NextEV Formula E Team: Long Beach ePrix Report

2 April 2015 

The sixth round of the 2015/16 FIA Formula E Championship took place today at the iconic Long Beach street circuit in California, the location of NextEV’s first race victory in season one with current Champion Nelson Piquet Jr. Oliver Turvey finished this season’s race in 12th position, while Nelson retired on lap 34. 

Oliver was drawn out in Group 1 for qualifying and set the 14th fastest time. He was promoted to 13th when Antonio Felix Da Costa was disqualified from the session.  Oliver maintained position at the start of the 41-lap race, but fell to 14th on lap 6 and then lost a further position on lap 8. On lap 16 Sebastien Buemi and Robin Frijns were forced into the pits with crash damage, promoting Oliver to 13th. He pitted on lap 22 and emerged in 13th. He moved up to 12th on lap 34 after passing Mike Conway and then up to 11th a lap later when Da Costa pitted. After a safety car period, green flag racing resumed three laps to the chequered flag, and Oliver lost a position when he was forced to take evasive action to avoid Jean Eric Vergne, moving into 12th, the position in which he finished the race. 

Nelson headed out in qualifying Group 3, and secured 15th on the grid. However, the team was penalized for having to change the eMotor on Nelson’s car, and he was demoted to 17th on the grid and given a ten second penalty in the pitstop. He fell to 18th on the first lap and moved up to 16th on lap 16 due to Buemi and Frijns’ accident damage. On lap 34 he was forced into early retirement after stopping out on track due to a brush with the wall. 

Oliver Turvey (Car #88): “It was a frustrating end because even though we struggled a bit in the opening laps, we caught up a bit in the first stint and we went one lap longer than a lot of the guys in front of us so we had more energy in the second stint. I felt good in the second car but then the safety car came out just when I was going to attack and try to overtake a couple of cars. That was a shame as we could have fought for points. Also in the last hairpin Jean Eric Vergne had a problem and pushed me wide, which caused me to brush the wall. All in all it was a shame not to be able to make the most of the weekend.”

Nelson Piquet Jr (Car #1): “Unfortunately there wasn’t anything more we could do this weekend. Obviously we have to keep working for the rest of the season but it’s very challenging. What we can try to do the rest of the season is work to get the fastest lap like Buemi was doing today, but even that is going to be difficult. I was trying to be more aggressive in the race and go for fastest lap today to get the points but it didn’t work out.”

Martin Leach, President, NextEV: "It was clearly another challenging race weekend for us.  During qualifying we closed the gap to pole position to down to just over one second, so our approach to continuous improvement is paying dividends. But we lost a motor in FP2 for Nelson, which meant he had to start at the back, and that caused a knock on of a series of things which eventually led to his retirement. It was a shame about Oliver as he was looking good for P11.  Towards the end of the race Jean Eric Verne slowed suddenly which resulted in Oliver brushing the wall and he finished P13."

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