Buenos Aires race day

Trackside updates all day from Current E editor, Ross Ringham.

1736 That’s the end of our live coverage. Driver interviews will be posted in a feature to follow. Keep your eyes peeled. What a race, what a venue. Lots to talk about in the break before Miami. Continue the Formula E conversation with us via Twitter and keep it Current E.

1708 Nine cars under investigation. Blimey.

1705 Podium celebrations. Driver interviews up after that, which we’ll bring you shortly.

1703 It’s also a significant result for Venturi, but for the opposite reason. The team needed a strong result here to start rebuilding through the second half of the season. They were so close to that with Heidfeld’s P1 run, again a promising performance hasn’t turned into a haul of points.

1700 That’s a very important result for Amlin. Remember our chat with the team’s technical boss on Thursday? He was saying that he expected a big step forwards in performance at this event. Looks like he was right.

1657 The race provisionally finishes:

  1. Felix da Costa
  2. Prost
  3. Piquet
  4. Alguersuari
  5. Senna
  6. Vergne
  7. Bird
  8. Duran
  9. Heidfeld
  10. Servia
  11. Sarrazin
  12. Tung
  13. Andretti
  14. Abt
  15. D’Ambrosio

We’ll bring you a confirmed list when it’s published.

1656 Tung, Alguersuari and Abt under investigation.

1653 All change then. Felix da Costa is leading the race. Followed (a long way back) by Prost, Piquet, Algersuari, Senna, Vergne, Bird, Duran, Heidfeld, Servia, Sarrazin., Tung, Andretti, Abt, d’Ambrosio.

1652 Good luck picking highlights from this one. It’s like demolition derby out there. Last man standing.

1651 Two laps to go. Still kinking around going on all through the pack. Everyone is trying to make up a place or two. This could be the first win for Amlin Aguri. Looks like Vergne has got past Alguersuari. Abt then hits him but takes himself out.

1650 Heidfeld, our race leader, is handed a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane. What miserable luck.

1649 Vergne makes contact with Alguersuari and waves as if berate the Spaniard. Looked like the Frenchman’s fault to us.

1649 While it’s a mystery to us why Bird is running in P10, he has set the fastest lap of the race, on L29.

1648 Very close to the end. Four laps remaining. Vergne is hunting down Alguersuari. My word this looks tight.

1647 So the order appears to be Heidfeld, Felix da Costa, Alguersuari, Vergne, Prost, Abt, Piquet, Servia, Duran, Senna, Bird, Sarrazin, Tung, Trulli, Andretti, d’Ambrosio.

1645 Chandhok, Buemi, di Grassi. All victims of those kerbs. The timing screen is telling us that Bird is a long way down the order but we can’t see why that might be.

1644 What a race this has been. Looks like the sae chicane that took out Buemi also took out di Grassi. Nasty corner, that.

1643 Heidfeld inherits the lead. Bird is close. But he wants to be careful. With Buemi and di Grassi out, this is a good opportunity to score some great points in the championship.

1642 Tung picks up a penalty for being under the minimum pit stop time.

1642 Ah. It would be that sausage kerb chicane. Again. Suspension destroyed. ABT boys clapping because di Grassi pressured him into the move. But then there goes di Grassi.

1641 Not yet seen what happened to Buemi but his front wheel was all sorts of wrong angles.

1640 Di Grassi leads this race. Heidfeld behind. Bird trying to take Felix da Costa…and succeeding.

1638 Looks like game over for Buemi. Vergne hits his Fanboost. Andretti is right next to him.

1638 Green flags and the racing resumes. Di Grassi is very, very close to Buemi.

1633 The BMW i8 safety continues to look effortlessly cool.

1631 That’s according to our timing screens. It doesn’t look like that all on track.

1630 It looks like the racing order is: Buemi, di Grassi, Heidfeld, Felix da Costa, Bird, Alguersuari, Prost, Vergne, Abt, Servia, Duran, Trulli, Piquet, Senna, Sarrazin, Tung, d’Ambrosio, Andretti, Cerruti.

1629 Watching the replays of Chandhok’s smash. Looks very Robin Reliant.

1628 Bird is under investigation.

1627 A Mahindra and a China Racing are stationary in the pit lane. What is going on there?

1626 Looks like Buemi has got out of the pits ahead of di Grassi and Heidfeld. It doesn’t look like Alguersuari has come in yet. Chancing his luck at making up some ground? Looks a bit risky.

