Championship leading Renault e.dams looks to return to winning ways in its home race when the FIA Formula E Championship takes to the streets of Paris for the first time with the Formula E Visa Paris ePrix on April 23.
For the seventh round of the 2015/16 season the French capital is the location with a 1.93km bespoke street course formed around Les Invalides, featuring fourteen turns and a clockwise configuration.
The previous outing at Long Beach, California, was a frustrating event for the squad with strong pace – including the race’s fastest lap – not translating to solid results after a race incident and subsequent penalty for Sebastien Buemi and also a penalty for Nico Prost.
Despite Nico finishing the race in eleventh and Sebastien in sixteenth, Renault e.dams maintains the lead in the teams’ championship, with Renault’s 138 points putting them six clear of Audi Sport ABT. However, the German team’s resurgence in America means Lucas di Grassi now leads Buemi in the drivers’ championship by a solitary point.
The Californian disappointment highlights the high standards within the team, with Sebastien taking earlier victories in Beijing and Punta del Este, as well as podiums in Buenos Aires and Mexico. Nico meanwhile hit a good vein of form to boost the team’s points total. After retiring in Beijing and taking tenth in Putrajaya, the Frenchman has finished inside the top five in three of the last four races, including a third place in Mexico.
The team’s Z.E.15 race cars headed to Donington Park following the Long Beach event to be stripped down and evaluated, this being the only occasion during the course of the season that the cars go back to base as opposed to heading to the next event.
The Paris ePrix is of particular importance for Renault, which has been a pioneer in EV technology. The Renault-Nissan Alliance was the first constructor to invest heavily in EV in 2009 and Renault is now the leader in the field with a 23.6% market share in Europe (2015). More than 18,500 ZOE cars have been sold across Europe, making it the best-selling EV on the market, while more than half the electric cars on the road in France are Renault vehicles.
Renault has used its involvement in Formula E to develop the innovative range of EV cars, including the ZOE, Twizy, Kangoo and Fluence Z.E. The Twizy engine, for example, was developed on the dynos in Viry-Châtillon, the nerve centre of Renault Sport motorsport engine operations. Future projects will likewise utilise the resources at both Viry and Enstone, the chassis technical base for Renault Sport.
All action for the Visa Paris ePrix takes place on Saturday 23 April.