Formula E: 5 takeaways from a wild NYC E-Prix (Round 11)

Formula E - NYC E-Prix
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It was a chaotic and surprising round of Formula E action from the start of qualifying until the final results were announced.

The plan was to cover the NYC E-Prix doubleheader in one article. I should have known Formula E wouldn’t all that. A drama-filled day demands a look at five big takeaways from Round 11. There is a lot to break down, but let’s go through it in as much order as possible.

1 – Stunning exits in the Qualifying Group Stage

We thought we had the headline from qualifying early in Group Stage A. Sergio Sette Camara’s crash disrupted the timing, costing both Oliver Askew and  André Lotterer a chance to make their second run. Both Envision cars went through to the knockouts, but Championship leader Edoardo Mortara, Jake Dennis & Nyck de Vries were all eliminated. But a quick rain shower during the Group B session meant times wouldn’t improve during the typical second run. That cost Mitch Evans and Jean-Éric Vergne a chance to move up into the top four of their group. Three of the main Championship protagonists were out early in qualifying. 

2 – DS Techeetah Horror Show

The team entered the day 2nd in the Team standings by just two points. With Jean-Eric Vergne only five points off the lead in the Driver’s Championship. First, both their cars failed to make the knockout rounds in qualifying. Then starting toward the back of the grid, Vergne had contact on the opening lap basically ending his E-Prix. António Félix da Costa has been running in the ten for a while but suffered a tire puncture minutes before the downpour. The red flag end saw DS Techeetah finish with zero points, with both JEV and the team falling to third place in the respective championships.

3 – Nearly Vandoorne’s Day

It looked like Stoffel Vandoorne was going to capitalize on his rival’s errors. The only title contender in the top 10 he was with the lead pack the entire race. He made a great move over two laps picking up third with a combination of strategy and Attack Mode. Then he correctly used his Fan Boost right after di Grassi has completed his to overtake and move into 2nd place. But in what would be the final laps of the E-Prix he fell to fourth place and was collected in the massive shunt. Ultimately, Vandoorne walks away just 13 points back and into 2nd place heading into Round 12 tomorrow.

4 – Pouring Chaos

Group B in qualifying gave us a preview of the chaos that the rain can cause in Formula E. The series has just one type of tire and it can run in light rain. But as summers often produce here in America, New York City was hit with a sudden downpour only to be back to clear, sunny skies 10-15 minutes later. On a track built using existing lots and streets, there was minimal drainage for rain that hard and numerous spots on the track for puddles. Conditions quickly went from tricky to impossible and resulted in one of the biggest collection of crashed vehicles Formula E has seen. Three of the top four were hard into the wall with further destruction occurring throughout the pack. Perhaps the biggest takeaways from this turn of events are yet to be seen, with numerous cars liking needing significant repairs and replacements before tomorrow’s race. Watch for grid penalities as the new breaks Sunday morning.

5 – Envision Shine With Double Podium

In the opening ten rounds of the Formula E season, Envision had only twice landed both cars in the points. Nick Cassidy had finished 16th or worse five times. NYC proved once again to be their sweet spot. Cassidy topped Vandoorne to take his first career pole in Formula E with both Envision cars starting in the top seven. And Cassidy dominated only being overtaken while he took Attack Mode. Frijns worked his way into the top three and was the only driver at the front to avoid the massive crash. The team’s 1st and 3rd lift them into 5th in the Team Championship. If the team can repair Cassidy’s car, they should be in for another double-point day.

Up next is round 12 and the back half of the NYC E-Prix Doubleheader on Sunday. Check here for TV information on practice, qualifying, and the E-Prix tomorrow.

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