Frijns takes title lead by one point in first wet Formula E race

Formula E

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After four and a half seasons of dry race sessions, a downpour in Paris finally put Formula E’s all-weather tyres to the test – and seen Robin Frijns emerge victorious.

A Safety Car start set the tone of the Paris Eprix, the second half of which saw three Full Course Yellow periods and one further safety car period as drivers struggled with what Andre Lotterer described as “zero grip.”

The race began with a Nissan e.Dams front row lock-out, after both Mahindras including former pole-sitter Pascal Wehrlein were discounted from qualifying for tyre pressure infringements, and Oliver Rowland on pole. However, after just two minutes of racing he crashed out of the lead at turn eight.

Sebastien Buemi inherited the lead, as rain and subsequently hail started to fall but a nudge from second-place Frijns led to a puncture that saw Buemi forced to pit just as a Full Course Yellow period was called as a safety measure.

Once the rain had lessened, there was a brief green-flag period during which Tom Dillman slid into a wall, although he was able to continue. Bird and D’Ambrosio also collided at turn three, and then a gigantic sideways shunt for Alexander Sims neutralised the race at the same spot.

Formula E’s tyres have very narrow operating windows in the dry and despite drivers’ attempts to keep them warm behind the Safety Car, grip became steadily worse on the subsequent three restarts.

The majority of the second half of the race was conducted under Full Course Yellow conditions, as more cars had to be collected – most notably Alex Lynn stuck into the wall by Edoardo Mortara’s car and D’Ambrosio forced into turn three by Jose-Maria Lopez.

Frijns, who had been driving with a fixed front wing since the start of the race, was able to make it to the finish line with the lead – with drivers describing the effort as being primarily about bringing the car home, more than racing, due to the extremely low grip conditions.

Lotterer came in second, in no real fight with Frijns and Daniel Abt was able to take third place despite very nearly being involved in several multi-car incidents.

Following the race, Frijns leads the drivers’ championship by one point to Lotterer.

Video: Formula E 2018-19 round eight Paris EPrix highlights

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Provisional results:

1. Robin Frijns – Envision Virgin
2. Andre Lotterer – DS Techeetah
3. Daniel Abt – Audi
4. Lucas di Grassi – Audi
5. Maximilian Guenther – GEOX Dragon
6. Jean-Eric Vergne – DS Techeetah
7. Antonio Felix da Costa – BMWi Andretti
8. Gary Paffett – HWA AG
9. Felipe Massa – Venturi
10. Pascal Wehrlein – Mahindra
11. Sam Bird – Envision Virgin
12. Oliver Rowland – Nissan e.Dams
13. Jose-Maria Lopez – GEOX Dragon
14. Oliver Turvey – NIO
15. Sebastien Buemi – Nissan e.Dams
16. Mitch Evans – Jaguar
DNF Jerome D’Ambrosio – Mahindra
DNF Alex Lynn – Jaguar
DNF Edoardo Mortara – Venturi
DNF Stoffel Vandoorne – HWA AG
DNF Alexander Sims – BMWi Andretti
DNF Tom Dillman – NIO

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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22 comments on “Frijns takes title lead by one point in first wet Formula E race”

  1. You have to be dead inside if you watched that and didn’t enjoy it. Amazing drive by Frijns, Lotterer too as he kept it tidy – everyone else, complete chaos. Excellent race.

    1. Ambrogio Isgro
      28th April 2019, 1:13

      First time I saw a FE race live on TV. To me it looked like a joke. The track was ridiculous. Too many interruptions. I love races not lottery.

    2. actually, this was one of the worst races this year if not the worst. Watch the Mexican e-prix for pure enjoyment and quality (race winner was decided in the last 100m)

  2. Peter.Rogers69
    27th April 2019, 18:31

    i know others find this sort of thing exciting or whatever but i just don’t enjoy all the chaos and carnage you see in your average formula e race.

    i want to see some good, clean & somewhat pure racing so all the sillyness that surrounds every formula e race with contact, crashes, yellows and the dumb gimmicks like fanboost and the simply ridiculous attack zone thing just turns me off.

    i have given the series a fair chance this year i feel and will be walking away after today because it ain’t for me, pretty much the polar opposite of what i think is good and enjoyable racing.

    1. Ambrogio Isgro
      28th April 2019, 1:14


  3. Have to unfortunately say that the series just doesn’t grab me. I don’t like how chaotic and random these gimmick ridden ‘races’ seem.

    Maybe the kids with low attention spans will enjoy the chaos but this longer term fan of motor sports is been completely turned off by it. It is certainly not what I would class as proper motor racing.

    1. perfectly put, I feel the same way most of the time. But it seems to me that the problem are the tracks, too narrow and slow. In Mexico, the track was a combination of city streets with a bit of track layout, and it delivered a great race.

