Marrakesh|14 Nov, 2016

Marrakesh ePrix in quotes

Back-to-back wins have given Sebastien Buemi a commanding early lead in the FIA Formula E Championship. But the Marrakesh was tense affair, with plenty of overtaking.

Here are the drivers’ thoughts:

1st Sebastien Buemi, Renault e.dams: After a few laps I knew that I would have the edge in the second stint, and then it was looking very good towards the end of the first stint but I had a big mistake in turn 11, the one just before the pit entry, I braked too late and I lost the regen and nearly went off, so I lost like two, three seconds in that lap and lost that little bit more time to Sam [Bird] in the box.”

2nd Sam Bird, DS Virgin Racing: “I need to buy the boys a couple of beers tonight, because they worked really, really hard. The race was OK, not particularly thrilled but it is great to get points on the board. We still have a lot of work to do, we struggle in some areas, the circuit is quite different to the ones we normally go to, so our car didn’t behave as brilliantly as the two guys sitting next to me, we struggled a bit more for the balance today, but even so, to come home with 18 points today is pretty strong.”

3rd Felix Rosenqvist, Mahindra Racing: “It started off went pretty well. For me it felt like I was maximising what I could do with speed in the corners and so on where we could actually find a lap time. When I heard that Seb and Sam were behind me that I knew they were on another level and there was no way I was able to compete with that as I was already very tight on energy and if I defend as normal two or three times the last couple of laps would’ve been tight.”

4th Nico Prost, Renault e.dams: “Unfortunately from Q1 it’s hard to a get a quick lap. I think I did a good lap but as you saw there was a big track improvement, so we started a bit too far behind and I couldn’t overtake [Daniel] Abt quick enough. That’s where I lost the podium. I don’t think I could have been quicker than Seb, but for sure I had the pace for P2.”

5th Lucas di Grassi, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport: “If you consider this race and Hong Kong we have gained 26 places, so that’s not so bad, but in terms of performance it was not a very good weekend for us. The car was very tricky in qualifying and in the race we could make up places, but on this type of track, which resembles a more traditional racing circuit didn’t suit us and we have to understand why.”

6th Daniel Abt, Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport: “In qualifying, I was more or less at my maximum today but in the race, I lacked a bit of pace, especially in the first stint so I need to analyse and have a look at it because I was slow. Still, P6 is good points. It could be much worse so now we need to keep pushing.”

7th Oliver Turvey, NEXTEV NIO: “I made a good start, was inside of Buemi going into Turn 1, but he had a bit better drive off the corner. After that I had a bit of a gap behind me and I was just following the energy. We did a lot of work and analysis after Hong Kong and here we were able to work better as a team and I think we hit all the energy targets during the race and maximized everything in both stints. The pitstops went well so from that side it was a much stronger race as a team.”

8th Jean-Eric Vergne, TECHEETAH: “We had a failure of all the electrics on steering wheel and we lost the pit limiter, which is why we got the penalty for speeding. I need to speak to the team to find out what happened with the energy consumption in the second stint.”

9th Nick Heidfeld, Mahindra Racing: “It was a very difficult race, possible the race in my career with the most contact! In the first lap I think di Grassi hit my back and then there was contact from [Robin] Frijns for which he’s apologised, which was nice of him. But in the end I think I had four or five contacts, which cost me some time and I assume the car was damaged. It wasn’t like the steering was completely off but the balance wasn’t nice. The second car was a lot better, but I had to do a long stint and it was difficult to do more from there.”

10th Jose Maria Lopez, DS Virgin Racing: “It was a good race, I managed to grab a point. To finish the race was the main objective for me, it was my first real race in Formula E. In Hong Kong I broke the suspension and didn’t finish so it’s positive. When you come from a series where you are winning every weekend to being happy with P10, considering the difficulties of the series in the way you need to drive. It’s totally different but what I’ve been driving in my 25 years of racing career. It’s positive – it’s one point, I’m leaving Marrakesh with quite an optimistic view for the next one.”

11th Robin Frijns, Andretti: “I hit the wall at Turn 3 at the start, so my steering was a bit bent, then I outbraked myself at Turn 1 and Antonio [Felix da Costa] overtook me – after that everything went pretty well. Di Grassi was pretty quick so I decided to let him go – there was no point in defending too hard and using too much energy – but when he overtook me he was a similar place from me so I regretted it. In the second car I was managing my energy pretty well, but everyone around me was doing the same good job so there was nothing I could do. Perhaps we should have finished, P8 but in the end it was P11. We knew that this track was a tough track for us to race on, so hopefully the next one will be better.”

12th Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi: “I had an energy issue in the second car. Something didn’t work and I lost all my energy and unfortunately I didn’t score points. I think points were possible at one point but with the problem I was very slow at the end.”

14th Adam Carroll, Panasonic Jaguar Racing: “We started last so the race couldn’t get much worse than that and in the end we could only go forward. Qualifying was tough and we concentrated on collecting as much information as possible and to finish the race. I feel the difference in the track from Hong Kong to here – it’s completely different, it’s like starting again for us. We got loads of data and we will go back and work hard to come back in Argentina which is a more conventional Formula E circuit, which will be good and hopefully we’ll get stronger.”

15th Qing Hua Ma, TECHEETAH: “We had good fun racing with the Jaguar drivers. I think overall we didn’t do a good qually so I started back of the grid but the start was OK. I lost some positions because there was a lot of fighting and I was, let’s say, on the safe side. But I tried to fight back and did some good overtaking and it wasn’t a bad race. We found some problems with the car’s balance and software and it’s what we expect as a new team – we have a lot of work to do to make sure it won’t happen again.”

16th Nelson Piquet Jr, NEXTEV NIO: “It’s been a difficult day. We were having an OK race but I knew I couldn’t fight too much against Sebastien [Buemi] and Jean Eric (Vergne), so I kept to my strategy. When I came in for the car change we had an electrical issue which lost us a lot of time and at that point it was game over. It’s very frustrating so now we have to investigate what happened so it doesn't repeat. There’s a big break now until the Buenos Aires race in February so we will look to come back strong.”

17th Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing: “It was a tough race in general, but the positive was that we finished, so we can take a lot out of that. We can digest a lot of information from that.”

18th Loic Duval, Faraday Future Dragon Racing: “It was a really quick track with a lot of opportunities to overtake. In the second stint unfortunately we had a problem with the car, which was shutting down so I had to reset it all the time but still I was able to do a few laps and one was good enough to be the fastest lap.”

DNF Maro Engel, Venturi: “I had a pretty good first stint. I gained five places to get to ninth and was looking pretty good for another top 10 finish but then after the car change the car wouldn’t start and that was the end of our race. It was very unfortunate and the team did everything they could do, they prepared everything perfectly and the car was working but once I jumped in it didn’t work. It was an electrical problem but I guess it’s just one of those where it’s going to happen.”

DNF Antonio Felix da Costa, Andretti: “It was an eventful day! On the way to the grid my steering stopped working so there was a bit of a panic. As the race started it was OK and I got past my team-mate started to go forwards and catch the group in front. We were managing the energy well and look good when I had a technical problem and my car stopped. We still don’t know what it was.”