Race Report: Formula E - Hong Kong

Formula E Hong Kong Race.jpg

This weekend the Formula E circus visited Hong Kong - round five of the ABB FIA Formula E championship.


A dramatic and incident packed race unfolded in Hong Kong today, with Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird coming out ahead of the mayhem to take his first win of the season - unless a late race steward investigation can undo his hard work in the coming hours.

Bird would be the first driver across the line in Hong Kong today, however the British former LMP2 World Champion would have to employ some aggressive tactics in order to pass race long rival Andre Lotterer for the victory, interesting the race officials enough to confirm an investigation will be taking place post race into the legality of the move from the Virgin Racing man... more to follow on that one later...

With the Hong Kong street circuit offering little grip thanks to overnight rain showers, the 36 lap race would certainly be a test of the patience for drivers and fans, with multiple accidents leading to no less than three safety car periods and a red flag stoppage, and producing some surprising results as several race and championship favourites would find themselves in varying degrees of strife throughout the race.

With a wet qualifying handing series rookie Stoffel Vandoorne his first Pole Position in the category, the field pulled away from the green flag and the former McLaren man would immediately begin his descent down the running order, passed first by the fast starting Oliver Rowland, then slipping behind Bird before the first major incident of the day would take place - Felipe Nasr dumping the car into the wall and subsequently collecting Pascal Wehrlein and Jerome D’Ambrosio - bringing out the red flag as marshals raced to clear the circuit and allow racing to continue.

Upon the restart it would be Rowland at the head of the field, however the Englishman would suffer a loss of power heading into his second tour of the circuit, handing the advantage to former Le Mans winner Lotterer, the German striking out at the front of the field and performing faultlessly for the remainder of the race, until a late challenge from Bird would eventually result in a puncture that would sadly put the impressive Techeeta driver out of the final points paying positions.

Mechanical issues would later account for both Vandoorne and Rowland, both causing race neutralising yellow flag periods, while the remainder of the 14 classified race finishers would bump and bang their way to the chequered flag in what was an incident and action packed race meeting.

Provisional Race Results:
  1. Sam Bird
  2. Edoardo Mortara
  3. Lucas di Grassi
  4. Robin Frijns
  5. Daniel Abt
  6. Felipe Massa
  7. Mitch Evans
  8. Gary Paffett
  9. Oliver Turvey
  10. Antonio Felix da Costa
  11. Jose Maria Lopez
  12. Tom Dillmann
  13. Jean-Eric Vergne
  14. Andre Lotterer

DNF Oliver Rowland
DNF Stoffel Vandoorne
DNF Sébastien Buemi
DNF Alexander Sims
DNF Felipe Nasr
DNF Pascal Wehrlein
DNF Jérôme d'Ambrosio
DNF Nelson Piquet Jr.


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RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief, occasional YouTuber, commentator and broadcaster, with a passion for motorsport on both the real and virtual racetrack.

MarkR

500RPM
Premium
Another superb race full of overtaking and a bit of controversy, a great advert for the future of electric car racing.

Well worth a watch, more position changes in the first couple of laps than an entire F1 race. The way the cars have been designed to allow them to race so close together makes for an exciting series, closer to MotoGP levels of action than F1. they must be pretty tricky to drive on the limit because there are always plenty of driver mistakes. It's almost impossible to predict who will win, no one has a significant advantage.
 

Fat-Alfie

David Pemberton
Premium
Great race again, but I honestly feel that these artificial, contrived circuits are starting to hamper the racing now the cars are getting quicker and more powerful. They're too narrow and have too many 180° turns.
 

FeltHat

3000RPM
Premium
get rid of fan boost, put them on better tracks (what @Fat-Alfie said) and we have a great series to watch :rolleyes:
(great run Lotterer, rip in spaghetti)
 
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Ole Marius Myrvold

JWB 96-13
Staff
Premium
Great race again, but I honestly feel that these artificial, contrived circuits are starting to hamper the racing now the cars are getting quicker and more powerful. They're too narrow and have too many 180° turns.
I agree, however - some of the hairpins and hard breaking zones are there to recover some energy.

too many penalties altering results. its like every other race no one knows whos won.
Gotta learn how to drive within the rules then I guess :)
 

apex11

Banned
Another superb race full of overtaking and a bit of controversy, a great advert for the future of electric car racing.

