Sébastien Buemi may be only 27, but his racing experience surpasses that of many veteran racecar drivers. Not only a Formula 1 competitor, he has also raced and won in the sportscar category.
He is also one of the most experienced drivers, when it comes to driving hybrid and electric racecars. He's driven the new generation Formula 1 car, as a Red Bull test driver, and he races with sport prototypes in the FIA World Endurance Championship. He not only races but wins: in 2014, he won the driver's title with Toyota, and last season he has also been winning Formula E races with the e.Dams Renault team — and only missed championship title by a single point. And now he has opened his new Formula E title challenge with a resounding win in first race of the new season of Formula E in Beijing.
This not your first season racing with electric or hybrid race cars, but Formula E is the first global level championship for just electric race cars. How important do you think it is for future development of more sustainable racing?
I think Formula E definitely has its place in motorsport. I really believe that we will see more and more electric cars on the road in the future, and this is why Formula E needs to be pushed forward. Plenty of engineers will focus and work toward improving electric racecars. This will not only help the racecars, but the electric road cars as well.
How does Formula E compare to other cars you raced, especially the hybrid racecars that have brought you so much success?
Formula E is different, but not completely. It behaves in a similar way. The car is just a bit heavier and less powerful, when compared to LMP1 or Formula 1. It has good grip and, despite lower power, still has good acceleration. I am sure that, in the future, the electric racecars will catch up with the conventional ones.
The power of Formula E cars is not huge compared to many other racing series, but the races themselves are extremely interesting and tight, with lots of overtakes and crashes. What is the reason for that?
The reason is that the cars are very difficult to drive, and the city tracks we use are tight and tricky, as well. The cars were new to everyone, and we all needed time to adapt. Now the racing is still good, but we see fewer crashes. This year there was and will be more development of the cars, with some differences allowed between them.
Do you think that is good or bad for racing?
I think it is great to open the rules and let people improve the cars. The only thing is that it has to be done the right way. At the moment, the organization has done a great job keeping it under control. I am sure this year will be very interesting.
Do you think electric racing can replace Formula 1 anytime soon?
I don't think it will happen, but I believe Formula 1 will become closer to what we see in Formula E now. We already see it with their new turbo hybrid engines. It will go more in that direction in the future, as well.
What about street cars? You probably have experience with electric or hybrid passenger cars?
Clearly, in a city, an electric car is amazing. The feeling of no noise is just unbelievable. The performance in the city is perfectly in line with what we need. So I think we will see plenty of electric cars in city centers in near future.
Read more about Buemi's first victory in first e-Prix of this season in Beijing.