1625 And here comes the safety car. That’ll slow them all down and help them conserve energy.

1624 Looks like it was on that final sausage kerb chicane. It’s sent him flying and smashed the rear corner of the car. Surely that’ll be a safety car. In which case, we might see a lot of pitting now.

1623 Chandhok is out.

1622 Oh dear, it’s all going wrong for the Venturi driver. That’s Alguersuari and Bird past him now as well. He had to cut the last chicane. Bird locked up massively in outbraking him down the straight. Heidfeld didn’t jink as Prost did a few races back.

1621 Di Grassi does Heidfeld. At the hairpin again. Very nicely done. Lined up, forced Heidfeld wide, took the line through the hairpin. He’s perfected that move at this track.

1620 Remember when seeing the battery graphics on your TV screen that the percentage left is what remains from the energy permitted by regulations. There’s more in the battery than that.

1619 Both Heidfeld and Buemi will have memories of not finishing in Beijing, so they’ll be careful not to get too silly. To finish first, first you must finish.

1618 Forgive us if our updates are a little slow to load. The media centre WiFi is creaking under the weight of a lot more press than expected.

1617 Alguersuari is having to get all defensive against his team mate, who is very close to his rear fenders.

1616 Di Grassi sets the fastest lap of the race so far. That’s worth points, remember.

1615 So at around the 25% mark, we’ve got Buemi followed by Heidfeld, di Grassi, Alguersuari, Bird, Felix da Costa, Vergne, Prost, Piquet, Chandhok, Abt, Sarrazin, Servia, Senna, Duran, Trulli, Andretti, Tung, d’Ambrosio, Cerruti.

1614 We’re on L8 already. Di Grassi has got past Alguersuari. Ballsy move on the inside of the hairpin.

1611 Di Grassi, too, is getting very close to the car in front. That’s Alguersuari, who won’t want him there. Di Grassi of course wants to keep up his run of podiums – one in every race so far.

1610 No sooner do we say that and Heidfeld tries nosing past Buemi. There’s a gap opening up between the first two and Alguersuari in third. It’ll be interesting to see their how their energy levels are doing.

1609 Cerruti is back out. Buemi continues to lead. The front runners are taking it a little more carefully. There might only be 35 laps in total but there’s still plenty of time to get it wrong.

1607 Di Grassi has jumped Bird.

1607 There is one hell of a roar as the pack passes by over the last chicane.

1605 Pack is all bunched up. Buemi leads Heidfeld, followed by Alguersuari, Bird and then di Grassi. Cerruti is in the pits being jacked up.

1604 Good start from Buemi, Alguersuari right in the mix. Heidfeld goes for the overtake. And makes it. Using his Fanboost, from the looks of it.

1604 Lights out!

1603 They all pull forwards to the start line.

1602 The cars are lined up in a dummy grid – the tail enders are in on the track in front of the media centre.

1558 All getting very close. We can hear the radios saying “Five minute warning. Please clear the grid.” Tension building.

1553 Somewhat fittingly, our screens in the media centre all went black during that minute. More worryingly, they haven’t turned back on.

1551 There will be a minute’s silence in one minute as a mark of respect for the recent tragedy in France.

1550 We’re back on WiFi: we don’t have it when we’re strolling in the pit lane. Fanboost has been awarded to Heidfeld, Vergne and Senna. That’s going to make the battle among that top little group even more epic.

1405 Just under two hours to go until we’re racing here in Argentina. Those first three rows are going to make for an almighty first lap. You’re not going to want to miss it. We’re off in search of food. We’ll be back before lights out.

1350 Provisional starting grid has no entry for Trulli on it, although the official news piece from the series organiser says that he’ll start from the back.

1307 We’ll bring you finalised results when we have them. In the meantime, there’s a break until the race start at 1604. In the meantime, the schools series will be racing on track, from 1410 to 1430.

