With all the seats full, racing scion and former ice racer Nicolas Prost claimed pole position for the Renault-supported e.dams team, followed by former F1 driver Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt for the Audi Sport ABT team. The following slots were also taken by ex-grand prix pilots Karun Chandhok (Mahindra), Franck Montagny (Andretti Autosport), Nick Heidfeld (Venturi), Jaime Alguersuari (Virgin), Charles Pic (Andretti), Sebastien Buemi (e.dams) and the controversial Nelson Piquet Jr (China Racing). Oriol Servia (Dragon Racing), Sam Bird (Virgin), Jérome d'Ambrosio (Dragon), Takuma Sato (Amlin Aguri), Ho-Pin Tung (China) rounded out the rest of the starting grid, while Katherine Legge (Amlin Aguri) and Michela Cerruti (Trulli) started at the back of the grid. Surprisingly, experienced racing drivers Jarno Trulli (Trulli), Bruno Senna (Mahindra) and Stephane Sarrazin (Venturi) failed to meet the qualifying threshold.
Despite starting back in sixth place, Nick Heidfeld quickly made his way up the grid.
Despite starting back in sixth place, Nick Heidfeld quickly made his way up the grid as the race electrified. By the mid-race car swap, Heidfeld – a former grand prix driver, Formula 3 champion, Le Mans class winner and Goodwood lap record holder – was up to second place. That's when things literally took a turn for the worse.
Having dispensed with Montagny, Chandhok and Abt, Heidfeld closed in on race leader Prost. Coming into the final corner, Heidfeld moved to pass him on the left, Prost closed the door, the two collided and Heideld launched over the curbs and into the wall in a spectacular crash (see video here). After what had been impressive performances, both were taken out of the race, virtually within sight of the finish line.
Having won numerous races in F3 and GP2, but failing to distinguish himself with the backmarker Virgin Racing team in F1, Lucas di Grassi sped past the wreckage to claim the checkered flag and go down in the record books together with the ABT team as the winner of the first Formula E race in history. Di Grassi evidently gained valuable experience serving as the series' official test driver in developing the Spark-Renault SRT_01E which serves as the backbone of the series.
Montagny took second, with Bird joining them on the podium after third-place finisher Daniel Abt was penalized for exceeding the 28-kW power consumption limit and bumped down to tenth, Pic took fourth, followed by Chandhok, d'Ambrosio, Servia, Piquet and Sarrazin. The rest of the order was filled by Alguersuari, Prost, Heidfeld, Cerruti, Legge and Tung. Sato, Buemi, Trulli and Senna were not classified. Alguersuari and Legge also received time penalties for using too much juice.
Having been found at fault for the crash, Prost has been handed a ten-place grid penalty for the next race. Meanwhile Daniel Abt's time penalty cost his team the lead in the standings, surrendered to the Andretti team whose drivers averaged out better than Abt and di Grassi, despite the win. Di Grassi does, of course, hold the lead in the drivers' standings as the championship prepares for the next race in Malaysia in November.
September 15, 2014 | ID: 61721
Saturday, 13 September 2014 will go down in the history of motor racing as the day on which the first ever FIA Formula E championship race took place. Held in the streets of Beijing, the inaugural round was closely contested throughout.
After months of preparation, the FIA Formula E championship took definite shape with the first round of the ten-race season that will reach its climax in June 2015 on the streets of London. Winding round the Bird's Nest stadium built to host the 2008 Olympic Games, the Beijing course supplied all usual ingredients of a city-centre circuit, with a succession of straights, chicanes and 90° bends.
For this inaugural season, the entire field is competing in Spark-Renault STR01E single-seaters. The months of preparation with the teams and the work done by all the partners produced a highly successful opening weekend, in which 35 of the 40 cars entered crossed the finishing line without incident.
The Renault Sport teams who have been very involved in this project since the beginning in 2012, working on the architecture and safety of the single-seaters, are especially proud to have successfully taken on the challenge. The technical solutions we approved ensured that all the cars competing in the ePrix were quick, reliable and safe right from the word go.
Contested over 25 laps, the race was held in bright sunshine and with packed stands.
Starting from pole position, Nicolas Prost (e.dams Renault) made the perfect start to lead into the opening corner. He went on to dominate most of the race before a clash ended his hopes of victory on the final lap, handing the win to Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT).
There was no shortage of racing action and despite the closeness of safety barriers, the characteristics of the Spark-Renault SRT01_E enabled the drivers to outbrake one another at the corners, much to the delight of the spectators!
Our heartfelt congratulations go to all of the Teams involved in this first, the sensational 2014 Beijing ePrix!
A new chapter in the history of motorsport has been written today and everyone at Renault is proud to have taken part.
Patrice Ratti, Managing Director of Renault Sport Technologies: "What an exciting first Formula E race! This is a real achievement for all the partners who have worked on this project. Despite the test sessions held in recent weeks, there was still a degree of uncertainty involved, linked to the start of the competition proper. By holding the practice sessions, qualifying and the race all on the same day, it has been an intense few hours for the teams, drivers and organisers. I think Renault Sport can be very pleased with how things went today, as there were no major technical problems on the forty single-seaters."
Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT) 25 laps
Franck Montagny (Andretti) +2.867
Sam Bird (Virgin Racing) +6.559
Charles Pic (Andretti) +19.301
Karun Chandhok (Mahindra Racing) +23.952
Jérôme d:Ambrosio (Dragon Racing) +31.664
Oriol Servia (Dragon Racing) +41.968
Nelson Piquet Jr. (China Racing) +43.896
Stéphane Sarrazin (Venturi) +43.975
Daniel Abt (Audi Sport ABT) +1:02.507
Fastest lap: Takuma Sato (Amlin Aguri) 1:45.101