Rowland and Wehrlein win Formula E race in Misano

At the Formula E premiere in Misano, Italy, Nissan works driver Oliver Rowland won the race on Saturday and Porsche driver Pascal Wehrlein won the race on Sunday. Although a Porsche crossed the finish line first in both races, Antonio Felix da Costa was disqualified on Saturday.

Image: Porsche

So far, Formula E has held its previous Italian races in the capital Rome. As the track layout has already been criticised by drivers in the past and the track itself was also the cause of a serious accident in 2023, the electric racing series has moved to the permanent Misano racetrack on the Adriatic coast for 2024.

As the permanent circuit – albeit somewhat shortened for Formula E and with an additional chicane – is significantly faster than the usual city circuits with 90-degree bends and hairpins, it was already clear in advance that the Misano premiere would once again rely heavily on energy management. In other words, as much energy as possible would be saved in the first phase of the race in order to finish as far ahead as possible in the final sprint.

That’s how it turned out: for the first two thirds of the race, no driver actually wanted to take the lead and give the other cars an energy-saving slipstream. However, as the drivers do not want to fall too far behind in this phase of the race, minor collisions regularly occur in the pack during the battles for positions. Victims in Saturday’s race were, for example, the two championship favourites Pascal Wehrlein in the Porsche and Nick Cassidy in the works Jaguar as well as Brazil race winner Sam Bird in the McLaren-Nissan, who all retired after damage or dropped to the back of the field after repair pit stops and finished outside the points. To illustrate the differences between the energy-saving phase and the final sprint: Initial lap times were around 1:26 minutes, while the best times in the final sprint were in the 1:19 range.

In the final sprint phase of Saturday’s race, Wehrlein’s team-mate Felix Antonio da Costa was in the best position and saved just the right amount of energy for his attack. The Portuguese driver, who had already been criticised after a weak start to the season, gave the right answer with his (supposed) victory on Saturday. However, he subsequently lost it during a technical inspection by the FIA – da Costa was disqualified. According to the stewards, this was due to a spring on the power pedal of Felix da Costa’s 99X, which was not in accordance with the regulations. Strictly speaking, a spring from the old Gen2 racing cars was installed. With the switch to the Gen3 racing cars, the standard chassis supplier Spark did not change this spring, but it is no longer on the list of permitted parts for the 2024 season. In other words, Da Costa had no technical advantage, but an illegal part was formally installed. Shortly after the disqualification was announced, Porsche’s Formula E team declared its intention to appeal against the FIA’s decision and has since been evaluating further steps – Porsche has 96 hours to do so.

Therefore, subject to the Porsche test, Nissan driver Oliver Rowland is listed as the winner of Saturday’s race. The Briton has already finished on the podium in previous Formula E races and impressively confirmed his form in Misano. With his race win, Rowland also took the lead in the championship. World champion Jake Dennis in the Andretti team’s customer Porsche finished second, while Maximilian Günter in the Maserati is currently third. Günther is therefore once again the best Stellantis driver. However, the focus was on Rowland, for whom it was only his second Formula E victory – and the first ever for the Nissan works team.

Rowland could have made the weekend perfect for the long-shaken team on Sunday, as he was in the lead until the last lap of the race. The world governing body had scheduled Sunday’s race a little shorter at 26 laps so that the energy strategy would not be a copy of Saturday’s 28-lap race. On Sunday, Rowland and Wehrlein pulled away from the rest of the field at the end of the energy-saving phase. With five laps to go, it looked as if Rowland had two per cent less energy in his battery than Wehrlein – but this difference later disappeared, although Rowland pulled away from his German rival by over a second.

However, as it turned out on the last lap, the difference still existed – but for reasons still unknown, it was no longer displayed in the system. Based on the data, Rowland and his team assumed that they still had enough energy to reach the finish. In fact, the victory they thought was certain was lost when Rowland’s Nissan rolled out in the final kilometres. Nissan itself only spoke of a “technical data problem”. Wehrlein inherited the race victory without a fight and thus retook the lead in the championship – from Rowland of all people. Wehrlein and world champion Dennis (who also finished second on Sunday) both currently have 89 points to their name – as Wehrlein has already won two races this season and Dennis only one, Wehrlein is in first place. Rowland follows in third place with 80 points ahead of Jaguar works driver Nick Cassidy (76 points), who finished third behind Wehrlein and Dennis on Sunday.

In the team standings, Jaguar (128 points) leads ahead of Andretti-Porsche (112 points) and the Porsche works team (109 points). Should Porsche decide to lodge a protest due to the disqualification on Saturday, there could be subsequent changes here. This also applies to Nissan in fourth place with 100 points.

The next Formula E race will take place on 27 April in Monaco. (race report),, (race results), (driver rankings), (team rankings)


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