1304 Quali finishes:

  1. Buemi (1.09.134)
  2. Alguersuari (1.09.161)
  3. Heidfeld (1.09.367)
  4. Bird (1.09.388)
  5. Di Grassi (1.09.521)
  6. Vergne (109.527)
  7. Prost (109.636)
  8. Felix da Costa (1.09.658)
  9. Piquet (1.09.742)
  10. Chandhok (1.09.875)
  11. Sarrazin (1.10.165)
  12. Abt (1.10.329)
  13. Servia (1.10.588)
  14. Andretti (1.10.713)
  15. Tung (1.11.049)
  16. Duran (1.11.331)
  17. Cerruti (1.11.785)
  18. D’Ambrosio (1.12.239)
  19. Senna (1.13.209)
  20. Trulli

1303 And that’s it for quali. Everyone pits.

1259 JEV banks a 1.09.527 so go sixth fastest overall. Senna kisses the wall.

1258 Andretti is playing chicken with the walls. And winning, so far.

1257 All cars in this group barring Trulli are under investigation. Did they break the pit lane speed limit or cross the exit line too early?

1256 Green flags. Here we go. Final six minutes of quali.

1254 Session should restart at 1256. That disrupts the flow though, which will make it tricky for the other drivers to stay in the zone and nail a fast lap.

1250 Trulli crashes. Looks like he was monstering through lap and then lost the back end on the slippery surface. Red flags.

1249 The Dragon boys seem to be slower too, which is a shame given their form in Malaysia two races ago: very nearly a front row lockout.

1248 JEV hasn’t run away with lap times so far like he did in Punta. Let’s see how he qualifies.

1247 Here comes Q4. The final group. We’ve got Trulli. JEV, Andretti, d’Ambrosio and Senna.

1244 Q3 is done: Heidfeld, Chandhok, Sarrazin, Abt, Duran.

1241 Heidfeld jumps up to third fastest overall with 1.09.367, displacing Bird.

1239 Quick Nick is the top of this little group with 1.09.964, followed by Chandhok, Abt, Sarrazin and Duran.

1234 Green flags out for Q3. We’ve gotr Chandhok, Heidfeld, Sarrazin, Abt and Duran.

1233 That beard seems to have made Alguersuari suddenly very fast in the electric car. Perhaps it’s changed the weight distribution of the car.

1230 End of Q2. Cerruti looks quicker but nowhere as near the limit as the front runners. She ends up with a 1.11.785, which at least means she’ll be able to race, even if that’s the slowest time so far. Q2 finishes Alguersuari, di Grassi, Prost (who improves with 1.09.636), Servia, Cerruti.

1229 Prost goes better with 1.10.044. Good enough for P7 overall thus far.

1227 And as we wrote that, the notice came up. Session restarted. Three minutes to rack up a good time for Prost and Cerruti. The Italian is only on a 1.33.569 which is outside the 110% permitted time as it stands (1.16.047).

1224 We’re waiting tro hear if this group will restart. At the moment, the order for Q2 is Alguersuari, di Grassi, Prost, Servia, Cerruti.

1222 The session is red flagged. Di Grassi lost the back end around a wide corner, corrected and then went sideways into the wall. Alguersuari put in a very quick lap. He’s notched up a 1.09.161. That’s good enough for provisional P2 on the grid thus far.

1221 Di Grassi has stuffed it. He’s lost the front of the car. Wing gone, wheel akimbo.

1220 Cerruti is showing a 1.33.569. She’s cruising round. Building up for a fast one? Alguersuari is massively close to the walls. Looking very good.

1219 So Di Grassi is fastest of this little group, followed by Alguersuari, Servia, Prost and Cerruti. Di Grassi is third fastest in quali so far, with 1.09.521.

1218 These cars sound epic as they screech around the last chicane, which is just outside the media centre.

1215 Green flag. Here goes Q2.

1214 Almost ready for Q2. Quick fire stuff, this. Bird and Buemi don’t look ecstatic with those lap times. Let’s see what happens. Next up are Alguersuari, di Grassi, Servia, Cerruti and Prost.

1210 Q1 ends: Buemi, Bird, Felix da Costa, Piquet, Tung. No one has managed to go faster than Buemi’s quali time of 1.09.134 in practice (apart from himself, in FP2).

1209 Felix da Costa summoned to race director after quali.

1209 Apart from Tung on a 1.11 lap, all Q1 drivers are on 1.09s.

1207 Buemi pits. Bird goes faster to get into P2 in this group on 1.09.388.

1205 Halfway into Q1 and it’s Buemi, Felix da Costa, Piquet, Bird, Tung.

1204 Buemi goes fastest with 1.09.691. That’s a fair bit slower than his fastest in practice, but that’s not hugely surprising. It pays to be a little bit careful in quali as the laps are so limited: a crash would be disastrous.

