Welcome to Speed, our programme dedicated to the world of motorsport. This week we’ll be looking at the Formula E Grand Prix which took place here in Monaco. But first, let’s make a quick pit stop in Barcelona to see which Formula 1 driver prevailed at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Nico Rosberg stuns Hamilton
Germany’s Nico Rosberg produced a superb display to claim his first victory of the season in Barcelona on Sunday. The Mercedes driver started from pole position and looked comfortable throughout the race while team-mate Lewis Hamilton made a sluggish getaway, enabling title rival Sebastien Vettel to overtake him on the opening lap.
The Ferrari driver looked set to come home second but it wasn’t to be as Hamilton benefited from a flawless pit stop on lap 51 to emerge clear and maintain his record of finishing in the top two in the last 12 races.
This result sees Rosberg reduce Hamilton’s overall advantage to 20 points, with Vettel currently sitting third, 31 points adrift.
Buemi shines in Monaco
Residents of Monaco may have appreciated the lower noise levels of the formula E Grand Prix , and the race will certainly have been appreciated by Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi, who triumphed to become the first driver to win two formula E races in its inaugural season.
Fans were treated to some spectacular pile-ups and some serious racing as the new event arrived in Europe, and proved to be as big a hit as on the other continents it has visited so far.
After seven races, Lucas di Grassi still leads the drivers’ classification on 93 points, four more than Nelson Piquet Jr. The win puts Buemi back in the hunt for the title: the Swiss driver is third on 83 points, six more than team-mate Nico Prost.
Alain Prost’s e.dams-Renault team are currently leading Audi Sport ABT in the manufacturers’ rankings. We met up with the former world champion, who believes Formula E has a prosperous future.
Alain Prost: ‘‘When I first heard of Formula E, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Renault has been working hard on electric cars so I saw this as a new challenge and immediately jumped on board. When you join such a big team, I think it’s important to be involved from the very beginning and show your commitment. It helps you understand how everything works and you can then influence decision making. The biggest challenge lies in the fact that we don’t build our own car. Our aim is to study and develop a car that we didn’t make. That includes all the electric components, engine, battery, gear box. All the work with the engineers and the drivers is focused on energy management. At the end of the day we’re competing but we’re also trying to understand the car. I think it’s important to prepare the future.”
Sky is the limit
None of this would have been possible without Alejandro Agag. The Spanish Formula E boss shared his thoughts and dreams with euronews.
Alejandro Agag: ‘‘Our group originates from the world of racing and we noticed that there was a gap in motorsports. We wanted to take the new technology at our disposal and create a championship promoting clean energy and sustainability. This is what motivated us in the first place and the reason why we created this event with the help of the International Automobile Federation.
The first difficulty we had to face was that we had no electric racing cars, they didn’t exist at the time. We wanted to start a championship but we had no cars. Once we found the technology, we had to look for partners that would help us build the 40 racing cars we needed but we didn’t have much time on our hands.
Then we had to find cities willing to host such events. Formula E takes place in street circuits in urban areas so that was also a big challenge. In Monte Carlo, for example the street circuit has been in place for many years but in other cities it’s not the case so we sometimes had to start from scratch.
I’m convinced that this sport can go a long way and technology will keep playing a crucial part in its development. All we need now is to maximise battery life and if somebody can solve this problem, then sky is the limit for formula E.”