  4. too much of a crash-fest for my liking, just like every other FE race i have seen.

    really not a fan of it. would rather see a proper race with fewer wrecks, less randomness and a bit more pure racing without some of these more gimmicky aspects with the mario kart gimmicks.

    it also seems like there are more like me who watch & walk away than fans that are seeing it and sticking around as the tv ratings and also the number of people watching the live streaming on youtube is lower each race it seems. it is simply not attracting and maintaining new fans and that to me says a lot about what most think of what they see when they see it.

    the racing just isn’t very good unless you like seeing crashing and mario kart gimmicks unfortunately.

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      27th April 2019, 21:03

      I can handle the gimmicks, but the racing is just horrible. Frijns and Lotterer did an outstanding job at the front with the rain, but behind them it was just amateur hour.

  5. I really enjoy formula e most of the time. But this race was a waste of time. There was little racing, and a lot of crashing. The race should have been stopped after the drivers started complaining about the weather. Valuable points were lost as drivers invariably tried to overtake in low visibility with average tires.

    I feel for all the people who went out to see that race and basically saw randomness and full course yellows. If you were having a driver or a team, they almost entirely lost positions do to random crashes.

    I hope they learn from it. Formula E has a great future, especially as the power improves and for wheel drive comes in eventually. But it does sometimes new decend in to a circus.

    1. Having = backing
      For wheel drive = Four wheel drive

  6. Wouldn’t know what happened, it looks like Fox (usa) have dumped the series.

    1. ..Or it’s on delay Sunday morning early..I have no idea.
      Just when I was getting interested…

      1. @budchekov You might be able to watch it on YouTube; the full race is already posted on FE’s channel. If no US channel is covering the series now you might be able to watch it.

        (I’m in Italy where some channel I don’t have covers FE, so I can watch the practices live on YT, but have to wait a week or two to be allowed to watch the race)

        1. Thanks :)

  7. Stunning race!

  8. Rowland was all over the place today. Its like he can’t handle the pressure of having such a good drive. Throwing away the lead was bad, but the torpedo attack later on was awful. Surprised no penalty forthcoming (even if pointless).

    Poor mistake from Massa to throw away 3rd before he got hit further.

    Frijns had a great race and I think is blameless in the Buemi contact was a fault of circuit design with the fan boost location. Clearly they need indicators to warn when they’re going to slow down excessively to make the tighter line.

    1. Update: 3 place Monaco grid penalties for Rowland, Mortara, D’Ambrosio.

  9. I’m now sure what’s the main problem with this series after the last 2 ePrixs: the tracks are too narrow!
    Not the problem of having walls, that’s a thing about street circuits but in lots of tracks and lots of places in the tracks for Formula E races, when a driver looses a car slightly in a turn many others will crags cause they absolutely have no place to go. In the previous race JM Lopez (if I’m not mistaken) lost the car under banking before a chicane, had a slight touch or not even no at all with the wall but everyone behind just queued and the track was blocked. Here in Paris similar things, the cars have nowhere to go if someone lunges on the inside or they brake a little bit late…

  10. It was hugely entertaining again. You just couldn’t call who is going to win, who is going to be on the podium.

    For those to whom this series is too “chaotic” or whatever, there is always a choice of enjoying Formula One. The last race in China was a pleasure for them, I guess. No real drama, not much collisions, drivers behaved well. In other words, boredom, processional race but some may have liked that.

  11. Much as I liked watching the drivers wrestle the cars around a bit and – for once – look like they had a lot more power than they could control, the standard of driving in the wet from some of them was abysmal. And this problem was compounded by the design of the track, which was so tight and cramped that one guy making a mistake could (and did) easily delay/wipe out 3-4-5 other drivers and they couldn’t do anything about it. It was entertaining, but in a randomised Destruction Derby kind of way.

    Huge credit to Frijns though, and to the other drivers who kept it clean and looked in control of the conditions.

  12. I like Formula E – partly because of the contrast to the more typical style of racing elsewhere – but this race did not show the series in its best light. A series that is configured to show itself at its best when it is dry, it looks rather messy and disrupted as soon as the weather turns. A lot of people had races ruined innocently by other people making minor errors (the sort that perhaps would have caused no issues to anybody, including themselves, had it been dry). I don’t find losing positions while minding one’s own business exciting. Robin and Lotterer did a good job, but getting a feel for what was good further down the pack was difficult.

    I dislike Fanboost and Attack Zone, but neither of these had much to do with my ambiguous feelings towards this particular round. Fortunately, normal service (enjoyment of frenetic racing and ISO Standard Gimmick Complaints alike) is likely to be resumed next round.

    Finally, now that I’ve finally got to the point where I can reliably find Formula E (I just have to remember not to try to watch it live, because getting it any way except iPlayer’s proved nearly impossible)… …I’d like to say how much I appreciate watching a series that makes no attempt at in-race spoilers. Channel 4 F1 highlights, I’m looking at you!

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