Renault say pace between top teams is close despite dominant start

2016/2017 FIA Formula E Championship. Marrakesh ePrix, Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan, Marrakesh, Morocco. Saturday 12 November 2016. Photo: Sam Bloxham/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _SBB7806

Renault e.dams says that it is very close between the top teams in terms of pace, despite their dominant start to the season.

Sebastien Buemi has cruised to victory with Nico Prost just off the podium in fourth in both Hong Kong and Marrakesh, which has left the team with more than double the number of points of their nearest rivals.

They failed to get pole in either qualifying session however, something that Renault Sport Project Leader Vincent Gaillardot says is an indication of how close it is between the top teams.

He picked out DS Virgin Racing, Mahindra Racing and Abt Schaeffler Audi as their nearest challengers, although failed to mention Techeetah who have also shown strong one lap pace and who share the same powertrain as the French team.

“It was interesting to test the Z.E.16 in race conditions at a permanent circuit as it gives us further information about the performance between the teams,” Gaillardot said.

“Qualifying showed us that it is very tight between us, DS, Mahindra and Audi too.

“We confirmed that our package is very efficient in race conditions and both drivers were able to take advantage of this.”

Senior Team Manager Alain Prost agreed that it looks closer in qualifying this season, and that the team were relying on their race pace to deliver results.

“The team is improving with every race and even if we don’t start at the front we can still win.

“A little bit like in Hong Kong we weren’t able to show our very best in qualifying but it does look like one lap pace is closer this season, which is good for the championship.

“We focused on the race in our practice session preparations and this benefitted us especially as we were able to fight back from the penalty for Sébastien.

“For sure our competitors are improving all the time, but we are determined not to sit back and let them catch us!”

Renault are currently leading the team’s championship by 38 points from Abt and Mahindra, with Buemi 22 points clear of Lucas di Grassi in the driver’s championship.