2017/2018 HKT Hong Kong ePrix Double-Header
Central Harbourfront Circuit, Hong Kong, HK
2nd and 3rd December 2017
Rounds 1 and 2 of 14
A tale of two very different races!
Saturday’s season opener was a lot of fun. Turvey gaining 4 spots around the outside at the first corner, various dive-bomb overtakes (which worked), lots of side by side contact, a blocked track and red flag. This race had it all!
It was embarrassing to have a blocked track, but that’s just a danger of racing on city streets. The acid test is to ensure the track is cleared and barriers repaired quickly. The cars did return to the pits quickly, we didn’t see barrier repair on TV, but those reporting trackside said the 30 minute delay was down to the FIA sorting out the order. This was complicated by the fact the 4 delayed cars went straight to the pits while everyone else did another slow lap around and parked behind them – very nearly a lap ahead. And they had to check everyone else was in the right order. I am sure this would’ve happened faster at other events, so perhaps the FIA processes in Formula E need tightening.
Otherwise this was a tremendously fun race, loads of overtaking, among the FE veterans nobody was playing themselves in carefully. Even some rookies threw themselves into it. Others like Lotterer and Jani took it very gingerly.
The weirdest part was the pitlane penalty for Sam Bird, he had a 9 second lead, did a drive-through and still emerged in the lead! A short double-sided pitlane which shortcut the last corners meant it was barely any penalty. JEV (2nd) and Heidfeld (3rd) also fought amongst themselves and dropped a long way back, but that should’ve been a battle for the lead.
- Sam Bird – DS Virgin Racing (DS DSV03);
- Jean-Eric Vergne – Techeetah (Renault Z.E.17);
- Nick Heidfeld – Mahindra Racing (Mahindra M4Electro);
- Nelson Piquet Jr – Panasonic Jaguar Racing (Jaguar I-Type);
- Daniel Abt – Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler (Audi e-tron FE04);
[Powertrains in brackets. All chassis are identical Spark SRT_01E on Michelin tyres.]
Sunday’s race felt quieter, but looking at it again, a lot did happen! The start gantry failed, a peril of temporary street track wiring. Nobody seemed to have a backup starter flag, so the Safety Car did a lap before releasing them.
At the rolling start, poleman Rosenqvist spun at the first corner, dropped several places, then got mad and overtook cars like it was going out of fashion. It was enough to get back to 3rd on the road.
That was until long-time leader Edo Mortara spun out in the closing laps. He was classy enough to admit it was his fault for pushing for the extra point for Fastest Lap, it wasn’t a problem with the car.
This promoted Daniel Abt, on fire all weekend in Hong Kong, he took the flag and champagne on his birthday – until after the race when he was disqualified for a technical breach with FIA barcoded seals.
All this meant Rosenqvist was awarded the win. The results sheets show a straightforward pole and win, it really was a lot more interesting than that!
Two laps longer made all the difference to this race, as it did last year, to the energy saving protocol which meant drivers were a lot less willing to use energy to go for the passes compared with Saturday. I appreciate this is part of FE, to extend the range as much as possible, but it really isn’t as much fun. That said, in the shorter race the strategy variance is only a lap, in the longer race they can extend a bit more. I would perhaps prefer to have the longer race first and the more fun shorter race on day two.
- Felix Rosenqvist – Mahindra Racing (Mahindra M4Electro);
- Eduardo Mortara – Venturi FE Team (Venturi VM200);
- Mitch Evans – Panasonic Jaguar Racing (Jaguar I-Type);
- Jean-Eric Vergne – Techeetah (Renault Z.E.17);
- Sam Bird – DS Virgin Racing (DS DSV-03);
Points From Hong Kong
After penalties were applied nobody had strung together two strong results. The potential points haul was 29 per race: 25 for a win, 3 for pole (*) and 1 for fastest lap among top ten finishers (#). That Sam Bird walked away with 35 for the weekend shows how mixed up the grid was!
If things are this competitive all year we are in for a great season.
|Jean Eric Vergne||21*||12||33|
|Nelson Piquet Jr||12||0||12|
|Antonio Felix da Costa||8||0||8|
A similar story among the teams, most having one good race and one poor or middling race. Dragon the only team not to score.
|DS Virgin Racing||29||12||41|
|Venturi Formula E Team||6||24||30|
|Panasonic Jaguar Racing||12||15||27|
|Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||11||0||11|
|Nio Formula E Team||1||8||9|
First weekend means no difference to the above.
|2||1||-1||Jean Eric Vergne||0||33||33|
|7||1||-6||Nelson Piquet Jr||0||12||12|
|=||1||-9||Antonio Felix da Costa||0||8||8|
|2||1||-1||DS Virgin Racing||0||41||41||1|
|4||1||-3||Venturi Formula E Team||0||30||30|
|5||1||-4||Panasonic Jaguar Racing||0||27||27|
|6||1||-5||Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler||0||11||11|
|7||1||-6||Nio Formula E Team||0||9||9|