Ahead of the season finale in Berlin this weekend, EV Powered looks back over this incredible season of the Formula E World Championship.
A total of 18 drivers are still mathematically able to win the Drivers’ World Championship ahead of the Berlin E-Prix, a testament to the enthralling nature of Formula E, but how has it got to this point?
Following a season that was heavily disrupted by Covid-19, Season 7 got underway in usual fashion with the first double-header in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.
The circuit in the Middle East has become a staple fixture in the Formula E calendar over the past few years and, under the floodlights on Round 1, Mercedes EQ’s Nyck de Vries claimed the very first win of the campaign – A sign of things to come for the rest of the season.
Whilst his very first race for his new team didn’t go to plan, Jaguar’s Sam Bird recovered extraordinarily well to win the second race of the weekend, having failed to finish the day before.
After two races, we had two different winners and that would be a familiar pattern throughout the season.
When in Rome
It was off to Rome next for a spectacular circuit situated right in the heart of the Eternal City. Rain plagued the weekend, which ultimately saw Round 3 finish behind the safety car following a major incident with Mercedes EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne smashing into the barriers right at the death. The incident allowed Jean-Eric Vergne of DS Techeetah to nip through and claim his first win of the season, and Jaguar’s Sam Bird also profited, coming through in second to seal back-to-back podiums.
It was a reprieve for Vandoorne in Round 4, however, going the extra step on the Sunday to claim the top spot on the podium having been in the top three places for the majority of the race in Round 3.
Pain in Spain
Due to the ongoing impact of coronavirus, the FIA and Formula E were forced to race on the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia; a permanent racetrack that threw up many concerns regarding energy management.
Those concerns were realised in one of the most chaotic finishes to a race in the series’ history.
In another race that was disrupted by the heavy rain and an incredibly tight track layout, the race reached its epic conclusion as the final lap approached. With the majority of the grid running out of energy, to the point where certain drivers’ stopped dead on the track, Mercedes EQ’s Nyck de Vries had managed to judge his energy perfectly to claim his second win of the season, and there were also podium places available for Nico Mueller of Dragon / Penske AutoSport and fellow Mercedes driver Vandoorne.
Thankfully, the drivers’ had learnt their lesson heading into the Sunday, none more so than BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Jake Dennis, who navigated the circuit with precision to claim his first win in his rookie Formula E campaign.
After its year off in Season 6, the streets of Monaco returned to the Formula E calendar this year and it was guaranteed to deliver drama and excitement.
It certainly delivered on the drama, with a number of high-profile incidents taking place, most of which occurred on the excruciatingly narrow hairpin, which brought Mahindra Racing’s Alexander Sims’ race to an end on the very first lap.
Monaco always delivers magic and it was no different this year, with Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans completing a breathtaking overtake on Da Costa up the Beau Rivage, shooting up the inside between the barriers to take the lead over the long-time race leader.
It was a move that deserved to win the race but, as with the nature of Formula E, a lack of energy meant Evans had to ease off on the final couple of corners, and Da Costa and Frijns were able to pip Evans to first and second. It was a disappointing end to the race for Evans who was a moment away from his first win of the season.
Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns was the leader of the Driver’s Standings at the halfway point of the season, but there was still a lot of racing to be done.
Viva la Mexico
Following the familiarity of Monaco, Formula E ventured off to new territory for Rounds 8 and 9, taking over the region of Puebla in Mexico. Having raced in front of empty stands for over a year, the teams, drivers and organisation were delighted to welcome back a small number of fans.
It was the perfect start to the weekend for Audi, with Lucas Di Grassi claiming top spot just ahead René Rast in second for a tremendous double podium. ROKiT Venturi’s Edoardo Mortara finished in third, but his weekend was to get a whole lot better on the Sunday.
With so many different winners throughout the campaign, Mortara went two better on the Sunday to claim his first win of Season 7 and, with his third place finish the day before, was lifted to the top of the Driver’s Championship.
New York, New York
It was another race and another winner as the series returned to the Big Apple, this time with BMW’s Max Guenther taking home the top prize, finishing ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne and Lucas di Grassi.
Guenther started just outside the podium positions on the Saturday but managed the race perfectly, carefully moving past the front pack before crossing the line in first place.
Jaguar’s Sam Bird had managed to fight his way into a point-scoring position too, having started towards the back of the grid following a dismal qualifying session.
The points were much needed for the Brit who was battling to keep himself in contention for the Driver’s Championship, and he received a much-needed boost on the Sunday when he catapulted himself to the top of the table with a superb win in Manhattan.
Only a handful of points separated a large group of drivers in the standings, and with only four rounds of racing left, the pressure was mounting as Formula E made its long-awaited return to London.
In a first for international motorsport, the circuit took place both indoor and outdoor, and with a forecast of rain looming, a number of questions were raised about how the drivers would cope with the most unusual of track layouts.
Whilst many of the drivers went slip’n’sliding on the Friday practice session, the rain just about held off on the Saturday and the stage was set for the first Formula E race in London for five years.
The weekend was dominated by the Brit’s, too, with BMW’s Jake Dennis claiming his second win of the season with an amazing drive from start to finish.
Dennis had waited for his moment to pick off Mahindra’s Alex Lynn, who had qualified in first place, but Lynn would have his moment on the Sunday when he pipped Mercedes Nyck De Vries and Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans to the highest point on the podium.
Nyck de Vries finished the weekend in top spot in the Driver’s Standings ahead of Robin Frijns and Sam Bird, but as mentioned earlier, an incredible 18 drivers can still take home the top prize as the series heads to Berlin this weekend.
The Berlin E-Prix takes place on the infamous Tempelhof Airport Circuit on 14th and 15th August, where this remarkable season will be drawn to a close.