Rosberg ‘open’ to Mercedes role in Formula E

Reigning World Champion Nico Rosberg is 'open' to getting involved in Formula E but is no rush to find his next project after retiring from Formula 1.

Following the announcement that Mercedes will be joining the all-electric series from 2019, Rosberg was rumoured to join the set-up as team boss and reportedly held talks with Formula E chief Alejandro Agag.

And while Formula 1 is "definitely over" for him, he is keen to explore other opportunities within motorsport.

"Now I'm in a great situation in my life — it's like a discovery phase," said Rosberg.

"Racing will always be fun to me, so let's see what happens. I will always be passionate about our sport and there will always be options to be involved.

"It does not have to be tomorrow, it could be in ten years, but I will be open to all possibilities."

Rosberg also said he was curious to see how Mercedes can match-up with the likes of BMW and Porsche in Formula E.

"This is the future of the world and it will be exciting to see when all those manufacturers put their cards on the table," he added.

Experience the full coverage of the FIA Formula One season throughout 2017 on FOX Sports Play, where you can watch LIVE races from angles, unlike any other, highlights, interviews, behind the scenes and much more. Don’t miss it!

Steiner: Formula E does not pose a threat

Haas team boss Guenther Steiner has labelled Formula E as merely "trendy" and does not believe it will dislodge Formula 1 as the pinnacle of motorsport.

The likes of Mercedes and Porsche have joined the all-electric series in recent weeks but, despite the big manufacturers signing up for the category, Steiner thinks Formula 1 should not feel threatened by its increasing popularity.

"I still see F1 in a very good place," Steiner told Motorsport.com. "It is the pinnacle of motorsport.

"FE is trending at the moment. Everyone wants to be part of this electric movement, which is fully understandable.

"But when there are seven or eight manufacturers involved, not all can win.

"There will also immediately be a war over who can do more, who wants authority and all those sort of things.

"I see it as an additional series, but I don't see it as a threat. If it was a threat, we would just put electric motors in [F1 cars].

Experience the full coverage of the FIA Formula One season throughout 2017 on FOX Sports Play, where you can watch LIVE races from angles unlike any other, highlights, interviews, behind the scenes and many more. Don’t miss it!

Di Grassi wins Formula E title after Buemi bombs

Jean-Eric Vergne won the race, but Lucas Di Grassi was crowned Formula E champion at the season-ending Hydro-Quebec Montreal ePrix on Sunday.

Di Grassi became the third champion in three seasons of Formula E as rival Sebastien Buemi endured a horror race.

Starting from 13th place Buemi’s race got worse as he picked up some damage at Turn 1 after Stephane Sarrazin spun following contact from Daniel Abt.

Buemi was forced into the pits for repairs which lost him even more places, and although he managed to work back through the field he could only finish in 11th place.

Di Grassi took advantage of his rival’s misfortune to coast through the race, falling to 10th place at one point, he then got back to sixth before letting his team-mate Abt past on the final lap to finish in seventh place.

Di Grassi, runner up to Buemi last season, was in tears after snatching the title in dramatic fashion, overcoming a 10-point deficit on the final weekend thanks to his opponent’s struggles.

The title battle diverted attention from Vergne’s first Formula E win.

Vergne battled with pole winner Felix Rosenqvist throughout the race before eventually passing the Mahindra driver to grab his and Techeetah’s first victory.

Results:
1 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah Renault 54m12.606s
2 Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra 0.896s
3 Jose Maria Lopez DS-Virgin Racing 4.468s
4 Sam Bird DS-Virgin Racing 7.114s
5 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra 21.933s
6 Daniel Abt ABT Schaeffler 24.444s
7 Lucas di Grassi ABT Schaeffler 24.855s
8 Stephane Sarrazin Techeetah Renault 26.038s
9 Jerome d’Ambrosio Faraday Future Dragon 28.282s
10 Tom Dillmann Venturi 28.591s
11 Sebastien Buemi Renault e.dams 35.170s
12 Mitch Evans Jaguar 36.548s
13 Robin Frijns Andretti 36.826s
14 Adam Carroll Jaguar 36.972s
15 Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti 39.720s
16 Nelson Piquet Jr. NextEV 46.751s
17 Oliver Turvey NextEV 49.116s
18 Maro Engel Venturi 1m33.530s
19 Loic Duval Faraday Future Dragon 3 Laps
– Nicolas Prost Renault e.dams DNF

Rosenqvist romps to pole in Race Two in Montreal

Felix Rosenqvist gave his hopes of taking third place in the 2016/2017 Formula E Championship a considerable lift as he claimed the Julius Baer Pole Position for the final race of the season in Canada.

