Formula E championship leader Sebastian Buemi has a commitment to race in the WEC on the same weekend and will miss the double-header New York ePrix
Buemi has pretty much dominated this season of Formula E, having won six of the eight races so far. There was always going to be a question mark over the New York round however as for some bizarre reason it clashes with the Nurburgring round of the World Endurance Championship, where Buemi drives for Toyota.
Despite efforts to try and at least enable him to compete in the Saturday race before flying back to Europe, Buemi will be missing the New York ePrix altogether as his WEC programme takes priority. After all, he is competing for the title in that as well!
The former Toro Rosso and Red Bull junior driver will therefore be replaced in the Renault e.dams team by GP2 champion and probable future Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly.
Gasly has been racing in Japanese Super Formula this year and has got a ridiculously busy few days ahead of him. That means he’ll miss the shakedown session in New York, but in spite of that he’s looking forward to making his Formula E debut. He said:
“I’m really excited about New York, it will be a brand new experience and a great challenge to get in a Formula E car for just one race weekend. There will be a lot of things to learn in a short time. I’ll get there on Friday night at 11:30pm as I need to be in the Red Bull simulator on Friday, so it will probably be the worst preparation I’ve ever had for a race weekend.
“I’ll go straight to Japan right after the race on Sunday for a day of testing in Super Formula, so it will be a busy 48 hours in New York - no time for rest!”
Buemi currently has a 32 point lead in the Formula E championship over second-placed Lucas Di Grassi, but with the New York ePrix being a double-header it makes the fact he’s missing it doubly bad for his hopes of defending the title. Renault e.dams boss Jean-Paul Driot said it was a bad situation that could derail his title campaign with just the Montreal e.Prix left this season.
“It has been a very frustrating time and very hard for us to accept we were forced into this.The situation is regrettable because even without this clash, the championship is not a certainty. Despite this unfortunate setback, I hope that with Pierre Gasly’s invaluable assistance, Renault e.dams will be able to defend their winning chances in Montreal.”
Let’s hope it doesn’t spoil the championship battle too much, although thankfully for next year Formula E and the WEC have agreed not to have any date clashes.
It’ll be interesting to see how well Gasly does, considering it’s likely that he could be in F1 next year. And hey, at least Daniil Kvyat knows he’ll still be a Toro Rosso driver for the British Grand Prix…