Just Electric

Looking back at Gen1…

There have been countless memories created by the Gen1 car. The lack of aero grip on the Dallara/Spark Racing Technology Spark-Renault SRT_01e car meant you got close racing throughout the season.

And it even started off at the final corner, of the final lap of the first ever ePrix, when Nico Prost and Nick Heidfeld collided – allowing Lucas di Grassi to take the win. And there was also the time Robin Frijns secured a podium in Putrajaya despite his car crabbing with a few laps to go.

There were many more moments that made you get off your seat, gasp, shout, scream or even jump around.

But what do the members of the Just Electric team recall as their favourite Gen1 memory? Here, we take a look…

Bethonie Waring

The first time I ever watched Formula E, by the time I even turned on the TV on that Saturday morning, Bruno Senna had already crashed out of the 2014 Beijing ePrix. But, for some reason, I decided I was going to support the Mahindra racer.Just under two years later, I was at Battersea Park, working at the second London ePrix.

Lucas Di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi were in a tight championship fight and a shower in qualifying had put the two title contenders in the midfield.

As a journalist, I probably should have been paying attention to the title fight – and I was – but I’ll admit I got distracted by a different Brazilian at the front of the field.

Senna had managed to qualify second, aided by being in the best qualifying group. I watched the race through my fingers. There was nobody near him, but I was absolutely convinced he was going to crash or… or something…

I don’t remember most of the race. I just remember praying for nothing to go wrong, and the Italian journalists sitting in front of me thinking I was hilarious.

Just remembering this race, I’m grinning. Some may have said the London double header wasn’t great, but for me it was thrilling.

Senna got the podium – the only FE podium of his career to date and the best result Mahindra had ever taken at that point. I don’t know who was more excited about this, him or me. The Mahindra press officer said he’d been waiting for this for two years, and I quickly replied that I had been waiting for it for two years!

My second favourite moment has to be when Sebastien Buemi had a mini meltdown in Montreal. Whenever I am feeling down, I just have to rewatch that because it is the funniest thing I have ever watched.

Rob Lomas

I have so many favourite memories from the past four seasons. Some of which are on a personal level to me such as the first race in London, S2, Monaco S3 and Paris S4 being the first ePrix I went to, the first race outside the UK and the first race I was trackside and accredited. I still rate Mexico City from S3 as my favourite race due to the strategy that was being played out. 

Lucas di Grassi should not have won the race or even scored points as he had pitted so early that even with the advances for S4, he probably still would have been marginal on energy.

Having said that, the way he drove after being hit by Maro Engel on the opening lap and then after the second safety car, for Loic Duval stopping on track, was one of the key moments en-route to the championship.

The other standout memory for me was the inaugural Zurich ePrix and this was the first FIA sanctioned circuit race in Switzerland since 1954. I don’t think many people knew what to expect with regards to the local reaction, but this changed as soon as I got to my hotel and started reading one of the local newspapers they had there over a coffee. Said newspaper had a special pull-out for the race and the page count for that was easily into double figures.

At the circuit, I was there for the practice sessions and qualifying because I had to leave early to fly back to London but the size of the crowd, even for the practice sessions was unlike anything I have seen and we’re talking at least four deep for the most part on the pit straight.

It was such a well-run event and it almost changed the course of the championship battle when Vergne got a drive through penalty but fought back to finish tenth and claim a point!

Andrea Perilli

I have been lucky enough to attend many Formula E events around the globe, the majority of them as a media accredited journalist. Picking my favourite out of all of them proves to be a tough task.However, the one that stands out the most is the 2014 Punta del Este ePrix. The reasons behind my choice are merely emotional.

It was the first race I attended in my life, and so was my dad’s, who introduced me to the world of motorsports, along with my mum. Besides, it was the race that made me fall in love with the fully-electric championship.

Back then, I was an excited 14-year-old fan who couldn’t stop pointing as the fast vehicles passing by in front of her and had a huge grin on her face after meeting the likes of Bruno Senna, Nico Prost, or Jean-Éric Vergne.

That race may not have been Formula E’s most challenging one, but the emotional value it has for me make it one of my favourite ones to remember.

Laurence Thorn

There were so many exciting moments in the first four seasons of the championship, and it’s hard to pick a favourite. But I feel the final double-header weekend of Season 3 in Montreal had a bit of everything. Reigning champion Sébastien Buemi came into the event with a ten-point lead over Lucas di Grassi.

But had missed the previous two races in New York due to a calendar clash. And di Grassi wanted to take the title at the third time of asking after technical disqualifications had cost him in both Season 1 and Season 2.

Saturday in Montreal was probably one of the craziest days ever in Formula E; Buemi hit the wall hard in practice before going on to qualify second; however was demoted to 12th on the grid due to a battery change penalty. He then charged through the field in the race, finishing fourth on the road, but was excluded post-race due to an underweight car.

There was also the “small matter” of Buemi’s spectacular post-race outburst, having a heated argument with both Andretti drivers as well as Daniel Abt. And to make matters worse for the Swiss driver, di Grassi won the race to take an 18 point lead over Buemi.

Sunday was a tad calmer, with Buemi qualifying down in 14th and di Grassi in fifth. Buemi was unable to make it into the top ten in the race, finishing in P11, while di Grassi played it safe, coming home in seventh and taking his first Formula E championship.

And the race win for Jean-Éric Vergne, his first victory in the series after almost three years of trying, foreshadowed what was to come in Season 4…

Aaron Lloyd Collins

My favourite Formula E memory was the second race of the 2016 London ePrix at Battersea Park. It turned out to be a classic, as title rivals Sébastien Buemi and Lucas Di Grassi crashed on the opening lap. I can recall the excitement and confusion I felt around me in the grandstands, as the cars went past at the subsequent chicane and Buemi’s Renault had no rear wing.

This created the unique circumstances of both drivers needing to set the fastest lap in the second car to win the Drivers’ title, as Buemi’s Pole for the second race put them level on points in the standings.

Alongside this, there were some great battles amongst the pack which kept us occupied whilst we waited for Buemi and Di Grassi to come out of the pits to set a lap time.

Buemi’s team-mate Nico Prost was flawless and dominated the race, something many people tend to forget given how dramatic the race turned out to be; It resembled a movie script and I enjoyed every second of it!

But what really stood out to me was the level of access that was available as a fan that day.

Being able to walk along the pit lane and behind the garages after qualifying was insightful, as I got to see first-hand the work the pit crew carried out in preparation for the ePrix. 

On top of this, I met some of the drivers, which really made my day and is something that I will never forget.

Just Electric Staff

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