Jean-Eric Vergne, Techeetah, Formula E, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2019

Vergne wins second Formula E title as title rivals crash on final lap

Formula E

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Jean-Eric Vergne has comfortably claimed his second Formula E title, as Robin Frijns took his second Formula E win in the season finale New York race. Remaining title contenders Lucas di Grassi and Mitch Evans crashed each other out on a final lap collision, handing second place in the championship to Sebastien Buemi.

Ahead of the race, the FIA announced that there would be three mandatory activations of Attack Mode, rather than the two available for the rest of the season; consistent with the original plan to vary the length and number of activations.

Pole-sitter Alexander Sims made a clean getaway, with third-placed Sebastien Buemi doing as Alex Lynn had behind him yesterday, to jump into second via the cleaner side of the grid ahead of Robin Frijns.

Going in to the final race of the season, all three title contenders were within touching but by no means secure distance of the championship. Mitch Evans, who needed to win and get fastest lap, with Vergne scoring no points, began in eighth while Vergne himself started alongside Di Grassi

On lap one, Lotterer collided with the rear of Lopez, spinning the Dragon car who then in turn hit Lotterer in righting himself. A critical blow for Techeetah, whose teams’ championship lead was by no means secure from Audi.

It got worse when with 40 minutes to go, Lotterer had to pits as the Safety Car was deployed as Lopez has stopped on track after the earlier contact. The race restarted with a few seconds over 34 minutes to go, with the order changing frenetically in the top 5 but with no effect on the championship fight – which remained with Evans 8th, Di Grassi and Vergne 10th and 11th respectively and Vergne’s hand on the trophy.

Abt was able to pass Evans for eighth, then seventh and sixth with Di Grassi hunting Evans down. With only 24 points separating the teams’ title and Vergne still right behind Di Grassi, Audi’s chance of once again frustrating Techeetah for one of the titles (as last year) started to look much more likely than the drivers’ championship.

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Meanwhile Sims and Frijns, at the front of the pack, were duelling between Attack Mode activations, with Frijns eventually bagging Sims just before the half an hour remaining mark. Sims stayed with him, despite harrying from Buemi behind.

Vergne was briefly separated from his glued-on position behind Di Grassi after Da Costa managed to split them for 10th – a crucial position as if Vergne scored even a point Di Grassi and Evans’ job became mathematically harder. Vergne rapidly used Attack Mode to retake the position and they remained stuck together, as Evans managed to finally move to 6th – a gap that could see him bag second place from Di Grassi.

Di Grassi eventually managed to move up, with a descending Vandoorne and then Rowland separating himself and Vergne and Evans holding out ahead, now sandwiched between the Audi drivers with Abt ahead and Di Grassi behind. With just three and a half minutes to go, Evans was warned not to risk it with Abt as the newly-re-signed Audi driver might risk a collision to allow Di Grassi through.

On the final turns of the final lap, after hard-racing for the majority of the race, Di Grassi finally collided with Evans – leaving them both in the Tecpro and handing second place in the championship to Sebastien Buemi, Di Grassi retains third place while DS Techeetah take both Driver and Teams’ titles.

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Provisional Classification

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

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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7 comments on “Vergne wins second Formula E title as title rivals crash on final lap”

  1. Congrats to JEV! Congrats to Techeetah!
    It was a bit hairy after what happened yesterday, thankfully they were able to wrap it up today.

    My driver of the year has to be Mitch. He really dragged the car into championship contention, despite the lack of consistent pace. Lotterer and Sam also has been pretty unlucky so far this season, but should have been up there in the standings as well. Hopefully all of them have better results next season.

    I really understand the charm of Formula E now. It is probably the best electric racing series yet. It has :

    1. High profile drivers
    2. Famous racing / automobile brands
    3. Raw handling cars which drivers enjoy
    4. City circuits for easy marketing
    5. Tons of wheel to wheel action for all the fans
    6. Electric whine noise that are loud enough, which are probably better than no noise at all

    When you compare this to MotoE or even the Jaguar support race, you really appreciate Formula E’s “city circuit & gokart-ish track” approach. It really improves racing for a Formula racing series like this. Racing in traditional purpose built tracks would lose 3 advantages that they currently have at the moment, and probably won’t attract as well to many stakeholders.

    Now they only needs a better track standard. Wide tracks like Berlin is probably too much for the series. Maybe more tracks like Riyadh, Morocco and New York? Getting rid of the stupid chicanes like the ones in Hong Kong or Bern would be nice. Hopefully Seoul and Jakarta(?) would give us great racing next season.

  2. I’m still a bit baffled by the Evans / Di Grassi collision. Evans looked to have a problem, but then defended so hard.

    The Championship podium with prizes handed out at the last race is something F1 should do.

  3. I’ve never been able to watch more than couple of laps of this… Formula.

    Even judging only by review above to me it looks like nothing has changed since season 1 – clumsy racing of clumsy drivers on clumsy, unspectacular, hastily built tracks.

    I don’t judge those who like this Formula – if they like it, good for them. But for me – I will better not watch anything at all, rather than watch FE.

    1. P.S. They need to add “Laser Tag” mode next season!
      Who is “tagged” stalls for 10 seconds.

      Ultimate entertainment on wheel!

    2. I’ve said it before, the track design philosophy in this series is just … stupid. They keep creating one-line-only corner combinations and the drivers seem have no regard for the equipment or any respect for the “race” as they bump each other corner after corner. At the end, it looked like every car had a broken nosecone. Ridiculous

      This million-dollar-bumper-cars act gets very old very fast…

  4. Maybe it has been mentioned in another article, but it transpires that Vergne is now getting a “community service” penalty for having asked the team to tell Lotterer to stop on track during the first race in an attempt to force the race director to send the safety car out (and, according to the stewards report, it’s pretty unambiguous – Vergne is heard saying “Tell Andre to stop … to bring out the Safety Car”).

    Vergne’s response has been as follows:
    Regarding the penalty, Vergne told “Yeah if I asked every other driver in F1 or in Formula E, they would have asked the same. You crawl by, you see your team-mate one lap down, car is broken, front wing like this in the wall, it’s something normal [to ask].

    “Everyone would ask the same. It’s not like he was running for position with the car fine. I asked to put it [the car] in the wall like something in the past that has happened.”

    Now, I do think that this does take some of the gloss off Vergne’s achievements if he is basically asking his team mate to “do a Piquet Jr” and deliberately cause a safety car for him to profit by.

  5. Mahindra should replace Dilbagh Gill and poach Allan McNish or Alain Prost to lead the team. The team is making a total mockery of itself after starting so well and fading away. This has happened for the 2nd consecutive season. And instead of D’Ambrosio or Wehrlein, they should try to lure Sebastian Buemi.

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