Renault e.Dams Z.E. 15 (2016) - Gen1 Season 2
Having won the Teams’ Championship in the inaugural FIA Formula E Championship, Renault e.dams returned for its second campaign in 2015/16 with one goal: to secure both the Teams’ and Drivers’ titles. After renewing their partnership with Renault, the e.dams team revealed the Z.E. 15, complete with an all-new Renault Sport F1 designed electric powertrain. Renault increased its direct involvement, aiming to exploit its practical experience in both the technical and sporting sides of the sport as well as using the brand’s prowess in Formula 1 for a competitive edge. Driven by the duo of Nicolas Prost and Sébastien Buemi, the Z.E. 15 was capable of reaching 62 mph (100km/h) in four seconds on towards a top speed of 133mph (215 km/h). Based on the Spark-Renault SRT_01E platform, the car had a honeycomb monocoque chassis made of carbon fibre and aluminium, that had to weigh in at over 888kg (including the driver). Renault developed two distinctive cooling systems, one for the 360kg battery, the other for the 200kw electric motor.
e.dams started the season strongly at the opening Beijing e-Prix. Buemi qualified on pole and subsequently dominated the race, setting the fastest lap and becoming the first driver in Formula E to earn the maximum 30 points from a single race weekend. Prost retired on lap 24 with a broken rear wing. The team’s positive start was reversed in Putrajaya, though Buemi qualified first again, as overheating issues ensured the duo struggled to make it into the points. Prost earned tenth position and Buemi failed to finish in the top ten but collected points for the fastest lap and his pole position. Rivals ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport took over the lead of the Teams’ Championship. It was the only time the e.dams team failed to top the standings all season.
Podiums continued to flow for the Z.E. 15 as Buemi claimed victory in Punta del Este before finishing second in Buenos Aires. A 2-3 finish in Mexico City, partly due to Audi driver Lucas di Grassi’s disqualification from first position, saw the team extend its lead to 34 points with half the season complete. A rare off day in the Long Beach ePrix saw the duo both receive drive-through penalties. Neither driver placed in the points, though Buemi again claimed the fastest lap. A much better performance for Renault e.dams at their home ePrix in Paris saw them claim third and fourth positions. By this point, with three races to go, e.dams led the Teams’ Championship by seven points, whilst the Drivers’ title was ultimately down to two competitors: Buemi and di Grassi, with the latter leading by eleven points. At the penultimate race weekend in Berlin, Buemi took the victory whilst Prost finished in fourth, with the rival Audi drivers sandwiched in between. All four drivers finished within 3.5 seconds of each other, and Buemi’s win took him within one point of di Grassi. With both championships to be decided, the final double header race weekend in London looked set to be spectacular. Rain in qualifying caught out the top two and both suffered penalties, starting them in the back half of the grid. Prost seized his opportunity, claiming his first pole position of the season. Prost drove a dominant race, winning the race a full five seconds ahead of his next rival. Buemi came home in fifth, losing another two points to di Grassi. e.dams had all but secured the title, nothing but a complete disaster would close the 37 point gap they had opened up to Audi in second. Buemi put his car on pole for the final race, meaning that the rivals would start level on points, creating a real winner takes all situation. A chaotic start saw di Grassi misjudge the closing speed of his rival into turn three, meaning he slammed into the back of Buemi. The Brazilian snapped his front suspension, while Buemi lost his rear wing but was pitched into a 180-degree spin. Both limped back to the pits and set out klito duel for the Championship by trying to set the fastest lap. As Prost cruised at the front to a second victory in two days, confirming Renault’s successive Championship victories, Buemi, after several stops in the pits, found some space behind team mate Prost and snatched fastest lap, earning himself the title he missed out on by one point the previous season.
Overall, the Z.E. 15 earned five wins, four further podiums and 270 points for Renault Sport e.dams, claiming them their second successive Teams’ Championship title. Sébastien Buemi won the Drivers’ Championship whilst teammate Nico Prost came third. Renault Sport e.dams’ haul of points is still the largest amount of points accrued by a single team in a season of Formula E.
The Renault Sport e.dams Z.E. 15 is limited to just 99 editions.
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