Rosenqvist is desperately trying to reach a personal goal which is to finish third in the Driver’s Championship.

And the chances of that happening increased greatly when he ensured that he would start the second race of the weekend in Montreal in prime position at the front of the field.

The Mahindra driver earned three bonus points for his third pole of the year to close in on Sam Bird in the fight for third in the drivers’ standings.

Rival Sam Bird will start second.

In the fight for the main prize, there was yet more bad news for Sebastien Buemi. After getting a tough draw in Group One, Buemi was always going to struggle to make Super Pole, but a lock-up into Turn One ruined his chances before the lap had barely begun. He eventually ended up 14th.

Di Grassi overtakes Buemi with Montreal win

Abt Audi Sport’s Lucas di Grassi led from start to finish to win race one of Formula E’s season-ending double-header in Montreal.

The victory saw the Brazilian turn a seven-point deficit against Renault e.Dams driver Sebastien Buemi in the championship standings into a six-point lead with just one race remaining on Sunday.

Buemi fought his way up to fourth place after a grid penalty resulted in him qualifying second but starting from 12th.

A poor start dropped the Swiss driver as low as 17th, but he recovered superbly from there and was fighting for a podium spot by the end, though he just narrowly missed out.

The 12 points Buemi earned has kept him alive in the championship race, although Di Grassi now holds the upper hand.

Adding to the drama on Saturday was an incident between Buemi and Di Grassi’s team-mate Daniel Abt, which saw the German drive right into the back of Buemi at the exit of the pits.

Afterwards, Buemi and Abt had a heated confrontation, which ended with Buemi telling Abt: “You’re dirty, man”.

Di Grassi took control of the race early on, although a late safety car after Jose Maria Lopez’s crash brought second-placed Techeetah driver Jean-Eric Vergne into contention for the win.

The Brazilian kept Vergne at bay over the final eight laps to secure the win, however, while the Frenchman’s team-mate Stephane Sarrazin narrowly held on for third after fending off a fierce attack from fourth-placed Buemi on the final lap.

Abt would finish fifth, followed by Sam Bird, who also rallied from a poor grid position to claim sixth.

Felix Rosenqvist looked on course for fourth place before damaging his steering in the dying moments of the race by making contact at the final chicane.

Result

1 Lucas di Grassi ABT Schaeffler Audi
2 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah 0.350
3 Stephane Sarrazin Techeetah 7.869
4 Sebastien Buemi Renault e.Dams 8.256
5 Daniel Abt ABT Schaeffler Audi 8.592
6 Sam Bird DS Virgin Racing 8.913
7 Nicolas Prost Renault e.Dams 10.058
8 Mitch Evans Jaguar Racing 10.457
9 Robin Frijns Andretti 15.836
10 Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Racing 16.764
11 Tom Dillmann Venturi 19.320
12 Jerome D’Ambrosio Faraday Future Dragon Racing 20.229
13 Maro Engel Venturi 22.314
14 Nelson Piquet NextEV Nio 23.145
15 Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti 34.786
16 Oliver Turvey NextEV Nio 46.996
17 Adam Carroll Jaguar Racing 49.912
18 Loic Duval Faraday Future Dragon Racing DNF
19 Jose Maria Lopez DS Virgin Racing DNF
20 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing DNF

Pole for Di Grassi, penalty for Buemi

Lucas di Grassi will start the first race of this weekend’s season-ending Formula E double-header in Montreal from pole position.

After earning three points for his pole, Di Grassi now trails championship leader Sebastien Buemi by just seven points.

And the Abt Audi Sport driver has given himself an excellent chance of erasing that deficit in race one, after his Swiss rival received a grid penalty that will see him start Saturday’s race from 12th place.

Buemi suffered a nasty crash in the second practice session earlier in the day when he clipped a wall as he tried to enter a fast chicane, sending him flying into the barrier and resulting in serious damage to his Renault.

The crash meant Buemi had to change batteries, a breach of the rules resulting in a 10-place grid penalty.

Di Grassi topped both the group phase of qualifying and the superpole session, edging Buemi by 0.196s with a 1m22.869s.

But with Buemi now dropping from second down to 12th, the opportunity is there for Di Grassi to take the championship lead ahead of Sunday’s final race.

Buemi’s penalty means Stephane Sarrazin is elevated to second, his best showing since joining Venturi earlier in the season.