1200 And here we go.

1155 Trulli says that he had a brake issue with one of his cars and traffic on his fastest laps in quali, which has hampered his times. His fastest lap was a 1.10 so he has some time to find to challenge the front of the field.

1153 Q1 has Bird, Buemi, Felix da Costa, Tung and Piquet in it. That’s going to be one quick group. FIA boss Jean Todt is here. Wonder what he makes of the show thus far.

1148 We’re now awaiting quali, which starts at 12. Four groups of five drivers, with 10mins each on track. The powertrains are meant to allow the drivers to be able to do three fast laps on the bounce. In reality, the drivers usually squeeze a cooling lap in between flying laps. That means that, combined with the in lap and out lap, drivers normally get just two or three fast laps to set a quali time. And that’s without yellow or red flags, of course.

1106 Buemi looks untouchable, but can he repeat his performance in pursuit of pole? Amlin seems to have worked out how to give Felix da Costa a car that he can really throw around the track, and he’s showing his speed. Di Grassi, Abt and Vergne aren’t surprises to see near the front either.

1105 Final order in FP2 is:

  1. Buemi (1.08.933)
  2. Di Grassi (1.09.260)
  3. Felix da Costa (1.09.325)
  4. Abt (109.640)
  5. Vergne (1.09.837)
  6. Chandhok (1.10.015)
  7. Alguersuari (1.10.040)
  8. Sarrazin (1.10.063)
  9. Bird (1.10.084)
  10. Trulli (1.10.163)
  11. Piquet (1.10.177)
  12. Heidfeld (1.10.652)
  13. D’Ambrosio (1.10.832)
  14. Andretti (1.11.015)
  15. Senna (1.11.054)
  16. Duran (1.11.144)
  17. Servia (1.11.428)
  18. Prost (1.12.259)
  19. Cerruti (1.12.695)
  20. Tung (1.13.941)

1100 That’s the end of the session.

1056 Four minutes left. Di Grassi has found some more speed and has set a 109260 to go second fastest in this session, ahead of his team mate.

1053 JEV suddenly leaps up the order with a 1.09.837, slotting him into fourth for FP2.

1053 Tung’s car is limping along the track into a run off area. No obvious damage seen.

1050 10mins to go in FP2. That’s all the time the drivers have to figure out their best lines before quali, where they only get a couple of flying laps.

1048 Green flags are back out. The order thus far: Buemi, Abt, Chandhok, Alguersuari, Sarrazin, Bird, Trulli, d’Ambrosio, Senna, Servia, di Grassi, Felix da Costa, Piquet, Vergne, Prost, Duran, Heidfeld, Andretti, Tung, Cerruti.

1046 Red flags are out as Sarrazin comes back to the pits trailing bits of the back of the car. He lost the back end under hard braking and hit the plastic barriers.

1044 Abt bangs in a 1.39.640 to go second fastest in this second.

1042 With 18mins to go, our order is: Buemi, Chandhok, Alguersuari, Trulli, d’Ambrosio, Senna, Servia, di Grassi, Bird, Piiquet, Vergne, Abt, Felix da Costa, Prost, Duran, Sarrazin, Heidfeld, Andretti, Tung, Cerruti.

1039 Buemi sets a 1.08.933, eclipsing his FP1 time. Phew.

1037 Tyre smoke from Prost as he pushes hard. Top four drivers are all in 1.10 zone now: Chandhok, Trulli, Alguersuari, d’Ambrosio.

1033 Chandhok straight into a 1.10.015 and Trulli with 1.10.163. Buemi’s time in FP1 remains the one to beat.

1031 Cars out on track for FP2. Here’s quali heats:

  1. Bird, Buemi, Felix da Costa, Tung, Piquet
  2. Alguersuari, Servia, di Grassi, Cerruti, Prost
  3. Chandhok, Heidfeld, Sarrazin, Abt, Duran
  4. Trulli, Vergne, Andretti, d’Ambrosio, Senna

1024 Six minutes to go until FP2.

1020 What we know right now is Cerruti in Q2, Trulli in Q4, Andretti and JEV in Q4.

1018 Quali groups have been picked, we’re just waiting to hear on who’s in which heat. The lottery is done in the VIP Emotion club, where media aren’t permitted. We’ll bring you the results as soon as we have them.

1010 Just 20mins until FP2 gets underway.

1004 Not a huge amount forthcoming at the moment. But in the meantime, check out this awesome video of the Rimac Concept One hypercar doing a lap of the Buenos Aires circuit, filmed using 360 degree camera tech.

