Formula E Half Term Report – Part 2


Credit: Sam Bloxham / LAT / FE

The race in Long Beach marked the halfway point of the 2015/16 FIA Formula E Championship, so TCF thought we’d assess how the drivers have got on so far. You can read the first part of the report here, but here’s how the other drivers on the grid have got on…

DS Virgin Racing

Credit: Formula E, Zak Mauger/LAT
Credit: Formula E, Zak Mauger/LAT

Sam Bird

Third, 71 points

The 2015-16 Formula E season has been a rollercoaster ride for Sam Bird with some stunning highs and lows. A struggle with energy usage in Beijing limited his ability to race up front, but a brilliant drive from 14th to 2nd in Puturajaya cemented Bird’s reputation as one of the most exciting drivers on the grid. He got a well-deserved win in Buenos Aires after holding off Buemi at the end, and two poles show that when he’s hooked-up he’s got the ability to outpace anyone. Two disappointing results in Mexico and Long Beach (the latter after locking his brakes and crashing) have blunted his title challenge, but he’s got the ability to pull it back.

Grade: A-

Jean-Eric Vergne

Fourteenth, 6 points

It’s been an ‘annus horriblis’ for Jean-Eric Vergne, as he’s been forced to watch his teammate take the glory while he’s suffered from mechanical issues, bad luck and bad driving. Falling ill and missing practice at Buenos Aires undoubtedly hampered his performance, and spinning out at the first corner in Mexico after one his best qualifying performances was costly. But while he’s been able to match his teammate in qualifying, in races he’s fallen behind, and he needs to turn things around quickly if he’s going to prove that he’s worth holding on to for next season.

Grade: D

Amlin Andretti

Credit: Formula E - Andrew Ferraro/LAT
Credit: Formula E – Andrew Ferraro/LAT

Robin Frijns

Ninth, 31 points

The decision to revert to the season one power train undoubtedly cost Andretti. Despite that, Frijns has done an impressive job to become a regular points scorer, and even pick up third place in Putrajaya despite hitting the wall towards the end. In fact, had it not been for Sebastien Buemi taking out his rear wing in Long Beach he would probably have finished in the points in every race. He’s also dominated his teammate in qualifying, and twice been on the verge of the super pole shootout – pretty impressive.

Grade: A

Simona de Silvestro

Seventeenth, 2 points

It’s not been the easiest of seasons so far for Simona de Silvestro. She crashed out in Beijing and while her teammate has been a regular points scorer, she’s struggled to make the top ten, only picking up her first points in Formula E at Long Beach last time out. That does point to an improvement though, as does her performance to out qualify Frijins in Mexico, so she’ll be one to watch out for in the last five races.

Grade: C-

Team Aguri

Team Aguri - Long Beach 1 - Credit: FIA Formula E

António Félix da Costa

Twelfth, 16 points

With the most retirements of any driver so far, it’s not been a great season for Antonio Felix da Costa, but little of it has been his fault. Although he accepted blame after his crash with Jacques Villeneuve in Beijing, since then he’s been hit with a string of car problems, losing out on a potential podium when doing well in Puturajaya and Buenos Aires. To then have his pole position taken away from him in Long Beach for being (very) marginally under the tyre pressure limit seemed cruel. His pace has been undoubted, and he’s out qualified his team mate at every race, but he needs a more reliable car.

Grade: B+

Salvador Duran

Twenty-first, 0 points

We can’t be too harsh on Salvador Duran. Being parachuted into a team mid-season can be difficult, and it’s clear that he struggled to get used to the car, but after three races at Aguri he wasn’t showing many signs of improvement. He was comfortably out qualified by da Costa at every race, and his race performances haven’t been much better. It still seemed harsh for Aguri to ditch him, but with new investors on the way it seemed as it was a political decision. Time will tell if Ma Qing Hua will be any better.

Grade: D

Mahindra Racing

2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship. Mexico City ePrix, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico. Saturday 12 March 2016. Nick Heidfeld (GER), Mahindra Racing M2ELECTRO. Photo: Zak Mauger/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _L0U7873
Credit: Formula E – Zak Mauger/LAT

Nick Heidfeld

Seventh, 39 points

After grabbing Mahindra’s first ever trophy at the opening round, it looked like it was going to be a good season for Quick Nick. Although it’s not quite lived up to that opening performance, he’s been typically solid, scoring points in every race bar Punta del Este, which he missed after damaging his wrist in the previous race. He’s also been impressive in qualifying, beating his team mate 4-1 in the head-to-head, which is one of the reasons he’s heavily outscored him.

Grade: A-

Bruno Senna

Eleventh, 22 points

Bruno Senna has been far more consistent this season, already equalling the number of points finishes he achieved in the entirety of last season. However he’s struggled to match Heidfeld, and although he comfortably outperformed Rowland when he stood in, you would expect someone of Senna’s experience to come out on top. Fifth in Long Beach was more promising though, and he’d expect to build on this as the season progresses.

Grade: C

Venturi

Credit: Formula E, Sam Bloxham/LAT
Credit: Formula E, Sam Bloxham/LAT

Stephane Sarrazin

Fifth, 48 points

It was an inauspicious start for Venturi in Formula E, but thanks to Stephane Sarrazin’s performances, this season is looking far more promising. Finishing in the points in every race so far, the Frenchman looks like he’s finally got to grips with the Venturi car, and his second place in Long Beach was a just reward for his drives this season. The highlight however has to be Puturajaya, where despite starting in the pit lane Sarrazin came through to fourth, head and shoulders above what either of his team mates this year have managed to achieve.

Grade: A+

Mike Conway

Eighteenth, 1 point

Again, it can’t have been easy for Mike Conway to start mid-season, but despite this he managed to qualify an impressive 5th on his debut. There’s still a speed deficit to his teammate, but scoring his first point of the season at Long Beach will help to settle him, and shows that he is making progress. He’s certainly showing more promise than the man he replaced, Villeneuve, who failed to score in any of his three races.

Grade: C-

Other runners…

After being hit by da Costa in Beijing, things didn’t get much better for former F1 Champ Jacques Villeneuve. He only managed 11th next time out and his crash in qualifying in Punta del Este meant that he missed the race.

Oliver Rowland did a solid, if unspectacular, job at Mahindra replacing the injured Nick Heidfeld, being comfortably outpaced by Senna.

And although Nathanael Berthon didn’t show blistering pace in his Aguri, he did at least manage to score points, which is more than you could say about his replacement.