Buemi’s Renault e.dams teammate Nico Prost follows in third, just ahead of Felix Rosenqvist, who was the slowest in the superpole session.

Jean-Eric Vergne just failed to make it into the superpole and will start fifth, followed by Jaguar drivers Mitch Evans and Adam Carroll.

Rounding out the top 10 are NextEV driver Oliver Turvey, Venturi’s Tom Dillmann and Faraday Future Dragon Racing man Loic Duval complete the top 10.

Buemi will start alongside di Grassi’s teammate Daniel Abt on the sixth row.

Times

1 Lucas di Grassi Team Abt
2 Stéphane Sarrazin Techeetah
3 Nicolas Prost DAMS
4 Felix Rosenqvist Mahindra Racing
5 Jean-Eric Vergne Techeetah
6 Mitch Evans Jaguar Racing
7 Adam Carroll Jaguar Racing
8 Oliver Turvey NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team
9 Tom Dillmann Venturi
10 Loic Duval Dragon Racing
11 Daniel Abt Team Abt
12 Sébastien Buemi DAMS
13 Robin Frijns Andretti Autosport
14 Nick Heidfeld Mahindra Racing
15 Antonio Felix da Costa Andretti Autosport
16 Jose Maria Lopez Virgin Racing
17 Maro Engel Venturi
18 Sam Bird Virgin Racing
19 Nelson Piquet Jr. NEXTEV TCR Formula E Team
20 Jérôme d’Ambrosio Dragon Racing

Di Grassi feeling the pressure

Lucas di Grassi is the only driver who can challenge Sebastien Buemi’s hold on the drivers’ championship title this weekend.

The Brazilian will start the final race of the 2016-2017 Formula E season ten points adrift of the Swiss star, who has dominated proceedings with six wins. So much so, Buemi skipped the New York City round of the championship to compete in an endurance race.

That allowed di Grassi to catch up somewhat, earning fourth and fifth places in New York, but there is still work to be done.

“We are ten points behind so the pressure is on me and I will do the best I can and try to do a good race…two good races,” the 32-year-old told the official Formula E website.

“To be honest the final is Sunday, tomorrow is just the 11th race of the season, so we are going to try to score as much points as possible and weigh up the risk and reward.

“The more risk you have the more reward you might have but also you could lose it all. So of course it’s controlled risk management. I think we have to see how Saturday goes on before we decide on Sunday and the approach.

“You have to approach every race like it’s a final, so from Hong Kong we were trying to maximise the car. If you play it safe you can still have an issue with the car, so we will push very hard.”

Porsche ditch Le Mans for Formula E

It has been confirmed that Porsche will abandon the top tier of the prestigious 24-hour Le Mans race to join Formula E in 2019.

This news comes after Mercedes revealed that they would be joining Formula E for the 2019/2020 season earlier in the week.

While Formula E are reportedly currently making a loss, these developments will fuel the belief that there is space for an electric car racing series in the commercial world of sport.

This decision by Porsche is a significant one as they are the most successful company in the 94-year history of the Le Mans, having won 15 times, including victories in the last three years. Porsche will continue to appear at Le Mans and other significant international races, but only in the lower “GT” classes.

The lure of being associated with a racing series that advocates sustainability was simply too strong for the German car manufacturer.

Dr Oliver Blume, chief executive of Porsche, explained that this eco-friendly racing platform was “a perfect environment for advancing our cars in terms of economy, efficiency and sustainability. Formula E is a perfect fit for the Porsche product strategy.”

Alejandro Agag, chief executive of Formula E, welcomed the addition of such a big brand and will be hoping that Porsche can help boost television audiences.

“To have a name like Porsche in Formula E, with all it represents in terms of racing and heritage, and in terms of sport cars, is an inflection point in our quest to change the public perception about electric cars,” he said.

Rosberg to be Mercedes Formula E boss?

Nico Rosberg has been linked with the team principal job when Mercedes join Formula E in 2019, according to Auto Bild.

The retired World Champion has repeatedly stated he is not interested in a Formula 1 return, but a new opportunity could arise for him in Formula E following Mercedes' announcement earlier in the week that they would be joining the all-electric single seater series.

Auto Bild believe Rosberg has 'already met with series boss Alajandro Agag in Monaco' about the prospect of a management role.

Rosberg would be joining another World Champion in Alain Prost, who also runs Renault's Formula E team, and the Frenchman reckons the arrival of Mercedes makes a big statement.

"The involvement of the car manufacturers is a strong message," Prost said.

But Prost does not believe Formula E will ever eclipse Formula 1 as the pinnacle of motorsport.

