The Formula E season kicked off back in February to signal the start of the European racing season. The all-electric championship is now in its seventh season and boasts plenty of talented drivers and big-name manufacturers. The series is now recognised as an FIA World Championship, meaning the competition is even more brutal than ever. As the championship returns this weekend with a round in Mexico, it’s a good time to chart the season’s story so far.
De Vries Storms to Victory on Opening Night
The season started with a doubleheader on the streets of Diriyah in Saudi Arabia. In race one, former F2 champion Nyck De Vries emerged victorious as he took a dominant win for his first victory in the championship. De Vries demonstrated poise and composure to manage the problematic track conditions as he powered his Mercedes EQ car to the checkered flag.
There was heartbreak for Sam Bird and Alexander Lynn as the two drivers crashed at turn one. Bird was charging through the field, and he wasn’t happy at all with Lynn’s defensive driving. More drama followed that incident as Max Gunther slapped the concrete wall that smashed his left rear suspension. The German driver lost control as he went off-line onto the dusty side of the track. Lastly, there were some phenomenal drives from Edoardo Mortara and Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, who joined De Vries on the podium. In the end, De Vries underlined his potential with a win in a premier class of FIA racing.
Sam Bird Shows His Class for First Jaguar Win
Sam Bird said it was a gamble leaving the Virgin Envision Racing Team for Jaguar in 2021. The likeable Brit raced for Envision throughout the entirety of the Formula E championship. That gamble moving to a new team paid off in dramatic style as he triumphed in race two. Bird battled Robin Frijns all-race long as the two traded places consistently. It was a great battle for the race lead that got cut short due to a nasty crash for Alex Lynn. The race subsequently got red-flagged, and race control opted to declare the race result. Lynn got taken to hospital, but, thankfully, Lynn got discharged with no injuries.
Civil war once again broke out at the Techeetah team as Jean-Eric Vergne and Antonio Felix Da Costa waged a wild battle, and the two came to contact on multiple occasions. Max Gunther’s miserable weekend continued as he experienced another incident. This time, Gunther locked his brakes and sideswiped the innocent Tom Blomqvist out of the race.
Race one winner Nyck De Vries endured a challenging race two as he could only finish 14th, four places ahead of his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne. Ultimately, Sam Brid demonstrated why he is one of the marquee drivers on the Formula E grid. He kickstarted his championship campaign with a superb performance.
JEV Ends the Slide With a Taste of Champagne
The championship headed back to Europe for races three and four in Rome. Race three was arguably the race of the championship, as several drivers were in the hunt for the race victory at various stages of the race. Oliver Rowland took the early lead until he got handed a drive-through penalty for using more than the permitted amount of battery power. It took him and his Nissan E.Dams machine out of the running. That gave the lead to Lucas Di Grassi with the likes of Robin Frijns, Jean-Eric Vergne, Sam Bird, Mitch Evans and the two Mercedes drivers chasing him.
This long snake of cars kept trading positions as each driver pulled off gutsy overtakes to shake up the order. Di Grassi and Frijns experienced a long, arduous battle as both drivers initiated contact on their respective manoeuvres. Frijns was left unimpressed after Di Grassi barged his way past and left him hung out to dry as Sam Bird passed Frijns as well. Meanwhile, Vergne was stealthily making his way through the traffic with intelligent passes.
The former Formula E champion displayed surgical skills and then held enough in hand to take the win behind the Safety Car. It was another excellent day for Jaguar. Their drivers Sam Bird and Mitch Evans finished second and third. On the opposite end of the scale, it turned out to be a fateful day for the Mercedes team as both their drivers collided in a race-ending crash while they tried to avoid the sick car of Di Grassi.
Vandoorne and Mercedes Bounce Back in Race Four
Stoffel Vandoorne won a dramatic race four at Rome. The drama began when Nick Cassidy spun off in the lead after the Safety Car came into pits. Pascal Wherlein grabbed the lead and controlled the pace in the early phases of the race. Nick Cassidy endured more misery as Oliver Rowland put him into the tech-pro barrier when Rowland decided to try an overtaking move. The big flashpoint came halfway through the race as Lucas Di Grassi and Sebastian Buemi came together.
Di Grassi tried to block Buemi; in doing so, Buemi’s front right tipped Di Grassi straight into the wall and out of the race. While all that happened, Vandoorne went past Wehrlein, which would turn out to be the race-winning move. Sam Bird, Oliver Rowland and Nyck De Vries all hit trouble on the last lap as a wild three-car incident took place. Their misery contrasts with Alex Sims and Pascal Wehrlein’s happiness as both drivers stepped onto the podium for the first time this season.
De Vries Rain Dances His Way to Win Number Two
On one of Formula E’s rare outings to a racetrack, all hell broke loose in the wet conditions of Valencia. Nyck De Vries drove a sensible, controlled race to get himself into contention. From there, De Vries and his Mercedes team managed the race to perfection. He was one of the only frontrunners to have energy still left in his battery for the last lap. De Vries drove away from the rest of the pack to win in sodden conditions. Drivers got challenged as staying on the track was almost impossible.
Max Gunther ended up in the gravel as the back end snapped away from him in a braking zone. Sergio Sette Camara was another driver that ended his day in the gravel. Finally, Vandoorne was another driver who saved enough energy on the last lap. He charged to third position on the final lap to get the second Mercedes on the podium. Again, Mercedes played the strategy to perfection; I feel like I’ve heard that before.
Jake Dennis Dominates in a Crushing Performance
Jake Dennis bagged a maiden Formula E win with a commanding lights-to-flag victory. The BMW I Andretti Motorsport driver outclassed and outpaced the field to win. However, this race was nowhere near as dramatic as the previous race. Alexander Lynn drove a composed race to take third place, just behind Porsche’s Andre Lotterer. The former sportscar ace needed a positive race in a season blighted by inconsistency until this race. Norman Nato was another of Formula E’s unsung heroes who drove a fine race to fifth place for Susie Wolff’s Venturi Racing team. Unfortunately, It was a bad day all around for several powerhouse drivers. De Vries, Bird, Evans and Frijns all finished outside of the top 12, while Stoffel Vandoorne didn’t finish the race.
Last Lap Da Costa Hits the Jackpot in Monaco
Antonio Felix Da Costa pulled off a last-gasp overtake on the last lap to win the Monaco E-Prix. The Portuguese driver raced his Techeetah car past the ailing Mitch Evans to take the win. Da Costa displayed solid speed throughout the race, and he managed his battery better than Evans. While the move was definitely on the borderline, Da Costa demonstrated his desire to win in Monaco.
Evans was out of battery on the last lap; he came into the Swimming Pool chicane with a train of cars, all desperate to get by. Although Evans went across the chicane to keep the position, they all needed to follow single-file through Rascasse until Norman Nato pounced to pip Evans to second place at the finish line. Da Costa was enduring a difficult season; his win at Monaco re-energized his championship campaign. There were also struggles for the Mercedes drivers, Jean-Eric Vergne and Jake Dennis.
After seven rounds of the championship, Robin Frijns is the man atop the standings. He holds a five-point lead over Nyck De Vries; however, the top five drivers are only separated by 13 points. Thus, the championship is alive and kicking. In the wild world of Formula E, anything can and will happen. This weekend, the series moves onto Mexico for another doubleheader. It promises to be another chaotic and crazy weekend.