After an exceptional drive from 12th on the grid to fourth across the line, Renault e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi has been disqualified from the penultimate round of the 2016-17 Formula E Season in Montreal, Canada.
Sebastien Buemi disqualification shapes up an all or nothing championship fight
Buemi had originally qualified in second place, however, a battery change saw him pick up a ten-place grid penalty, dropping him to 12th. A slow start saw Buemi get shuffled towards the back of the pack, picking up steering damage. Making matters worse, Buemi had also crashed in second practice, which meant that his Renault team had to deliver under immense pressure to get the car ready for the race.
A win from Lucas di Grassi saw the Brazilian driver snatch the championship lead from Buemi, marking the first time this season that a driver other than Buemi has lead the standings after it started last year in Hong Kong.
A few hours after the race, a six point lead for Di Grassi turned into an 18 point lead when Buemi was disqualified from the final result in the race when his car was found to be underweight. Despite the difficulties that Renault e.dams faced with a full car rebuild, the FIA came to the conclusion that a 4 kilogram advantage was too much to ignore, resulting in the disqualification of the Swiss driver.
This disqualification promoted Daniel Abt up to fourth place, giving Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport a greater haul of points in the first race of the weekend, closing in on Renault in the Teams’ Championship.
There is one race to go this season and there are 29 points on offer. An 18 point deficit will be hard to overcome for Buemi if he is to win a second title in two years in Formula E. Sebastien Buemi was quick yesterday and was only just behind Di Grassi in qualifying, and if he can claim pole position for the final race of the season, will close the points gap to 15.
With a gap of 15 points, a win for a Buemi will be important to secure. If he did manage to win the second Montreal ePrix race, Di Grassi would have to finish in fifth place or lower for Buemi to draw even with his arch-rival. Tied on points, the championship would fall into Buemi’s favour as he has six wins this season as opposed to Di Grassi’s two.
If Buemi did not get pole position however, the points gap would remain at 18 points. This would mean that second place is the minimum position that he can finish in in the final race of the season to stand a chance of winning the title. This second place would also need to be accompanied by a no score for Di Grassi, which would see the pair tie on points unless he is able to set the fastest lap. A win for Buemi with an 18 point gap is the maximum that he can do in the final race of the season, and if he did manage this, Di Grassi would have to finish in sixth place or above to win the title.
After the events of the first race of the Montreal ePrix, the second race and the season finale is set to be one of the most exciting battles of the season. It’s Sebastien Buemi vs Lucas di Grassi for the championship win with one race to go, and both will be willing to risk everything for the ultimate prize. The gloves are off in the championship battle, and the title battle is turning into a street fight.