Switzerland’s Sébastien Buemi (Renault-e.dams) kicked off the defence of his FIA Formula E crown with victory at the 2016/2017 championship’s opener. He was joined on the Hong Kong podium by Brazilian Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler) and German driver Nick Heidfeld (Mahindra).
The paddock and eVillage of Hong Kong’s first major international motor race was located in Tamar Park, close to one of the city’s busiest districts, known for its giant Ferris wheel, International Finance Centre skyscraper and luxury boutiques.
The day before the race, the teams revealed the new liveries of their all-electric single-seater cars while Michelin Motorsport delivered its latest-generation Michelin Pilot Sport EV2 tyres to their respective garages. Jaguar – back in single-seater racing for the first time in a decade – could be seen practicing car changes.
The new Chinese team Techeetah presented its management and drivers to the Asian media and the circuit was used in anger by the first electric touring car race.
The tension climbed a notch on Sunday when the Formula E drivers got their first taste of the tricky, slippery track. There were several contacts with the perimeter walls and Lucas di Grassi was forced to start the race from last place after an accident in qualifying. Buemi lined up fifth on the grid behind DS Virgin and NEXT EV Nio’s pairs.
The race itself unfolded in front of packed grandstands (estimated attendance: 30,000). Many more spectators watched Buemi collect his seventh Formula E victory from the windows of the neighbouring shopping centre.
The teams’ next appearance will be in Marrakech, Morocco, on November 12.