Well worth a watch, more position changes in the first couple of laps than an entire F1 race. The way the cars have been designed to allow them to race so close together makes for an exciting series, closer to MotoGP levels of action than F1. they must be pretty tricky to drive on the limit because there are always plenty of driver mistakes. It's almost impossible to predict who will win, no one has a significant advantage.
Don't suppose you watched the MotoGP race today did you?
Absolutely stunning.

Some people like RACING...... others, just like F1.
 

MarkR

500RPM
Premium
Don't suppose you watched the MotoGP race today did you?
Absolutely stunning.

Some people like RACING...... others, just like F1.
I certainly did watch with friends and what an incredible race from start to finish, 8 bikes from several different manufacturers all in the hunt. I couldn't even see the space some of those overtakes were made in! As for Marquez 'losing' the back of his bike and recovering it out of those fast corners that was something else - I'd have had to sit down for a week to calm down if I'd done that (not that I could!). Moto2 & 3 were also incredibly close.

A great day of racing all round!
 

Mark Ratzenbacher

100RPM
Premium
Great race again, but I honestly feel that these artificial, contrived circuits are starting to hamper the racing now the cars are getting quicker and more powerful. They're too narrow and have too many 180° turns.
You watched the Mexico race, did you ? I was expecting a different kind of race due to the wider circuit, its been a proper race track compared to the others. But a proper wreckfest as always as well. This might sound harsh to some, but my point is, it´s not the circuits nor the drivers whats hampering the races.
But all i ever get is disagrees :D Keep ém coming ! :roflmao:
 

MarkR

500RPM
Premium
It's a developing category of Motorsport and it has some youthful exuberance with the level of contact. I'm enjoying seeing drivers from various series battling it out. I think the others like overtaking the former F1 boys!

For me personally I enjoy the series like MotoGP/2/3 that have worked to keep the racing close through regulation changes, Le Mans with BoP and BTCC with ballast. Good stewards are essential too.

Other series that are more an engineering competition about who can find an adaptation to the rules, are less exciting to watch. I can marvel at the engineering and technology but it doesn't make the racing better.
 
Of the top open wheel racing series i do prefer Indycar the most by far, but
Formula E is getting more and more attention lately.
Cars looking quite good, performance gap between cars is very tight, races
are entertaining and, even though they are too narrow and short, i would
always prefer their streetcourses over most of these "tilked", modern
cookie-cutter F1 race tracks. For sure there are some things i don't like,
for example Attack zone/mode or like i said too narrow courses what makes
it very hard to overtake cleanly. But this list is way more shorter compared
to a list compiled of all the things i "hate"/ don't like about F1 currently.
 

Andrew Harper

2000RPM
Premium
I watched the race Sunday morning and it was a good race, lots of action.

Kind of saw the Sam Bird penalty coming, if he'd accidently biffed Andre and got passed without incident I think they would have let it go but with the resulting puncture the penalty was surely going to head Sam's way.

However a good race and good entertainment.

As mentioned though it would be nicer in the future to have less narrow and stop start type street circuits. Some of the races this year seem to be around car parks and trading estates.

The beauty of most street races in F1 was the backdrop. A FE race through New York for example with the skyscraper skyline would be pretty cool. A race around Oxford Street/Regent street in London would be great fun. Unfortunately though I think the local councils (or however you wish to call them) would prefer the events to be held out of the city centre.

An example is the return of the UK onto the calendar next year, It's at the Excel Centre and around the access roads, which is....basically a car park. I will probably go out of curiosity but a real shame I feel. I visited there recently to see an exhibition and it's probably the most boring/industrial part of London. However I can understand why they are trying this. The Excel is a huge exhibition centre with many large halls and there must of only been about a few thousand of us there, almost all the halls were empty, no one in the coffee shops or eateries. It certainly needs the business.

Again though it's quite a bit outside of central London (about 45 minutes on tube and DLR) so it will be interesting to see who bothers to turn up.
 
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