14 drivers still in title hunt ahead of Formula E’s final race

Formula E

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Fourteen drivers are still in contention to take the first world championship trophies in Formula E, ahead of tomorrow’s Berlin finale.

After qualifying, when DS Techeetah had locked out a confident-looking front row, it might have looked like things were set to play out in 2021 as they did in 2020, with Da Costa running away with the title around Tempelhof.

However, both Techeetah cars faded in today’s race and the title is now closer than ever, Nyck de Vries’ lead cut to just 3 points and with the top seven drivers all within 10 points of each other.

Jake Dennis moved up to third in the standings with a strong fifth-place finish and is now only four points behind De Vries overall. He described the race as “overall pretty good” saying that “We obviously had a tough first lap, ended up tenth and then got back to fifth and scored some valuable points. Those 10 points are really crucial to us right now and we moved up in the championship, which is great. And yeah, the car was behaving well and we look in good shape for tomorrow. So I’m excited. It’s all good. It’s been a good day in the office.”

Dennis is a rookie this season in Formula E but has managed to take two wins – more than any other rookie in the championship ever. Now in such close contention for the title he said tomorrow’s reversed-layout race would be another challenge. “I am confident but obviously it’s, again, another new circuit for me so I’ve got to learn it, which isn’t ideal but I’ll just move on from it. And I’m so excited to get the race going. No pressure, I’m just going to have some fun out there and see how we end up.”

Nyck de Vries was lucky to maintain his title lead, after finishing the race dead last. He had qualified poorly, starting the race 19th and then ending up having to pit mid-race due to a puncture. He said keeping the points lead by such a narrow margin didn’t count for much, ahead of tomorrow’s round. “Ultimately, I think the position doesn’t really matter anything now because everyone is so close that whoever is going to have a good day tomorrow will be crowned as champion, that is the reality.

“How I feel – of course I’m disappointed because we didn’t manage to score any points. We compromised ourselves in qualifying, started from the back of the grid and then you’re in the mess and anything can happen. What can I say, it is the way it is and now, we have to look forward and hope for a clean day tomorrow.”

Mitch Evans took third place for Jaguar, putting the team back in the lead of the constructors’ title but again by a very narrow margin, just five points ahead of Techeetah. Evans said “It’s a good result but tomorrow’s the one that counts.

“It’s going to swing up and down every lap, probably, tomorrow. So to be honest we need to capitalise on a big day; Sam [Bird] is, I think, back in group two so we’ve got scope to have another good day, but it’s 24 hours from now when it counts. But nonetheless, we’ll trudge on, tune her up, hopefully get some more pace out of it and then go again.”

Lucas di Grassi was able to capitalise on qualifying third place today to take the race win as Techeetah’s pace failed. He goes into the final round sixth in the points, only eight behind De Vries, having come into this weekend with relatively distant chances.

“We’ve had such up and downs this year,” Di Grassi summarised. “It’s been the year that I lost most of my wins – we lost two wins, one when the driveshaft broke in the last laps of Rome, it was a very good race and then the other a little bit more dodgy but still, we lost because of a technicality of the pit stop in the garage.

“So with those 50 points it would be much easier than currently. But everybody in the paddock can say the same; up and downs – one had the energy run out in the race, for another the car stopped and so on. So it just proves that we’ve been competitive the whole season, we just didn’t put the stuff together.

“And by arriving now, winning the race and being sixth in the championship,a few points away from the lead coming to the last race. This is the best we could do. So I’m very happy because we achieved today what we could and then we go for tomorrow with the same mindset.”

A maximum of 30 points are available tomorrow, keeping De Vries, Edoardo Mortara, Dennis, Mitch Evans, Robin Frijns, Di Grassi, Antonio Felix da Costa, Sam Bird, Jean-Eric Vergne, Alex Lynn, Nick Cassidy, René Rast, Pascal Wehrlein and Max Günther are still in the running to become Formula E’s first world champion.

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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11 comments on “14 drivers still in title hunt ahead of Formula E’s final race”

  1. With this quali format they should really give points for every finishing position – group 1 is bound to be in the back half, even gaining 10 positions, which would be a great race, can still give you zero points.

    1. It’s not though – if you just go out and set a lap, as Da Costa did (and did this last year) you can be in Super Pole.

      1. It’s by design intended to put them on the backfoot. Good on Da Costa and DS for running exceptionally well on the parking lot surface, but that’s hardly par for the course.

        It’s pretty obvious from the fact there’s 14 title contenders in the final race that the various gimmicks designed to make the racing as random as possible are working. Let’s be reasonable at least and not deny that it’s anything other than that. This will never be a series where being the best at pure racing and engineering is what ultimately will decide this championship.

        1. The qualifying system has been the same since Season 4 (2017-18) – there has never, ever been a season like this.

          Much more effective are the double headers. The weather. The fact the cars are running tracks they’re not designed for. Sorry to pull an “I’m the expert” here but I am literally the expert.

  2. I guess whatever will be will be, but if either Mitch Evans or Robert Frijns take the title on the last day without winning, I will be severely disappointed.
    I’ve nothing against someone with less wins taking the title, but no wins would ve unsatisfactory.

    The most difficult thing for me this season has been the lack of title narrative. There have been very few season long plot lines.
    Feels less building to a close, and more monster of the week.

  3. @eurobrun,

    +1 and well said.

    The whole format that the FE promoters seem to have created goes against any real racing and instead going after viewership from casual non-motorsport fans and viewers who like to watch spectacle entertainment. This has been at the expense of regular motor racing fans who know racing better (and typically come back each week to watch).

    Like you said,

    “The most difficult thing for me this season has been the lack of title narrative. There have been very few season long plot lines.” & “and more monster of the week”

    Why invest our time to watch that? Because what’s the plot? There’s no depth to the racing. I can just read the results on Monday, have a chuckle and move on as it really doesn’t deserve more.

    1. Don’t get me wrong, I will watch today because its the season finale, but I missed yesterday (partly cos I had no idea what time the race started, and I hadn’t left myself enough time to discover what channel it would be on this time).
      I’ll try watch the 5min YouTube highlights later this morning to get me in the mood.

    2. Yes, unfortunately so. I do read the results and then have a chuckle every time there has been a race. Tried to watch it a few times but this has very little to do with actual racing. Terrible settings everywhere as well. Chaotic asphalt, fences everywhere. Questionable level of organisation too, looks like to locals organised something and built it overnight. Wouldn’t want to invest sponsor money in this. But I guess it serves the go green agenda within the industry.

    3. Calling Formula E “monster of the week” feels like overlooking that Lotterer has been here for four seasons now.

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