"There is not only no reason to believe that this situation will ever occur, but also no desire," Prost told Le Journal de Montreal newspaper.

"If Formula E has gained so much credibility, it's partly because the races are in big cities like New York, Paris and now Montreal.

"It's also a way to stand out from F1."

Experience the full coverage of the FIA Formula One season throughout 2017 on FOX Sports Play, where you can watch LIVE races from angles, unlike any other, highlights, interviews, behind the scenes and much more. Don’t miss it!

Buemi and Di Grassi in war of words ahead of title decider

Formula E rivals Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi have been firing shots at one another ahead of this weekend’s title decider in Montreal.

After being forced to sit out the New York double header a couple of weeks ago, current champion Buemi’s lead over Di Grassi in the overall standings has been reduced to just 10 points, with another two races to come in Canada this weekend.

Once again the two drivers will go head-to-head for the championship in a rivalry that grew significantly more intense following their collision in last season’s Battersea Park finale.

“I respect him [di Grassi] as a driver but I don’t respect what happened last year [at Battersea],” Buemi told Motorsport.com. “People within the sport know exactly what happened there.

“If [a collision] happens once more like this, what do you think people will think then? It will be very hard to explain for him. He can’t afford anything like that again for his reputation, can he?”

What really rankles Buemi is that Di Grassi never took responsibility for the incident.

“The other side is that last year instead of him saying: ‘I tried everything and lost it and the situation happened as it did, sorry’, he then said that the fault is on me and I braked early,” said the Swiss driver.

Sebastien Buemi Lucas di Grassi

“This I didn’t like and didn’t think was correct at all. You can push things so far, but there is a limit and he went well over it that day.

“I prefer to lose with dignity than to try to win in a way where I could not look at myself in the mirror. Can he say the same? I don’t know, ask him. It is done now and it is over.

“We have had good battles since then and there is no real big problem from my side anymore.”

And the conflict didn’t end there. Buemi revealed there was another incident between the two after Battersea Park, although he would not go into any detail over it.

“After Battersea we had another bad story which nobody knows about and there will not be any publicity about this,” he said.

“So we had another problem too, but this is history now as well.”

Buemi also reckons Di Grassi’s constant pronouncements in the press betray a lack of confidence in his abilities.

“He seems to lack some confidence if he needs to speak to everyone all the time that he outperforms the car he has,” he said. “I think the real good guys don’t need to say it, but he usually does and ends up just talking too much.

Sebastien Buemi Lucas di Grassi

“If I wanted to, I could go around and tell everyone that I was the only guy who is winning regularly in a Renault car. [Jean-Eric] Vergne, [Esteban] Gutierrez and now [Stephane] Sarrazin have the same car and I am the only one to have won a race, in fact 12 races.

“I could do that, but I don’t because I feel like I don’t need to and people will see this for what it is. Maybe he does it because he thinks it is good for the championship, who knows?”

He added: “A rivalry is good and it spices it up for a new championship like Formula E. I just think you need to be correct and have a limit.

“To be honest I don’t read what he says anyway. I like to keep my energy for the track.”

It didn’t take Di Grassi too long to respond to his rival’s words.

The opening salvo was fired on Twitter, with Di Grassi not mentioning Buemi by name, but making his point pretty clear all the same.

In an interview with Motorsport.com, Di Grassi went further, accusing Buemi of having a problem coping with pressure.

“He [Buemi] lost the championship in season one with quite a simple mistake when he spun on his out lap and lost it all,” Di Grassi told Motorsport.com. “So you can clearly see he has a few problems in this area.

“Everyone feels pressure in a different way of course. He has pressure big time this weekend, much more than me, this is because everyone will be waiting to see if those mistakes come again in Montreal.”

He added: “He seems to have strong opinions still about Battersea and the way I behave and if it is not the way he thinks I should behave then again I say it is irrelevant to me. It is ancient history now.

“I say and think what is correct. Sometimes I am not politically correct as you can see from my twitter account sometimes, so I say what I think and that is just how it is.”

Di Grassi also laid down the gauntlet ahead of the Montreal double-header set to decide the title, saying that all the pressure was on Buemi, and that another mistake could end up costing him dear.

“The pressure is on him. If he doesn’t have a good weekend I will win the championship,” he said.

“The title is more difficult for me obviously, so I’m going to try to win, I’ll do my best and if I win both races I’ll be the champion.

“I’m going to take more risk than I would if I were 10 points ahead. I have little to lose and a lot to win.

“Buemi can only really lose it and as we have seen in the past both he and the team can make mistakes.”