Buemi: Title chances gone after Nissan double disaster
Nissan e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi has declared his ABB FIA Formula E title chances "over" after losing a potential victory in the Paris E-Prix.
Buemi started second on the grid behind teammate Oliver Rowland in last weekend’s race after Mahindra Racing’s Pascal Wehrlein lost pole due to a tyre pressure infringement.
They held the lead after the safety car start before Rowland locked up and went into the Turn 3 barriers on lap one, gifting Buemi the lead.
But the Swiss driver then lost the advantage after contact with eventual race winner Robin Frijns gave him a slow puncture and he dropped down the order, later getting a drive-through penalty for pitlane speeding as he came in to get a new wheel.
Buemi finally finished 15th, leaving him 13th in the standings and 51 points on new leader Frijns with only five races left of the 2018/19 campaign.
He told Motorsport.com the impact with Frijns “took the valve out, so I lost the air of the tyre”.
He continued: “[That happened] slowly, that’s why I kept going for a few laps. But I was going slower and slower until [I had to pit] because there was no more air in the tyre.”
Buemi felt Frijns was “more to blame than me” but added: “I don’t want to blame him at the end because it doesn’t look too bad on TV. It’s just hard to accept because I feel like that race was really for us.
"I reckon the championship is over. But I'll keep pushing until the end. With a win today, it would have been different, but now, it will be hard."
Rowland puzzled by "strange" crash
Rowland said his early off was “a bit strange” as he “couldn’t stop and get around the corner, so I was in the wall” after locking both of his front wheels.
He eventually finished 12th but was involved in a further incident where he sent Alexander Sims into the Turn 3 wall and will take a three-place grid penalty to the next FE race in Monaco as a result.
When asked if he felt his early off was influenced by a car issue – along the lines of Buemi’s crash in Santiago - Rowland told Motorsport.com: “All I’ll say is it’s unlike me to do something like that in that position.
“It’s difficult to understand at the moment so I have to go through everything properly. But at the moment I have to take it as just my mistake and I need to learn from it.”
Team manager Francois Sicard said Nissan does not “want to blame Oliver”, adding: “We are going to have a look at the data and see if there was anything."
Oliver Rowland, Nissan e.Dams, Nissan IMO1, with a damaged front wing
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / LAT Images
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