|2019 Sanya E-Prix|
The first ever Sanya Street Circuit
|Date||23 March 2019|
|Official Name||2019 FWD Sanya E-Prix|
|Location||Haitang Bay Circuit, Hainan Island, China|
|Lap length||2.360 km (1.466 mi)|
|Distance||36 laps / 84.960 km (52.792 mi)|
|Support Race||2019 Sanya eTrophy Race|
|Pole Sitter||Oliver Rowland|
|Fastest Lap||1:09.965 on lap 35|
|Jean-Éric Vergne||Oliver Rowland||António Félix da Costa|
|Winner Team||DS Techeetah|
|2019 Hong Kong E-Prix||2019 Rome E-Prix|
Qualifying would see Oliver Rowland secure his maiden pole position in FE, the Brit easing his Nissan e.Dams a fraction clear of Jean-Éric Vergne in Super Pole. Elsewhere Rowland's teammate Sébastien Buemi had his Super Pole time deleted after failing to follow the new post-lap braking rules, forcing him to start from the pit lane, while Alexander Sims failed to set a time in the shootout after an issue.
The race itself would see a long-wait for the light sequence to begin, before a sudden transition to green catching several drivers out, most notably Pascal Wehrlein. Out front, meanwhile, it proved to be a fairly even start for the front few rows, with Rowland easing ahead of Vergne at the head of the field.
Yet, while the start of the race had been clean the same could not be said for the rest of the opening tour, with Felipe Nasr stranded on the starting grid. That caused a full course yellow to be thrown to recover the GEOX DRAGON, resulting in Stoffel Vandoorne slamming into the back of Sam Bird at turn five as the field suddenly slowed.
Within a minute the race would resume, however, Nasr having got going without assistance, while Bird parked his ruined Envision Virgin off the track. That allowed the top five to break away from the rest of the pack during the early stages, with Rowland still leading from Vergne, António Félix da Costa, Daniel Abt and Alexander Sims.
The soon settled into a fairly stable rhythm at the head of the field, with drivers more concerned with conserving energy in the heat rather than fighting. Further down the order it was a different story, with Robin Frijns using Attack Mode to pass Lucas di Grassi for seventh, before chasing down André Lotterer as the German caught the back of the lead group.
Indeed, it was only in the final fifteen minutes that the fighting at the front intensified, with Vergne sending an excellent lunge at Rowland into turn eleven to claim the lead. The Frenchman immediately pulled clear and armed Attack Mode, before Sims slapped the wall heavily at turn five to bring out a red flag.
Fortunately Sims would escape uninjured, meaning the race resumed with ten minutes left on the clock after a quick clean-up. This time, however, Vergne was unwilling to sprint away from Rowland, with the Brit even managing to pull away from the rest of the top five to engage the Frenchman in a duel for the lead during the closing stages.
Ultimately, however, the Brit would not get his revenge, with the race coming to a conclusion under FCY after Buemi punted Frijns into the back of di Grassi, leaving the Brazilian's car stranded at the turn eight hairpin. Vergne duly collected victory, surviving a late investigation for his actions during the restart, with Rowland and da Costa completing the podium.
After the race Buemi would be slapped with a time penalty for causing a collision, dumping him from sixth to eighth. In terms of the Championship, meanwhile, Vergne would move level on points with Bird as a result of his victory, while da Costa jumped to the head of the hunt.
The 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship would remain within the boundaries of the People's Republic of China for its sixth round of the season, heading an hour south from Hong Kong to race on the streets of Sanya. Indeed, with Formula E Holdings hoping to form an "Asian tour" as part of the 2018/19, and future, calendars, Sanya was chosen to host an FE race for the first time in 2019, marking the series official return to "mainland" China after two races were staged in Beijing in 2014 and 2015. The circuit itself was formed from the roads around the Sanya river, with the start straight physically crossing said body of water.
The late race penalty for Sam Bird after the controversial conclusion of the HK E-Prix had limited the Brit to establishing a one point lead at the head of the field, ending the day on 54 points. Former leader Jérôme d'Ambrosio was his closest challenger, although with Lucas di Grassi and Edoardo Mortara just a point further back on 52. António Félix da Costa, meanwhile, had lost a little ground in fifth, still just seven off the lead, with Robin Frijns moving up to sixth on 43.
