What a weekend it has been in New York City. Formula E again shows it is one of the most competitive, and surprising, racing series out there!
There was plenty enough action in Round 11. For Round 12, instead of a more relaxed race, it seemed like everyone decided to try and outdo Saturday’s action.
1 – Qualifying Surprises and Penalties
With the rain in Round 11, the drivers were effectively driving at a new track again for Round 12 and this threw up surprises aplenty throughout the grid.
Championship leader at the time Mortara had a break-by-wire failure which led to him starting the race 21st. Another championship challenger Vergne didn’t have any excuses as he crashed his car at the chicane and would be starting the race 13th. The other championship contenders Vandoorne and Evans qualified 6th and 7th respectively but never looked any quicker.
Cassidy took a stunning pole in a rebuilt car after the previous day’s crash. He would be leading ahead of Da Costa and Sims. That was until a notification after qualifying for a 30-place grid penalty for Cassidy who had to change his battery overnight and would start at the back.
The regulations say these penalties can only be applied after the grid has been formed. Envision should have known this would happen and not bothered pushing in qualifying but they didn’t. We were left with the heart-breaking watch of Cassidy being informed of the penalty on live TV.
2 – The DAC is Back
Da Costa for the majority of this season has not looked his usual self. Off the pace of his teammate and never really in the fight, with a big dollop of bad luck as well. Potentially his head wasn’t in the game with the expected announcement of a move to Porsche for 2023?
Until Marrakesh where it seemed the old Da Costa was back and he took a strong pole and second place in the race. In New York, he might have inherited pole due to Cassidy’s penalty but that wasn’t going to dampen his mood.
On the grid, he looked up for it, and off the line had a great start giving him some breathing room into turn 1. After that, it never looked in doubt for him. Sims put some early pressure on and Vandoorne tried too at the end but it always seemed like Da Costa had it under control.
In the first half of this season, if you said Da Costa would be the driver to win DS Techeetah’s first race of this season, I’d of laughed at you! But he did and as the man said himself after the race, the DAC is back.
3 – Sims Will Be Missed
Before the New York doubleheader. Alexander Sims announced he would not be remaining in Formula E for 2023. Instead targeting a return to endurance racing. Sims admitted he didn’t enjoy single-seater racing as much and was doing this for his own enjoyment. It certainly wasn’t because he didn’t have the pace.
Given a good car, which the Mahindra hasn’t been this year, Sims can fight with anyone. However, he is also one of the most liked characters in the grid. With the announcement out there it’s like a weight was lifted.
Qualifying in third set him up well, but he was expected to fall back. Not the case, taking second at the start due to Cassidy’s penalty. He stayed there for the first half of the race. Finally losing out to Vandoorne but carried on battling in the podium positions until two minutes to go.
The fairy tale didn’t quite work out as Evans managed to get past but Sims did finish fourth, with a fantastic race. Showing all of Formula E what we’ll be missing when Sims leaves at the end of the year.
4 – Mercedes Put 2021 To Rest
Last year Mercedes had a horror show in New York. No pace, no points, and no idea about why they were struggling so badly. The team did a lot of work on investigating the reasons behind their failure last year and believed they had the answer.
Clearly, it worked because over both races they might not have been the quickest car but they were right up there. Mr. Consistent (Vandoorne) did the job he needed to do with a fourth place start and a second place finish across the two races. De Vries had a slightly more muted weekend with bad luck and midfield fighting getting in his way. Though he was in the fight at least and showed a similar pace.
Mercedes can be happy with their performance after last year. But clearly, De Vries is not really in championship contention this season and the team should be looking to back Vandoorne. Sooner rather than later.
5 – Title Battle Swings Again
With Vandoorne having a strong finish in both races, ahead of all his challengers, he has re-taken the championship lead. Mortara suffered a penalty in Round 11 didn’t score well and only picked up one point in Round 12. Vergne didn’t score points in either race. Evans meanwhile didn’t score in Round 11 but took a podium in Round 12.
It means Vandoorne has 155 points. 11 ahead of Mortara, with Evans another 5 back and Vergne being a further 11 back. Vergne needs to outscore the others in London otherwise he’s likely out of the battle as well.
In the Team Championship, Mercedes retook the lead with 238 points but that’s only 10 points more than their customer team Rokit Venturi or DS Techeetah.
We have four more races to go in a thrilling championship battle. Join us before the London E-Prix doubleheader on the 30th and 31st of July as we bring you all the main news from Formula E.