Hong Kong ePrix Review: BEV Laboratory Highly Entertaining

Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Ryan Ashenhurst
Contributor

Formula E’s season opener in Hong Kong was a tightly contested battle that showcased some great wheel-to-wheel racing. Sebastian Buemi won the race and got his title-defence off to a perfect start.

The Renault e.dams team lead the Constructors Standings after Buemi’s win and Nico Prost 4th. But the team picked up fortune where others lost it. Sam Bird boxed from the lead in his DS Virgin racing car only to endure excruciating delays in the stop. Nelson Piquet jr also led for a while but was caught out by Jose Mario Lopez’ car beached in the barriers. Unsighted, Piquet jr slammed the brakes and found himself wedged. It cost the Brazilian time and the race lead.

Lucas di Grassi had an incredible race. He fought his way up to 2nd despite having to pit for a new nose and starting from a miserable 19th. The Brazilian is surely one to watch this season given his experience in the championship combined with the force to be reckoned with that is Audi.

Mahindra Racing and Nick Heidfeld managed 3rd after the ex-F1 driver had a calculated, rapid first lap in which he jumped up to 6th from 10th. His energy levels were critical towards the end. The German crossed the line with 0% energy remaining.

On the back of Renault edams picking up the biggest points haul of the race, Nico Prost said,

“It’s going to be a good fight again and it was a good race for us. Seb wins the race and I had a really strong race from the back and got points for the Constructor’s Championship which is good for us.

It was a really good first weekend. I think last year we started the season very strongly but I think our advantage was a bit exaggerated last season but I’m sure we will have really good races, I think we are there.”

– Nico Prost

Another notable drive from the back came from Robin Frijns in the Andretti Formula E car. From the back of the grid he impressed to 6th, his team-mate Antonio Felix Da Costa just ahead with 5th.

The reason that Formula E is what the World of Motorsport needs is no longer solely on the basis of its green philosophy. The racing is also tight and entertaining too. Formula E is set to get bigger with the addition of brands like BMW and Mercedes; the addition of McLaren on the battery front will also see the mid-race car change disappear by 2018 at least.

The Championship reflects the demands of the wider automotive industry with its focus on advancing automotive electrification. The audience will grow as more and more people buy electric vehicles because this will eventually become the majority. 5% of global drivers currently drive fully-electric, but the intense pushing of engineering research and development that encapsulates Formula E will surely propel automotive leaders like Mercedes, Renault, BMW, Audi and Jaguar into transferring their findings commercially.

BEV’s (Battery-electric vehicles) will eventually be centre-stage as oil-based predecessors become irrelevant and Formula E is championing this change.