In the Teams Championship it was Envision Virgin Racing who led the charge leaving Hong Kong, the British squad heaving ended the day, after Bird's relegation, on 97 points. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler had shot into second, eleven off their customers, while Mahindra Racing slipped to third. Venturi Formula E Team had also made impressive ground in fourth, while their customer squad HWA Racelab were off the foot of the table after their first points haul.
The full entry list for the 2019 Sanya E-Prix is displayed below:
Qualifying for the Sanya E-Prix would follow the conventional format, with the field split into four groups based on Championship position. Each group would get six minutes on circuit to allow each driver to set a single full power (250kw) lap, with the fastest six over all proceeding to Super Pole. The drivers in Super Pole would then head out one-by-one to set another flying lap, with the fastest of those starting the race from pole.
The final qualifying result for the 2019 Sanya E-Prix are outlined below:
|2019 Sanya E-Prix Qualifying Result|
|1st||22||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.Dams||1:07.945||—||1||G3|
|2nd||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||1:08.045||+0.100s||2||G3|
|3rd||28||António Félix da Costa||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:08.122||+0.177s||3||G1|
|4th||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:08.331||+0.386s||4||G2|
|5th||27||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||—||5||G3|
|DSQ*||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||Disqualified||PL||G3|
|1st||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||1:07.670||—||SP||G3|
|2nd||28||António Félix da Costa||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:07.951||+0.281s||SP||G1|
|3rd||27||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:07.957||+0.287s||SP||G3|
|4th||22||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.Dams||1:07.958||+0.288s||SP||G3|
|5th||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||1:08.303||+0.633s||SP||G3|
|6th||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:08.358||+0.688s||SP||G2|
|7th||36||André Lotterer||DS Techeetah||1:08.371||+0.701s||6||G2|
|8th||64||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||1:08.372||+0.702s||7||G1|
|9th||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Mahindra Racing||1:08.455||+0.785s||8||G2|
|10th||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:08.468||+0.798s||9||G1|
|11th||48||Edoardo Mortara||Venturi Formula E Team||1:08.504||+0.834s||10||G1|
|12th||4||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||1:08.546||+0.876s||11||G2|
|13th||5||Stoffel Vandoorne||HWA Racelab||1:08.560||+0.890s||12||G4|
|14th||7||José María López||GEOX DRAGON||1:08.568||+0.898s||13||G4|
|15th||19||Felipe Massa||Venturi Formula E Team||1:08.585||+0.915s||14||G3|
|16th||2||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||1:08.641||+0.971s||15||G1|
|17th||8||Tom Dillmann||NIO Formula E Team||1:08.800||+1.130s||16||G4|
|18th||6||Felipe Nasr||GEOX DRAGON||1:08.823||+1.153s||17||G4|
|19th||16||Oliver Turvey||NIO Formula E Team||1:08.923||+1.253s||18||G3|
|20th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||1:08.955||+1.285s||19||G2|
|21st†||17||Gary Paffett||HWA Racelab||1:09.072||+1.402s||PL||G4|
|22nd||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Jaguar Racing||1:09.399||+1.729s||20||G4|
|110% Time: 1:14.437|
- * Buemi was disqualified from Super Pole after a technical infringement, and so started from the pit lane.
- † Paffett would start from the pit lane after an issue after qualifying.
Temperatures would soar as the afternoon sun arrived in Sanya, resulting in a lot of late recalculations about energy consumption and re-gen as battery temperatures became a critical issue. Off track, meanwhile, Sébastien Buemi would be told to start from the pits after getting thrown out of Super Pole, while a late issue for Gary Paffett meant that the Brit would join him in the pit lane for the start. Those two were, therefore, the only absentees from the grid, with Oliver Rowland leading a slow crawl around from the dummy to the full grid at 4:02pm local time.
There would be a long delay once the field lined up on the full grid for the start, with the lights taking a very long time to begin counting down to the start. Yet, when they eventually did come on it would be a very quick sequence, catching eighth place starter Pascal Wehrlein as he chatted to his team on the radio. He duly lost a handful of places as the field squeezed around his slow starting Mahindra, while Felipe Nasr was left on the grid after an issue trying to pull away.
