Germany will be without a Grand Prix in 2015, however the country did get to host a Formula E race on the tarmac of the Tempelhof airport. However race winner Lucas di Grassi was excluded from the DHL Berlin ePrix after his Audi Sport ABT car was found to have been running with a modified front wing. The race-winning car failed post-race scrutineering where it was discovered that the front wing fairings had been modified to include internal metal reinforcing rods. In addition the stewards found that six of the eight holes in the front wing had been sealed. The remaining two holes were found to have had helicoil inserts and chamfers made and that the front flap and gurney LH 220 has a filler layer added and chamfer made.
The team argued that these changes were made as a result of repairs and that they offered no competitive advantage, however, they were deemed to be in breach of Article 3.1 of 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Technical Regulations and the exclusion was made. Audi Sport ABT has decided not to appeal the decision.
After practice sessions topped by Sebastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi it was Jarno Trulli who started the race on pole position. Di Grassi lined up beside him, followed by Buemi and Nick Heidfeld, Daniel Abt and Jerome d’Ambrosio. However although leading from the green light Trulli didn’t manage to hold onto the lead for long, di Grassi slipped past him around Turn 3 of the opening lap. The Brazilian driver had opened up his lead to nearly two seconds by the end of that first lap, and over four by the end of lap 2.
Trulli expended too much energy trying to regain his position back from di Grassi, holding up Buemi and the rest of the field behind him. However with the help of the FanBoost Buemi was able to slip past Trulli and into second place. After Abt spun at Turn 2, D’Ambrosio slipped into third before the obligatory pit stop. After swapping cars for fully charged batteries, D’Ambrosio emerged in second ahead of Buemi, and proceeded to whittle down di Grassi’s lead – but never quite managed to catch up.
Di Grassi’s car was losing power as the race drew to a close, but he was able to hold on long enough to cross the finish line in first place for a short lived victory. He took his victory lap at the end of a tow rope in front of his team’s home crowd. That should have been enough for di Grassi to extend his lead in the championship standings if not for the irregularity and he was excluded from the race.
As a result, second-place finisher d’Ambrosio was handed the race win, Buemi elevated to second and Duval to third. Nelson Piquet, Jr. is now in the lead in the driver’s standings with 103 points. Buemi rests just behind with 101, ahead of di Grassi’s 93, Prost’s 78 and d’Ambrosio’s 77. The e.dams-Renault team leads the combined standings with 179 points to 116 for Jay Penske’s Dragon Racing and 115 for Abt.
With three races now remaining the title fight appears to have boiled down to a three-way fight between di Grassi, Piquet and Buemi, but with the pace Dragon and D’Ambrosio showed in Berlin, don’t rule out a win for the Belgian before the end of the season.