Jaguar takes a double win at Berlin Formula E race
At rounds 7 and 8 of the current Formula E season in Berlin, Mitch Evans in the works Jaguar and Nick Cassidy in the customer Jaguar from Envision Virgin were victorious. While Porsche’s Wehrlein remains in the lead, the distance is shrinking.
After the three new venues in India, South Africa and Brazil with their sometimes unusually fast tracks, Berlin was a true Formula E classic on the agenda: Berlin has been part of every Formula E season so far, with all but one race taking place on the former airport grounds in Tempelhof. So the track layout is well known to both the drivers and teams.
But the two races this year took place under completely different circumstances: Formula E has been racing with the new and powerful Gen3 racing cars since this season. With this generation of racing cars, which, as before, rely on a uniform chassis but drives developed by the manufacturers themselves, energy management has become even more important. On the very fast tracks in Cape Town and Sao Paolo, this had sometimes led to curious scenes, because no driver wanted to lead the race: Whoever is in front has no slipstream, and consequently consumes more energy. Next year, there will also be a charging stop, which will heavily change the way the drivers need to navigate the track.
The efforts on energy management could also be observed in the two races in Berlin, albeit to a lesser extent. The field remained close together for large parts of the race because everyone wanted to conserve their energy. The result was well over 100 overtaking manoeuvres per race; in the seventh race of the season on Saturday alone there were 23 lead changes.
First Formula E double victory for Jaguar
In the end, the race was won by New Zealander Mitch Evans in a Jaguar. As his team-mate Sam Bird finished second, it was the first double victory for the Jaguar works team in Formula E. Bird had also started the race in second place, race winner Evans had narrowly missed the knock-out phase of Formula E’s special qualifying format and started ninth. Maximilian Günther took his first podium for his new employer, the Maserati driver (who had already won in Berlin during his BMW days) finished third in Saturday’s race.
The fact that Jaguar found a good set-up for its power unit in Berlin is also shown by places 4 and 5: Here, Sebastian Buemi and Nick Cassidy were scored in the Envision team’s customer Jaguars, meaning that four of the top five cars had a Jaguar power unit. Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein in the works Porsche finished sixth to score important points after only managing 15th on the grid in qualifying. However, Wehrlein also benefited from a five-second time penalty for André Lotterer in the Andretti team’s customer Porsche, who finished ahead of Wehrlein but was classified eighth in the end due to the penalty seconds.
Abt Cupra finally cracks a score
Sunday started under different circumstances: Qualifying was held on a wet track, which led to an unusual result: The first row of the grid was shared by the two Abt Cupra drivers Robin Frijns in pole position and Nico Müller. In other words, the team has not scored a single point so far this season. This much can be revealed: It wasn’t enough for a race win, but it was enough for points.
By the time of the race itself, the track had dried out again. The fact that the eighth race of the season could be started a few minutes later than planned had nothing to do with the weather: Shortly before the start, some demonstrators had climbed over the safety fences and tried to stick themselves to the track. After the start of the race, the picture was similar to that on Saturday: In an extremely tightly packed field, there were numerous overtaking manoeuvres, but no rider really wanted to take the lead. Among other things, this led to the two works Porsches of Wehrlein (grid position 6) and Felix Antonio da Costa (grid position 10) leading the race towards the middle of the race. The Porsches then finished in 5th and 7th place, separated by Maximilian Günther in the Maserati, who had only started from 21st on the grid – with the Gen2 race cars such a catch-up would have been difficult.
In Sunday’s race, Nick Cassidy from New Zealand managed his energy best in the Envision Jaguar. With enough energy saved up, he had taken the lead a few laps before the end and was able to pull away a little before crossing the finish line first with 0.1 per cent charge. The attack by Jake Dennis in the Andretti customer Porsche came too late – the Briton still had one per cent power in the unit battery at the finish. Race winner Cassidy had managed his energy better and got the maximum out of it. Third place, as on Saturday, went to a Stellantis-powered car, this time Jean-Eric Vergne in the DS-Penske. Fourth was Saturday’s winner Evans in the works Jaguar ahead of the aforementioned trio da Costa, Günther and Wehrlein. Current world champion Stoffel Vandoorne in the second DS-Penkse finished eighth ahead of Nico Müller in the Abt Cupra, who scored the first two championship points in a race for Abt this season – his team-mate Robin Frijns had scored a point for pole position, but in the race, the Dutchman finished 17th and came away empty-handed.
Porsche in front in both championship standings
At the halfway point of the season after the two Berlin races, Porsche driver Wehrlein still leads the drivers’ standings with 100 points (in Berlin, 8 points were added for 6th place on Saturday and 6 points for P7 in Sunday’s race). However, his lead is melting away: With a total of 35 points from the two Berlin races, Nick Cassidy is now in second place with 96 points. Behind him it is still close with Jean-Eric Vergne (81), Jake Dennis (80), Mitch Evans (76) and da Costa (68).
The Porsche works team is also ahead in the team standings, but the Jaguar-powered race cars are catching up: With 24 points from Berlin, Porsche has 168 points, Envision Virgin (+50 points) now has 153 points, and the Jaguar works team is also still within striking distance with 138 points (+55 points).
The next Formula E race will take place in Monaco at the beginning of June.
fiaformulae.com (Saturday race), fiaformulae.com (results Saturday race), fiaformulae.com (Sunday race), fiaformulae.com (results Sunday race), fiaformulae.com (driver ratings), fiaformulae.com (team ratings)