Nissan e.Dams’ Sebastien Buemi wins a crazy FIA Formula E Championship race in New York ahead of Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans and BMW Andretti’s Antonio da Costa with title battle still open after no points for DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne.
The first race of the 2018/19 Formula E New York EPrix got underway with poleman and Nissan e.Dams’ Buemi getting a perfect start and keeping his lead while Jaguar’s Lynn beat Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein to take second away from him.
BMW Andretti’s Alexander Sims made up two places to be third. Behind, there was contact between Envision Virgin’s Sam Bird and GEOX Dragon’s Jose Maria Lopez with more cars ended up involved including both DS Techeetah cars.
Vergne, who had lost three places in the first few corners, picked up damage on his front wing and his left rear tyre which forced him to pit but Lotterer, however, had even worse luck to hit the wall. The German pitted as well and rejoined the race.
Lopez and NIO’s Tom Dillmann also pitted due to damage on their cars. The Frenchman , though, retired while the Argentinian was back in 20th in between the both DS Techeetah cars. There was debris all over the track, but the race was not slowed down in any way.
Positions remained stable in the lead group, but Lynn and Sims were closing the gap on Buemi. Bird was then handed a 10-second penalty for the Lap 1 collision as he along with Audi’s Daniel Abt, who moved into fourth, brought himself in the fight for the win.
It was heartbreak for Lynn as he lost power and stopped on track which promoted Sims to second and Abt to third. Behind them, Bird was up to fourth by passing Wehrlein, who was also overtaken by da Costa. Safety car was deployed to clear Lynn’s car.
When the race was re-started, the Top 3 stayed the same until da Costa tried a move on Abt. The German driver was aggressive in his defence and ran wide, taking da Costa with him as Evans moved into third and then passed Sims for second.
A possible team order saw da Costa move into third from Sims as the midfield battle created more chaos with contact everywhere. Nissan e.Dams’ Oliver Rowland and Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara made contact with debris spread on track.
Mortara retired but Rowland continued on. Meanwhile, Vergne was on a recovery mode after Lap 1 contact and took advantage of the carnage to move into the points positions. It was an end of it though as a mega crash on final lap had both DS Techeetah cars involved.
Venturi’s Felipe Massa, Mahindra Racing’s Jerome D’Ambrosio and HWA Racelab’s Stoffel Vandoorne were also involved with only D’Ambrosio making it through via a help from Lotterer when he pushed the Belgian on top on Massa and Vergne.
At the front though, Buemi managed to win his first Formula E race of the season in New York as the Swiss driver did everything he could to avoid incidents and maintain his lead. The win keeps his title opportunities alive as Evans climbed from 13th to second.
Da Costa was third with Sims in fourth from Bird in the original standings. The British racer’s time penalty dropped him to eighth as di Grassi was fifth ahead of Abt and Wehrlein. Bird slotted in eighth with D’Ambrosio ninth and NIO’s Oliver Turvey 10th.
With only one race to go in the 2018/19 Formula E season and Vergne not scoring any points, the title fight goes onto Sunday with the Frenchman still leading the standings, but the gap has been reduced to 22 points to di Grassi, 25 to Evans and 26 to Buemi.
Position 11-17: Gary Paffett, Lopez, Vandoorne, Rowland, Vergne, Massa, Lotterer. DNF: Maximilian Gunther, Mortara, Lynn, Robin Frijns, Dillmann.