Renault’s Z.E 15 powertrain – speciﬁcally the e-motor, inverter, gearbox and cooling system that have been developed at Renaultsport’s Viry Chatillon headquarters – are used only by e.dams and in Formula E.
And round one of the new season – around a street circuit in China’s capital Beijing – saw the team’s Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi dominate proceedings with pole position, victory and the fastest lap for a maximum score (the first time this has been achieved in Formula E).
Buemi was on course to repeat that result in round two – held in Putrajaya, Malaysia – where again he qualified on pole position and streaked away in the lead before a sudden technical glitch cruelly denied him. He finished an unrepresentative 12th, again with the race’s fastest lap time.
Team-mate Nicola Prost – son of team co-owner and Renault Formula 1 legend Alain Prost – qualified second to line up alongside Buemi on the front row of the grid in China only for a rear wing failure to then force him out of the race. In Malaysia he was challenging for a podium result when his car suffered a similar fault to Buemi’s and he finished in tenth.
Notably Prost’s fastest race lap in Malaysia was beaten only by Buemi as both Renault-powered cars circulated considerably faster and more efficiently than their rivals before their problems, thought to be software-related.
Alain Prost commented: “We cannot jump to any conclusions until we have run the relevant tests to explain the situation, although we already have a better idea of what may have happened during the race.
“But it is also important to highlight the fact that both cars performed very well over the course of the weekend (in Malaysia). Sebastien secured a comfortable pole position, as well as fastest lap, and Nico was certainly en route to a podium, proving that our package is very strong and fast. It is much easier to improve reliability on an already quick car than to try and find performance from nowhere.”
Thanks to victory in China plus bonus points for his two pole positions and fastest race laps, Buemi has still come out of opening two rounds holding second in the drivers’ championship with 35 points – eight behind Brazil’s Lucas di Grassi who races for the Abt Schaeffler team which runs its own powertrain.
It’s a similar scenario in the teams’ table with Renault e.dams the closest challenger to Abt Schaeffler at the top of the standings.
Renault e.dams will next be in Formula E action on 19 December when round three of the championship takes place at Punta del Este in Uruguay. UK television viewers can watch the race live on ITV4.