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Buemi Wants Nürburgring Clash Talks After Le Mans

Buemi could yet skip WEC Nürburgring to help his Formula E title bid…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Sebastien Buemi may try and talk to Toyota about missing next month’s Six Hours of Nürburgring so he can strengthen his bid for the Formula E title in New York, depending on his Le Mans result this weekend.

Buemi currently leads both the Formula E and WEC drivers’ championships, but will miss at least one round on July 16 when the two series clash for the first time.

As per Buemi’s contract with Toyota, his WEC duties must be prioritized, but the double-header round in New York means he may lose his championship lead.

His points advantage currently stands at 32 points, with 58 available in New York, which is the penultimate event of the Formula E season.

However, Buemi is still refusing to rule out racing in New York, and plans to hold talks with Toyota and his Renault e.dams Formula E team following Le Mans.

“I always say it, I have a contract, it says priority to Toyota,” Buemi told Sportscar365.

“However, if I think that it should be different, I’ll try to speak with my teams, especially Toyota.

“But so far, there is not much margin for me, so normally I’m going to miss New York.”

When asked if his Le Mans result would help his case, Buemi said: “Yes, yes, I think it could. But I didn’t discuss it yet with them.

“Let’s focus step by step. The next step is obviously now in Le Mans. After that if we think we should discuss, we will discuss.”

For Toyota team director Rob Leupen, though, there is no wiggle-room in Buemi’s contract, with Dutchman believing a WEC title success to be more attractive than one in Formula E.

“From my point of view, no,” Leupen said when asked if the debate was still open.

“I would put the question to Sebastien: would you rather be Formula E world champion or WEC champion? And I hope he gives the right answer.

“If he’s on the podium here, he has a very good chance to become world champion. And they have a bloody good car.”

Formula E and WEC previously enjoyed a gentleman’s agreement to avoid holding races on the same date given the number of drivers involved in both series, only to reach an impasse over the July 16 weekend.

AF Corse’s Sam Bird is yet to make a firm call on where he will be racing, with a decision due following Le Mans, while Formula E teammate Jose Maria Lopez will be with Toyota at the Nürburgring.

Vaillante Rebellion LMP2 drivers Nicolas Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr. have confirmed that they will prioritize Formula E, with Pipo Derani and Filipe Albuquerque emerging as possible replacements for the race.

Jean-Eric Vergne will also step back from his commitments with Manor at the Nürburgring, opting to race for his Techeetah team in Formula E.

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.


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