Out front, meanwhile, Rowland would ace his getaway to ease ahead of Jean-Éric Vergne into the first corner, with the rest of the top six remaining in grid order during the first part of the lap. Indeed, with the opening lap effectively covering one and a third tours of the Sanya Street Circuit, due to the difference between the start and finish lines, the field was quickly in danger of coming across the stranded Nasr, still stuck on the grid. Realising this Race Control would throw a full course yellow to retrieve the GEOX DRAGON, only for Nasr to pull away as the FCY came into force.
Unfortunately the field were making their way though turn five at the time of the FCY being thrown, leading to a huge concertina effect heading into the tight left-hander. An unsighted Stoffel Vandoorne would hence cause the first incident of note, ploughing into the back of Championship leader Sam Bird to leave the Brit with heavy rear damage to his Envision Virgin. Bird would limp down the escape road to retire, while Vandoorne would carry on to the end of the lap before deciding his HWA run Venturi was too badly damaged to continue.
After a minute under FCY conditions the race would resume, with the top six breaking away from seventh placed Jérôme d'Ambrosio, who was to be mugged by Lucas di Grassi into turn eleven. Indeed, Rowland would settled into a fairly comfortable rhythm at the head of the field, with Vergne, António Félix da Costa, Daniel Abt and Alexander Sims running nose-to-tail in his wake. André Lotterer, meanwhile, would find himself in a lonely sixth during the early stages, with di Grassi unable to make ground on the DS Techeetah, while d'Ambrosio and Wehrlein defended from Robin Frijns at the back end of the top ten.
Indeed, the race settled into a fairly tame pattern after the opening lap chaos, with the only changes in the order coming as Buemi picked his way through towards the top ten, becoming the first driver to arm Attack Mode. di Grassi, meanwhile, would try to arm his Attack Mode boost on lap ten, only for a lock-up into the turn three activation zone causing him to miss the timing sensors that activated the system. The Brazilian would try again two laps later, and again ran wide, before eventually activating the boost at the third attempt, having not only lost 4.7 seconds to Lotterer but also having gifted seventh Frijns after the Dutchman used the boost to pass the two Mahindras.
Elsewhere, d'Ambrosio would lose ninth to Edoardo Mortara when he armed his Attack Mode boost on lap ten, with teammate Wehrlein losing eleventh to Mortara's teammate Felipe Massa a lap later. Elsewhere Mitch Evans was lucky to escape a penalty when he smacked into the back of Oliver Turvey at the hairpin, with the Brit's back wheels being lifted completely off the ground by the impact. Miraculously the NIO seemed to have no issues when the Brit rejoined, while Evans was left with a chipped nose on his Jaguar.
Back with the leaders and as half distance approached Rowland was getting concerned with his energy conservation, with battery temperatures rising steadily throughout the field. Indeed, Vergne would consistently pull out of the Nissan e.Dams' wake to keep his car cool during the middle phase of the race, simply waiting for an opportunity to pass the Brit rather than risk a lunge for the lead. They were still being tracked by da Costa, Abt and Sims, while Lotterer and later Frijns joined the queue at the head of the field, ensuring that the top seven ran nose-to-tail.
Their arrival in the fight for the lead prompted Vergne to finally begin pushing for the lead, with the Frenchman duly catching Rowland sleeping into turn eleven at the end of lap 20. A quick lunge inside the Nissan saw the DS Techeetah emerge from the left-hander in the lead, with the Frenchman quickly sprinting clear to ensure he could arm Attack Mode a lap later without losing the lead. His escape was aided by the fact that Rowland had to immediately defend from da Costa after being passed by Vergne, although the Brit would successfully keep the BMW Andretti at bay.
Indeed, Vergne would almost lost the lead when he took Attack Mode on lap 22, with the resulting squeeze allowing Abt to attack da Costa around the outside of turn five. Behind, Lotterer would manage to squeeze his Techeetah inside of Sims' BMW Andretti at the same corner, only for Sims to run wide and slap the outside wall on the exit, Lotterer having left no more than a car's width as the circuit narrowed. Sims was left with shattered right rear suspension, and duly span to a stop halfway down the back straight, the furthest point from any potential recovery vehicle.
