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UPDATE Prost penalised for Heidfeld crash

2014-09-15 08:12

FIRST ePRIX VICTORY: Audi Sport ABT's Lucas di Grassi raced to victory at the inaugural Formula E race in Beijing, China on September 13 2014Image: AP/ Andy Wong


BEIJING, China - A spectacular crash at the final corner that ended leader Nicolas Prost's race and sent ex-F1 driver Nick Heidfeld flying into the fencing and gave Brazil's Lucas di Grassi victory in the first ever Formula E electric race in Beijing, China on September 23.

The Prost, son of four-time Formula 1 champion Alain, led the race until the final moments.

Prost made contact with Heildfeld shortly before the finish outside the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing. The collision sent Heidfeld's car flying through the air.


Heidfeld wriggled out of the wreckage of his vehicle and appeared to confront Prost, who looked to be gesturing his innocence.

VIDEO: Formula E - Nick Heidfeld, Nicolas Prost crash

Prost admitted he was at fault for crash on Twitter: Prost said: "I feel very bad about the incident and after looking at the videos I understand that I am responsible. I just did not see him, feel very bad.

"The most important thing is that my friend @NickHeidfeld is OK, sorry again Nick, you know I would never do something like this..."

Heidfeld responded on Twitter: "Thx Nico. Know you and that you don't drive anybody of on purpose. S**t happens. Next week we fight together in Austin."

Prost has been handed a ten-place grid penalty for the next round in Malaysia on November 22.


Heidfeld, racing for the Venturi team backed by Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio, had clawed his way up from 17th on the grid to push Prost in the final few laps.

The crash left the way open for Di Grassi, racing for Audi Sport ABT, who commented: "When I realised that they were off, yeah it was like a dream come true.

"I was alone and have won the race, and I am really, really happy to be in this position."
"I was very lucky, to be lucky you also need to be in the right place."

Frank Montagny from the Andretti team finished second, while Briton Sam Bird of Virgin Racing, the team backed by British tycoon Richard Branson, took third.

Bruno Senna, the nephew of Ayrton Senna, a huge rival of Alain Prost's, suffered a miserable afternoon after the front left side of his axle appeared to give way after he collided with another car in the first lap.


He has earlier failed to record a lap time in qualification after having problems with his battery, and started the race near the back of the grid.

With alternative, environmentally-friendly fuels on the rise, the symbolism of the new formula's debut in Beijing - a city regularly blanketed by choking pollution - was unmistakable.

The cars, which can reach speeds of 225km/h, are powered solely by electricity, and organisers of the Formula E say it has received high-level support on the back of its green credentials.

Alejandro Agag, the chief executive of the company behind the series, said the first race also proved that electric cars are safe.

Agag said: "We had the big drama at the end on the last corner of the last lap with that horrendous crash."

"The most important thing today is to say that the safety is always first, that we have proven today that electric cars are safe.

Agag said: "I don't think we can get a bigger crash to the one we got today."


Chinese fans packed the main grandstands around the emblematic stadium that hosted the 2008 Olympics. Some lined the tracksides, carrying children on their shoulders as the futuristic whine of the cars sounded across the track, and techno music added to the atmosphere.

Many fans were upset that Senna went out early.

A female fan, surnamed Zhao, commented: "It is such a shame to see his car being lifted off the track. Motorsport is not that popular in China yet, but a lot of people have heard of Ayrton Senna."

The Formula E series will see 10 races on different street circuits around the world involving 20 drivers from 10 different teams.

Nelson Piquet Junior, also the son of a former motor sport great, finished eighth.

Check out a preview of the crash below: Click on the gif to watch the clip

Formula E race calendar:
Sept 13 2014 - Beijing (China)
Nov 22 2014 – Putrajaya (Malaysia)
Dec 13 2014 – Punta del Este (Uruguay)
Jan 10 2015 – Buenos Aires  (Argentina)
Feb 14 2014 – To be announced      
March 14 2015 – Miami  (USA)
April 04 2015 – Los Angeles  (USA)
May 09 2015 – Monaco (Principality of Monaco)
May 30 2015 – Berlin (Germany)
June 27 2015 – London  (England)

Read more on:    renault  |  china  |  beijing  |  motorsport  |  formula e

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