LONDON FINALE SPARKS INTO LIFE
Formula E rivals Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi believe luck could play a big part in their title showdown in London this weekend.
Just one point separates championship leader di Grassi and the chasing Buemi heading into the double-header on the 1.8-mile Battersea Park track.
Renault e.dams driver Buemi dominated the opening round of the season in Beijing and has won twice since, while Abt Audi Sport’s di Grassi has racked up three victories as well.
The Brazilian’s slender advantage is the result of a 100 per cent on-the-road podium record – though he was excluded for his car being underweight in Mexico City after winning the race – and di Grassi believes he will have to continue that trend to keep Buemi at bay.
“They [e.dams Renault] have the best powertrain, but we have done fewer mistakes this year,” said di Grassi.
“It will be extremely difficult, we have to have a perfect weekend – that’s what I’m betting my chips on.
“If it was on outright pace I think they have the best chance. Because Formula E is so complex, I think we can beat them if you consider the whole package.
“Another factor is [if it] rains in the middle of qualifying. It’s impossible to calculate until the moment you see which group [session] you are in.
“It creates a lot of randomness and could decide the title.”
Buemi agreed that the weather could be a factor but, having lost a breakthrough Le Mans 24 Hours victory for Toyota in the final five minutes of the 2016 race, said he knew first-hand that fortune was a big part of motorsport.
“The weather is unpredictable and the track is very narrow so you have no margin for error,” he said.
“If you get into a group of qualifying that has a lot worse weather, to come back is going to be very hard.
“You don’t only need to be quick, you also need to be lucky.
“If I’m in a wet qualifying and he’s in the dry, I’ll be p*ssed off but that’s just luck.
“I was winning Le Mans and we lost it on the last lap. That’s motorsport for you.”
Buemi enjoys a small powertrain advantage with Renault’s Z.E.15, but the Swiss driver had a technical failure in Malaysia and struggled for pace in Paris where the team was caught out by the short lap and cold temperatures and suffered tyre warm-up issues.
Buemi said he was hoping for a similar event to the previous race in Berlin, where he qualified second and took victory, to counter di Grassi’s metronomic scoring rate so far this season.
“I hope it will be a smooth weekend like Berlin,” Buemi said. “It’s July and the track is longer so we shouldn’t have the problem we had in Paris.
“Lucas has done a great season, he’s averaged something like 18 points a race – or second in every event.
“It shows that even if I had done everything perfectly, it would have been difficult to have many more points than he has.” ■