2018 Formula E New York City ePrix - Day 1
This past weekend I was in New York City with ZF Motorsport for the Formula E New York City ePrix held in Red Hook, Brooklyn. A wonderful location right on the water with Manhattan and Brooklyn as your backdrop. Wherever you turned your head throughout the weekend, you were met with stunning views.
The final race of the Formula E season was a double header with race 1 on Saturday, and race 2 on Sunday. Practice sessions and qualifying are all held on the same day as well, making it a busy weekend for everyone involved. This season's finale was made even more interesting by the driver's championship coming down to the final between Jean Eric Vergne of Techeetah and Sam Bird of DS Virgin Racing, as well as the team's championship which would be decided over the weekend as well.
Getting to the track from Manhattan was super simple, just a quick ferry ride across the river with a heck of a view.
I walked from the ferry all around the track until I checked into the media center, then headed over to the garages to see the teams getting their cars ready for free practice 2.
Practice 2 got underway at 10:00 with qualifying at 11:30 and I headed out on track to get my first shots of the cars in action. I've been to a handful of Formula 1, IndyCar, and IMSA races before but this was my first Formula E race. I was pleasantly surprised by how the cars sounded on track, they're not nearly as quiet as you may think they would be up close! Thanks to the lack of any engine sounds, you're really able to hear how close to the limit of grip each driver is through the turns and how hard they attack the kerbs through each turn. You can smell the rubber of certain drivers who are really pushing their tires to the limit too. The whoosh of the cars cutting through the air along with the whine of the gearbox and the tires finding their grip gives the cars a very distinct sound as they go by that is unmistakably Formula E.
The 45 lap race around Red Hook got underway at 3:30, with previous champion Sebastian Buemi on pole and JEV starting at the back of the grid along with teammate Andre Lotterer thanks to penalties for switching on full power too early during qualifying. Sam Bird started in 14th, ensuring Vergne had his work cut out if he wanted to secure the championship with just 23 points separating the two going into the race.
The drivers lined up on the grid before the race under the hot New York summer sun, with cooling towels and umbrellas aplenty.
Some very familiar faces in the motorsport world made their way through the paddock prior to the race, FIA President Jean Todt and former F1 driver Felipe Massa who announced he will be joining Formula E as a driver for Venturi next season.
Lights out and away we go.
Lucas di Grassi finished the race in first with Daniel Abt and Sebastian Buemi rounding out the podium. \With a fifth place finish, Jean Eric Vergne secured the championship ahead of Sam Bird who finished in 9th.
The top 3 celebrated their result, while JEV took in the joy of winning the championship alongside Formula E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag. With the team's championship to be decided tomorrow during the Sunday race however, he knew he'd have to stay focused to bring home another good result for the team.
Keep an eye here for coverage from day 2 coming soon!