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Buemi’s Tribute to “Inspirational” Driot

Sebastien Buemi pays an emotional tribute to his former e.dams boss Jean-Paul Driot…

Photo: Formula E

2019 will be remembered as a season full of typically tumultuous Formula E action, controversy and talking points.

Sadly it will also be recalled as the year in which one of the most influential of team owners in international motorsport left us.

Jean-Paul Driot, an inspirational titan of motorsport for over 30 years, lost an heroic fight with illness in August.

For the first time since Driot died, Sebastien Buemi talks to Sam Smith about their working relationship and his feelings about the passing of the DAMS and e.dams patriarch who tasted so much diverse success.

Sebastien Buemi: “As you can imagine, JP was much more to me than just a team chief. I know people would tend to say that, but we were calling each other between two and five times per week on average, even at 11 in the evening.

“We obviously discussed Formula E as a team, but we shared things on much more than just that level. Life in general; kids, wives, houses, decisions to make, etc. For me, he was like a second father in many ways, inspirational.

“I’ve never been as close to a team chief as I’ve been with him. For me, it was a big loss, a big change, because we were so close, and all of a sudden, when things like that stop, you have to get over that.

“It was very difficult, but he was really good because he knew how to maximize your performance.

“He was able to choose the right people, so you were surrounded by very good people, and he knew how to delegate very well. But he knew how to keep control of things too. He was able to show that he was not happy with things I was not doing, but in a nice way that in the end turned out to be positive.

“He was able to extract the best out of most of the people he had in the team. That is why the team has been so successful over the years.

“JP knew how to have fun as well, because to perform well, you need to have fun. You need to be happy, you need to feel good. He understood very well that that is really important in sport.

“I enjoyed spending evenings with him. We were going to dinner every night together, with Nico [Prost] and Alain [Prost] there too, and then only with him also. I have very good memories on that, really nice ones.

“He came to the Bern race in June but just before that I had organized a little private barbecue at my place in Switzerland, and he knocked on the door and surprised me. He was not supposed to come because he was very ill at this stage, so it was really nice.

“Obviously for the New York win, it was nice to be able to do it because he was in the hospital, not doing good at all, but I had his sons [to speak to], and obviously he watched the race.

“JP knew we had dedicated the win to him, and he was really proud. I’m so happy he was able to witness the win, that was cool to know that he did do just before the end.”

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