Formula E: Buemi tops opening practice in India

With the track so dusty  some drivers decided to sit out Practice 1 for the India Formula E race on Friday.

The pole sitter in Diriyah, Sebastian Buemi turned the fastest lap at 1m15.088s to top Stoffel Vandoorne and Sette Camara.

After a delayed start to the session, all cars made their way onto the 2.835km street circuit. However, just minutes into FP1, the TAG Heuer Porsche of Pascal Wehrlein brought out a red flag after a big impact at Turn 18.

Suggesting that the throttle on his Porsche was stuck, the German’s car made contact with the barriers at high speed, and caused significant damage to both the front and rear of his car. The incident also littered the track with debris, but the efficiency of local marshals meant racing was back underway minutes later.

Championship leader Wehrlein was able to remove himself from the car and is ok, but received medical attention after the shunt for a foot injury. With his 99X Electric Gen3 spending the rest of the session at the side of the track, Porsche decided that it would keep all cars with its powertrains garaged and sitting out the rest of the session until they were able to collect the data and learn from the crash.

It was a a big decision from Porsche, leaving Wehrlein’s teammate and Season 6 Champion Antonio Felix da Costa, out of the session. Avalanche Andretti, a customer team of the Porsche powertrains and home to Mexico City race winner Jake Dennis, were also forced to miss the important running time. This evening in India will be a busy one for Porsche, who recently did the double and won both races over the Diriyah E-Prix weekend. Not only will they be needing to rebuild Wehrlein’s car, but they’ll also have to get to the bottom of the issue.

Elsewhere on track, Maserati MSG Racing’s Edoardo Mortara got a bit too cosy with the NIO 333 of Dan Ticktum, driving up the rear of his car during the session. NEOM McLaren’s Jake Hughes also had a moment of his own, wrestling his papaya McLaren around ATTACK MODE but managing it well.

Buemi, who went quickest, has shown great pace over the last few races, even achieving the Julius Baer Pole Position in his Envision during Saturday’s race in Diriyah and currently sits just behind Jake Hughes (NEOM McLaren) as the second best qualifier this season. Behind Buemi, reigning champ and DS PENSKE driver, Stoffel Vandoorne. With DS PENSKE being early favorites this early pace will be a welcomed change for the outfit that have not delivered on their potential so far this season.

NIO’s Sergio Sette Camara rounded out the top three times, with the Jaguar TCS Racing duo of Sam Bird and Mitch Evans finishing the session in a promising fourth and fifth, respectively – on “home turf” for the TATA-owned company.

Practice 1 Results

1 S. Buemi 16 1:15.088 0.000s 0.000s
2 S. Vandoorne 1 1:15.269 0.181 0.181
3 S. Sette Câmara 3 1:15.452 0.364 0.183
4 S. Bird 10 1:15.612 0.524 0.160
5 L. Di Grassi 11 1:15.647 0.559 0.035
6 M. Evans 9 1:15.719 0.631 0.072
7 E. Mortara 48 1:15.734 0.646 0.015
8 J. Vergne 25 1:15.810 0.722 0.076
9 M. Günther 7 1:15.905 0.817 0.095
10 N. Cassidy 37 1:16.036 0.948 0.131
11 D. Ticktum 33 1:16.044 0.956 0.008
12 N. Nato 17 1:16.142 1.054 0.098
13 J. Hughes 5 1:16.522 1.434 0.380
14 N. Müller 51 1:16.625 1.537 0.103
15 S. Fenestraz 23 1:16.656 1.568 0.031
16 R. Rast 58 1:16.697 1.609 0.041
17 K. Van Der Linde 4 1:16.748 1.660 0.051
18 O. Rowland 8 1:17.476 2.388 0.728
19 A. Da Costa 13
20 J. Dennis 27
21 A. Lotterer 36
22 P. Wehrlein 94