the Monaco Formula 1 circuit (Sat 13 May) and the second the following weekend on a new street course in Paris city centre. Buemi won the Monaco race when it was held during Formula E’s inaugural 2014/15 season.

Following the Mexico ePrix Buemi said: “It’s been a bad weekend for us. The objective was not to lose too many points here, so of course it’s a big disappointment. I was quickest in FP1 and FP2 and we showed good pace but I was at a big disadvantage to be in Q1 as I cleaned the track for everyone. It was especially bad here, due to how windy the conditions were.

“I also had to avoid an unsafe release after my pit stop so I had to let three or four cars pass me. But at some point our luck will turn so let’s see what happens in Monaco.”