By Dylan Coyle
WHIP Radio Assistant Sports Director Dylan Coyle reports from New York on the latest in the Forumla E World Championship title hunt
In the Shakedown yesterday, Sebastien Buemi slid out of turn 14 before smacking his right rear against the outside wall, damaging his suspension. It’s something you don’t see often: a driver binning it in the Shakedown.
However, Buemi was the first of many drivers to struggle with the Brooklyn street circuit on Saturday morning. Dust has accumulated on the track and it isn’t coming off easily. In the first practice session, Felix Rosenqvist was the first one to take a slide on the slippery surface before Jose Maria Lopez and Nick Heidfeld topped off an anti-climatic start to the weekend.
Two red flags came out in the first practice. The drivers had to stop, meaning that the track would stay slippery for a longer amount of time. Andre Lotterer almost smacked the wall head-on in turn two during the second practice, while Di Grassi locked up and just avoided a damaged car in turn 14.
You get it by now. The track is slippery.
After qualifying, the surface should be in a better condition than it was at the beginning of the day, but it still won’t be optimal for the drivers. A cleaner track means more grip, but the opposite can lead to a mix-up in strategy for the teams.
Allan McNish, team principal for Audi, laughed and said that the feedback he has been hearing from both Lucas Di Grassi and Daniel Abt has only been about the track surface. “Both of the are quite happy with the car balance, considering the circuit’s in very dirty conditions,” McNish said during the first practice. “The circuit evolution is going to be very, very big with all of that dust on track.”
The lack of track evolution will lead to an exciting race, but it won’t be the only reason it’ll be a thriller. Sam Bird and Jean-Eric Vergne are starting round 11 from 14th and 20th, respectively, and navigating their way on this track won’t be an easy task. It’s going to be a scrappy fight from the back of the grid for those two, but both drivers seem to be relaxed by the prospect of a championship decider. Vergne even posted a picture on Twitter of the two with their arms wrapped around each other.
If the track remains dusty, expect to see a lot of lock-ups and wall smacks in the first race this weekend.
Also, expect a lot of drivers to be complaining more than usual.
This article was written, researched, and published by WHIP Radio Assistant Sports Director Dylan Coyle. If you wish to interact with Dylan, you can reach him on Twitter at @DylanRCoyle.
Photo: Formula E
I am the Sports Director at WHIP Radio. I am also the Media Director of the Temple University Ice Hockey Club, Broadcast/Media Relations Assistant of the Reading Royals, and a writer for Klein College.