Not only was he the very first winner of a Monaco E-Prix, but he remains the one and only double winner: in 2015 and again in 2017, Sébastien Buemi was untouchable in the streets of the Principality. The first time was historic, as the first ever race for Formula E in Europe, along Port Hercule, in a shortened version of Circuit de Monaco. That day, starting from pole position, Buemi (e.dams Renault) won after a race started by a pile-up at the first corner, between six cars. Two years later, still on a shortened circuit, Buemi again started on pole and again he won, after 51 laps, ahead of Lucas di Grassi (2nd) and Nick Heidfeld (3rd).
We are now in 2022 and the Swiss driver is less often at the forefront, because his Franco-Japanese team is not as efficient as before, but he is optimistic because he is back in Monaco: “We are coming out of two difficult years, and for us here it’s is closer to Mexico, with very fast corners, for FEs, and a softer surface, very different from Rome, so it should suit us better. FE is very tight now, so you have to score points all the time, even if you don’t win. The winner is the one who makes the fewest mistakes, and not necessarily the one who is the fastest, because it is very difficult to optimize the whole package. In fact, you have to be consistent all year round”.
A former FE champion, in 2016, a double endurance world champion, a three-time Le Mans winner, Buemi is well placed to judge the new regulations that are being put in place: “It’s difficult to get everything right with the regulations, because you have to make a compromise between technology, the show and the rest. In Europe, it’s cultural, we always want to have a lot of technology in the cars, whereas in Indycar it seems that they have had the same cars for 15 years”, Buemi smiles. “Before in FE, there were big gaps between the teams, but this year it’s very close in performance, only a few tenths between several teams,” adds Buemi. This is precisely what makes him optimistic for this weekend, because the famous cliché is “never two without three” and he feels that he has a chance.
Then remains the topic of the moment, the Gen3 presented on Thursday 28 April in Monaco as a world premiere: “The new Gen3 single-seater will correspond to a +step+ of a few seconds per lap, but it may be necessary to wait for another generation of cars until it really becomes impressive”, tempers Buemi. He continues endurance, with Toyota, but he still loves FE. He was entered in all eight seasons since the founding of the discipline (4-time vice-champion, in addition to his 2016 title), he won 13 times, he scored over 800 points, so he remains one of the benchmarks of the category: “It is progressing well, there is a much better brand awareness all round, but FE should never stop improving”, Buemi warns. He is as wise as he is lucid, and aware that the competition remains severe, from other categories. It’s up to the FE to play, again this weekend in Monaco, and then with the Gen3. Game on.