The final corner of the inaugural Formula E race in Beijing turned into a nightmare for the e.dams Renault team. Nicolas Prost, starting from pole position, had led the race from the moment the lights went out and he was deprived of victory. But just a few metres from the finishing line followed a spectacular collision with Nick Heidfeld. It was a very disappointing conclusion to a day during which the e.dams Renault driver had dominated both qualifying and the race.
“I’m happy that Nick didn’t hurt himself in the accident,” said Nico Prost. “We talked about it together as friends and there’s no trouble between us. I didn’t expect an attack at this place, I didn’t see him and when we were side by side, our cars touched each other. It was a racing incident between two drivers who both wanted to win. It’s clear that it wasn’t my intention to hit him. At the end that spoilt what had been a fantastic day up till then. It’s also very hard on the team who did a great job, in particular during the car change. The positive thing is that we’ve confirmed our level of performance and that’s very encouraging for the coming races.”
Prost’s team-mate Sébastien Buemi, who was hit by a raft of problems, did not see the chequered flag due to gearbox failure. The day didn’t get off to the best of starts. Buemi had a couple of minor offs in both free practice sessions. However, the team was able to repair his car in time for qualifying, but as the gearbox broke on one of his two machines the Swiss driver knew that he would be able to do only half the race. Nonetheless, he qualified in ninth place.
“I’m leaving the first round feeling very frustrated and disappointed,” commented Sébastien Buemi. “There are weekends like that when everything goes wrong. I made a small error in the first free practice session, and then another one in the second and the gearbox failed. The first car went well and I held the fastest lap for a long time until Sato went quicker at the end of the race. It can only get better next time out!”
Team Principal Alain Prost tried to look at the bright side of the events that occurred. “Despite a disappointed final for all of us, the positives points of this first race are the perfect functioning of the powertrain developed with the help of Renault Sport and a successful organisation which makes us very optimistic for the future.”
“A first weekend full of positive and negative emotions making the charms of motor racing,” knew Team Principal Jean-Paul Driot. “Despite the setbacks faced by Sébastien Buemi, the team reacted perfectly with Nicolas Prost and got a historical pole, the first a with a 100% electric single seat race car. A huge disappointment for all of us when we lost out on victory on the very last corner but with only material damages. That’s racing.”