Formula E: Evans and da Costa win in Shanghai

Mitch Evans and Antonio Felix da Costa are the winners of the two Formula E races in Shanghai. Evans won the first race on Saturday in a Jaguar, while Porsche works driver Antonio Felix da Costa was victorious on Sunday. In total, five out of six podium places in China went to race cars with an electric drive from Jaguar or Porsche.

Image: Porsche

This year’s two e-Prix races took place for the first time on a short version of the Formula 1 circuit in Shanghai. Previously, the Formula E leg in China was held in Beijing on a circuit around the Olympic Park (the first Formula E race in history) and on a street circuit through the holiday resort of Sanya.

However, even the new circuit has not changed the balance of power in the current season: Porsche and Jaguar are basically fast on all circuits, while the racing cars from Stellantis (DS and Maserati) and Nissan (works team and McLaren as customer team) can occasionally keep up.

This was visible in Shanghai: DS driver Jean-Eric Vergne took pole position for the eleventh race of the season on Saturday, with Oliver Rowland in the Nissan in second place – directly ahead of Evans in the works Jaguar and Pascal Wehrlein in the Porsche 99X Electric. Championship leader Nick Cassidy in the second Jaguar had missed the knockout phase of qualifying and started the race in tenth place. But even on the shortened Formula 1 circuit, it was the usual energy-saving battle. The field stayed close together for almost the entire race and no driver wanted to take the lead – those without the slipstream of a car in front consume more energy and in turn provide a slipstream for the cars behind. Formula E stated in a TV insert that slipstreaming on this track saves 0.4 per cent of charge per lap.

Most of the lead work was done by Wehrlein and Evans – both had a higher energy consumption than Cassidy, for example, who slowly worked his way forward in the pack and was careful with his power levels. In the final phase, Jaguar decided against a team order to help Cassidy, who was better placed in the overall standings. Instead, the race was driven to a free finish. As Evans launched his attack at the right time, he crossed the finish line in first place. Behind him, Wehrlein skilfully defended his second place, Cassidy was unable to take advantage of his higher battery level and had to settle for third place – ahead of Rowland in the works Nissan, world champion Jake Dennis in the Andretti team’s customer Porsche and pole-sitter Vergne in the DS.

In the twelfth race of the season on Sunday, the front row of the grid also went to DS and a Nissan-powered car: Jake Hughes in the McLaren-Nissan was first on the grid, ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne in the DS and Antonio Felix da Costa in the works Porsche. Sunday’s race was scheduled for 28 laps, one less than the previous day – so the teams cannot adopt and refine their strategy, but have to re-plan.

The second race in Shanghai presented a different picture: the field was a little further apart and it was not so easy to drive far forward from a poor starting position in the energy-saving phase of the race. Pascal Wehrlein, who had missed the knockout phase of qualifying and suffered a tyre puncture in the midfield turmoil after a slight contact, also had to experience this – after the necessary pit stop, the German driver finished in 20th place.

At the front, however, his teammate da Costa remained in the leading group but left the lead to Hughes in the McLaren and Norman Nato in the Andretti Porsche. Towards the middle of the race, this trio was able to pull away slightly from the chasing pack consisting of the two works Jaguars and the DS of Vandoorne and Vergne. The Portuguese driver in the works Porsche was now able to score points with his energy strategy and establish a lead that he did not relinquish until the finish. After the second race in Berlin, it was da Costa’s second win of the season; a third victory in Misano was not counted as the car did not comply with the rules due to an allegedly illegal component. Second place was the first podium in Formula E for the young Brit Jake Hughes in the McLaren, while Nato in the customer Porsche left his much more highly rated team-mate Dennis far behind. Fourth and fifth place went to the Jaguar duo Cassidy and Evans.

Ahead of the last two double races of the season in Portland and London, Nick Cassidy (Jaguar) leads the drivers’ standings with 167 points ahead of Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche) with 142 points – Wehrlein’s zero in Sunday’s race has widened the gap again. Mitch Evans (132 points) follows in third place, just ahead of Nissan driver Oliver Rowland (131 points). Fifth-placed Jake Dennis (no points in Sunday’s race) will need a minor miracle with four races left to defend his title with 113 points.

Jaguar is also ahead of Porsche (226) in the team standings with 299 points. If the British team’s strong form continues, it will probably be difficult for Porsche to catch Jaguar. The battle for third place in the team standings is still open: Nissan (157 points) is currently just ahead of DS-Penske (154) and Andretti-Porsche (153).

Races 13 and 14 of the season take place in the USA at the end of June on the track in Portland, before the final double-header traditionally takes place in London in mid-July. (race report Saturday), (race result Saturday), (race report Sunday), (race result Sunday), (driver results), (team results)


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