Renault pleased to fulfil potential with opening round win


2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship. Hong Kong ePrix, Hong Kong, China. Sunday 9 October 2016. Photo: Andrew Ferraro/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _FER2396

Renault e.dams have said they are happy with their ‘fantastic’ start to the season, and to deliver on the potential of their 2016-17 car.

The team showed strong pace in practice in Hong Kong, but a tumultuous qualifying session saw them only manage fifth on the grid for Sebatien Buemi, and tenth for Nico Prost.

It got worse for Prost after a switch-management issue at the start saw him plummet down the order.

The Frenchman was able to work his way back through the field however, and a good call from the team to bring both drivers in under the safety car saw them emerge in second and fourth.

Buemi was able to pass Lucas di Grassi to take the race win, and although Prost couldn’t find a way past the Mahindra Racing car of Nick Heidfeld, his fourth place finish means that Renault are comfortably top of the constructors championship after the first round.

Speaking after the race, Renault Operations Director Vincent Gaillardot said, “We knew from free practice today that we had good potential, however qualifying was more difficult than expected.

“Our race performance was consistent, we had a good strategy and both drivers drove well. Séb was able to take the lead through a combination of factors but mainly thanks to a strong and sensible drive with an effective strategy.

“Nico had a switch-management issue at the start but was able to recover well. Everything we’ve seen in Hong Kong is promising for the season.”

Race winner Buemi said that while he found it hard at first, a set-up change on the second car helped him secure the win.

He said, “Initially I thought we’d made a mistake when we made our pit stop under the safety car, but as we saw it all worked out perfectly. I’m happy with today’s result but we certainly had to fight for it.

“We saw in qualifying just how hard everyone was pushing and the race was not easy for us. I felt a lot happier with the second car today as we made some set-up changes but overall this has been a great weekend and a superb way to start the season.”

And although he was unsure of the reason for being in the wrong mode at the start, Prost was pleased with how his race turned out.

“I don’t know exactly what happened on the first lap as I got stuck in the wrong mode and I lost a load of places,” Prost commented.

“Fortunately I was back into the correct mode on the straight so I fought like hell to overtake everyone I could; I was really going for every gap possible! In the end our race turned out really well and we had a great strategy.

“It was a fantastic result for the team today so I’m really happy for everyone.”