The race would remain green for a full lap before the BMW Qualcomm i8 safety car was called, with Vergne still leading from Rowland, da Costa, Abt and Lotterer. However, with time ticking away and Sims' car in a very difficult position to recover from, the officials opted to throw a red flag, effectively pausing the race with twelve minutes on the clock. That allowed Sims' car to be taken off circuit by a tractor, while various small pieces of debris were cleared from the circuit as teams tended to their now battle scarred cars.
In a little over fifteen minutes the race would resume behind the safety car, with twelve minutes plus one lap remaining on the clock. A lap later and the race was fully resumed under green flag conditions, although Vergne was instantly placed under investigation for how far back he had fallen from the back of the BMW i8 safety car before the restart. A potential penalty would therefore hang over the Frenchman for the rest of the race, with Vergne working hard to try and break away from the rest of the field.
However, the Frenchman would only be partially successful, for while he was able to escape the majority of the pack, he was unable to shake the attentions of Rowland, who was cleared by Nissan e.Dams to attack for the rest of the afternoon. Behind, di Grassi would attack Frijns through turn seven, the Dutchman having been one of only two drivers not to arm Attack Mode for the restart, and hence the Brazilian was able to ease ahead of the Dutchman as they braked for turn eight. Frijns was hence left in the sights of Mortara as the Swiss racer cleared d'Ambrosio for eighth, while di Grassi tried a half-hearted move on teammate Abt into turn ten.
Indeed, Abt had already lost time to the leaders when Lotterer lunged past him at the hairpin for fourth, although he had remained on his compatriot's tail as he eyed up a move on da Costa. Out front, meanwhile, Vergne and Rowland would break fully clear of their pursuers, although Rowland was either unable or unwilling to make a move. Indeed, with three minutes and a maximum of four laps to go the e.Dams squad told the Brit to settle for second, informing him that Vergne was under investigation for his actions behind the safety car.
With two laps to go, however, the entire race would be settled, for a lunge from Buemi trying to pass Frijns into the turn eight hairpin would ultimately cause the race to end under FCY. Having passed compatriot Mortara a lap earlier, the Swiss ace threw a huge lunge at Frijns' Envision Virgin, only for the Dutchman to move across and block the move. As the two hit the brakes Buemi duly punted Frijns in the back, with the momentum from the collision causing the Virgin to T-bone the left-rear corner of di Grassi's Audi as the Brazilian took the hairpin. A furious di Grassi was left with a shattered left-rear corner, Frijns with the front ripped from his car, while Buemi carried on in sixth.
In truth the race would likely have finished under green flag, for while di Grassi's car was in a dangerous position, it was off the racing line. However, in spite of being told to stay in his car by Audi, as was required by the rulebook, di Grassi leapt out of his cockpit, leaving the officials with little choice by to throw a FCY as the final lap began. With that Vergne was declared the winner, having been given a reprimand for dropping too far back from the safety car at the restart, with Rowland and da Costa completing the podium.
There were several incidents still being investigated as the race came to its conclusion, although none that would affect the podium finishes. Ultimately, there would be two post-race penalties, one for Buemi for causing a collision, and another for Mortara as the Swiss racer failed to use his second compulsory Attack Mode boost. Buemi received a ten second time penalty for his actions, dumping him from sixth to eighth, while Mortara was slapped with a sixteen second time penalty (converted from a drive through) leaving him in thirteenth having originally finished in tenth.