0914 We’re off for a stroll down the pitlane to see what the gossip is. Surprising to see JEV in the middle of the group and Servia at the tail end. 

0909 Right, time for the first coffee of the day. The day’s schedule has been adjusted to allow for the Greenpower schools series, so FP2 isn’t until 1030.

0906 Prost is under investigation. No action for Buemi and Prost.

0905 The final order in FP1  is: 

  1. Buemi (1.09.475)
  2. Di Grassi (1.09.831)
  3. Abt (1.10.579)
  4. Chandhok (1.10.917)
  5. Prost (1.11.605)
  6. Piquet (1.11.952)
  7. Alguersuari (1.12.154)
  8. D’Ambrosio (1.12.306)
  9. Felix da Costa (1.12.360)
  10. Heidfeld (1.12.464)
  11. Vergne (1.12.598)
  12. Bird (1.12.663)
  13. Senna (1.12.751)
  14. Sarrazin (1.12.832)
  15. Trulli (1.12.839)
  16. Duran (1.13.115)
  17. Tung (1.13.677)
  18. Servia (1.13.881)
  19. Andretti (1.14.071)
  20. Cerruti (1.14.161)

0900 The chequered flags are out for FP1. Abt sneaks in a quick 1.10579. 

0859 Less than a minute to go. Can anyone better Buemi’s time? It looks unlikely. 

0858 Blink and you’ll miss…everything. Buemi posts a 1.09.475, di Grassi puts in 1.09.831 and Prost nails a 1.11.605. That leaves the top five as Buemi, di Grassi, Chandhok, Prost, Piquet. 

0854 Wow. Chandhok puts in a 1.10.917. That’s a full second faster than deposed Piquet’s 1.11952. Where did that come from?

0851 It’s something of a surprise to see JEV in P14, given how fast he was in Punta del Este. Andretti looks like he’s pacing himself, getting a feel for the car and its systems before pushing too hard. There is a lot to get used to, with regen settings, battery energy and power settings.

0850 That’s the 10min countdown and Piquet is at the top of the board. He’s followed by Buemi, di Grassi, Prost, Abt, Alguersuari, Heidfeld, Bird, Senna, Chandhok, Sarrazin, d’Ambrosio, Felix da Costa, Vergne, Trulli, Duran, Servia, Tung, Andretti, Cerruti.

0849 These cars are well worth coming to watch in person. Because they’re so much quieter than normal you can clearly hear all the tyre squeal as car slides around on the road. 

0847 Just 12 full minutes remain. You can really hear the cars bouncing around over the track, especially over that last chicane. Piquet is now fastest with 1.11.952. He’s the first to dip under the 1.12 mark. He’s also under investigation however.

0844 Buemi goes to the top of the list with a 1.12.158 but is under investigation.

0840 The top eight drivers are separated by just one second, and many of them aren’t into double digit lap totals yet. These times will come down.

0838 Green flags.

0836 So top of the timing sheets so far is Lucas di Grassi, on a 1.12.474. He’s followed by Buemi (1.12609), Piquet (1.12.777), Prost (1.13.279), Felix da Costa (1.13.295), Vergne (1.13.301), Bird (1.13.302), Heidfeld (1.13.447), Abt (1.13.521), Chandhok (1.13.551), Alguersuari (1.13.869), Servia (1.13.881) and Senna (1.13.899). Then come d’Ambrosio, Sarrazin. Trulli, Tung, Andretti, Duran and Cerruti. 

0833 It’s not unusual to see these sessions red flagged, as the drivers have so little time to get to know the circuit. There is no gradual build up over several days. They have two free practice sessions, then ten minutes in quali to nail a fast lap, and then they’re into the race. That means pushing very hard from the first few minutes and we’ve often seen crashes and interrupted running at this point of the day.

0831 The first red flag of the session is brought out for Nelson Piquet, who gets it wrong over the only sausage kerb chicane on the track and dives nose on into the walls.

0830 FP1 is underway. It’s a 45min session and the first chance the drivers have had to test the track out at any speed. FP2 follows a little later in the morning but is only half an hour.

0805 The track looks fast, the drivers look up for it, temperatures are a little lower this morning then they have been. All in all, anticipation is high. There are long queues of people waiting to access the circuit. 

0800 Good morning and welcome to Buenos Aires race day! 

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