The final classification of the 2019 Sanya E-Prix is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2019 Sanya E-Prix Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||36||1:02:50.185||1:09.965||26|
|2nd||22||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.Dams||36||+1.762s||1:10.274||21|
|3rd||28||António Félix da Costa||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||36||+3.268s||1:10.333||15|
|4th||36||André Lotterer||DS Techeetah||36||+4.631s||1:10.464||12|
|5th||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||36||+5.972s||1:10.362||10|
|6th||64||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||36||+17.340s||1:10.300||8|
|7th||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Mahindra Racing||36||+18.367s||1:10.521||6|
|8th*||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||36||+19.405s||1:10.173||4|
|9th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||36||+20.646s||1:10.094||2|
|10th||19||Felipe Massa||Venturi Formula E Team||36||+27.739s||1:10.485||1|
|11th||16||Oliver Turvey||NIO Formula E Team||36||+31.453s||1:10.171|
|12th||8||Tom Dillmann||NIO Formula E Team||36||+32.654s||1:10.336|
|13th†||48||Edoardo Mortara||Venturi Formula E Team||36||+38.208s||1:10.265|
|14th||4||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||35||+1 Lap||1:10.491|
|15th‡||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||34||Collision||1:10.165|
|Ret||3||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Jaguar Racing||21||Retired||1:10.960|
|Ret||27||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||20||Accident||1:11.609|
|Ret||17||Gary Paffett||HWA Racelab||13||Retired||1:12.042|
|Ret||7||José María López||GEOX DRAGON||10||Retired||1:11.928|
|Ret||5||Stoffel Vandoorne||HWA Racelab||1||Damage||3:02.356|
|Ret||2||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||0||Collision||—|
|Ret||6||Felipe Nasr||GEOX DRAGON||0||Retired||—|
- Indicates a driver was awarded FanBoost during the race.
- * Buemi was handed a ten second time penalty for causing a collision.
- † Mortara was awarded a drive through penalty (converted to a sixteen second time penalty) for failing to activate Attack Mode for a second time.
- ‡ di Grassi was still classified despite retiring as he had completed 90% of the race distance.
- First E-Prix to be staged in Sanya, China.
- Also the first E-Prix to be staged in "mainland" China since the 2015 Beijing ePrix.
- Pascal Wehrlein made his fifth E-Prix start.
- Oliver Rowland claimed his first pole position.
- Sixth career win for Jean-Éric Vergne.
- Techeetah claimed their sixth triumph as an entrant.
- Rowland claimed his first podium finish.
Jean-Éric Vergne moved right to the forefront of the Championship hunt with his first victory of the season, moving ahead of former leader Sam Bird. Indeed, Bird's early retirement had allowed António Félix da Costa to jump back into the lead of the title chase, although the Portuguese ace was just a point ahead of Jérôme d'Ambrosio. a seven point gap followed before the appearance of Vergne and Bird, level on 54, while Lucas di Grassi and Edoardo Mortara were fifth and sixth on 52.
It was an even tighter picture in the Teams' Championship leaving Sanya, with Envision Virgin Racing and Mahindra Racing level on 97 points at the head of the field. Furthermore, third placed Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler were just a point back, while DS Techeetah were only a point off of the German squad in fourth. The top five was then completed by BMW i Andretti Motorsport, just seventeen off the lead themselves, ahead of a thirteen point gap to Venturi.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
Videos and Images:
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 'Formula E set to race in Sanya in Season 5', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/07/2018), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2018/july/formula-e-set-to-race-in-sanya-in-season-5/, (Accessed 03/07/2018)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 'Rowland snatches maiden Pole in Sanya showdown', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/03/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/march/qualifying-sanya-2019, (Accessed 23/03/2019)
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 'Vergne victorious in Sanya showdown, championship blown wide open', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/03/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/march/race-report-sanya-2019, (Accessed 23/03/2019)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 'Round 6 - Sanya ePrix: Results Booklet', fiaformulae.alkamelsystem.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/03/2019), http://fiaformulae.alkamelsystems.com/Results/04_2018-19/09_R06%20Sanya/93_ABB%20FIA%20Formula%20E%20Championship/56_R06%20Sanya%20Booklet.pdf, (Accessed 23/03/2019)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 'Event Guide: Welcome to the 2019 FWD Sanya E-Prix', fiaformuale.com, (FIA Formula E, 18/03/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/march/event-guide-sanya-2019, (Accessed 01/07/2019)
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 'Furious di Grassi wishes penalty on Frijns in race-ending shunt spat', fiaformuale.com, (FIA Formula E, 23/03/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/march/digrassi-furious-with-frijns-over-race-ending-crash, (Accessed 23/03/2019)