Formula E: 5 Takeaways from the Seoul E-Prix (Round 16)

Formula E - 2022 Champion Stoffel Vandoorne
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Formula E came into the final round of the season with both titles still on the line after a long season with twists and turns!

Mathematically it was a direct shootout between Stoffel Vandoorne and Mitch Evans for the Drivers’ Title. In the Teams’ Championship, it was between Mercedes EQ and their customer team Rokit Venturi Racing. Who would come out on top?

1 – Vandoorne Wins The Title

Stoffel Vandoorne managed a fine race to finish second and win his first title since GP2 (now Formula 2). Mitch Evans won Round 15 the day before to take the fight down to the last race but the Mercedes man was not to be denied.

Last year Vandoorne was the unluckiest man on the grid but this year the luck was on his side. Coupled with metronomic consistency and his rivals falling around him he finally took the championship.

Vandoorne might have only won one race this season (though Monaco isn’t a bad one to win!) but he only missed out on points in one race, Mexico where he was taken out. The consistent point scoring and multiple podiums throughout the season mean in the end it was a comfortable win.

Vandoorne is a very likable driver on the grid, and few will begrudge him this title. His FanBoost streak at every race shows how much the fans like him as well. Next year Vandoorne is moving onto the new DS Penske team and has signed off in style!

2 – Mercedes Double-Double

Mercedes announced they would be leaving the sport at the end of this season despite being the reigning champions at the time of the announcement. They will now be leaving the championship as the double-double world champions.

 

Vandoorne’s second-place finish was enough to secure the Teams’ Championship ahead of Rokit Venturi.

As Formula E only became a World Championship last season they are the only team who can say they are double world champions. DS Techeetah’s three titles in a row came before it was officially recognized by the FIA as a world championship.

With McLaren taking over the Mercedes team for Season 9 and the team moving to Nissan powertrains it is a very different prospect for them to defend their titles. However, the core of the team, apart from the drivers, will remain and they will hope to match the three in a row by DS Techeetah.

3 – Seoul Success

South Korea is not known for its motorsport heritage. The less said about the four F1 Grand Prix’s from 2010-2013 the better. It was a bit of a risk for Formula E to decide to race here and for it also to be the season finale doubleheader.

All in all, the race weekend was a success. The weather added an element of excitement to the first race. The result of which kept the excitement for the second and final round of the season.

The track itself was harder to overtake on than expected but the racing was still exciting to watch. Next season London will be hosting the finale, but Seoul will return to the schedule. The Seoul E-Prix should continue to grow the sport’s presence in South Korea.

4 – End Of An Era

The Seoul E-Prix brought to an end Season 8 of Formula E. It also marks the final time that the Gen2 car will be raced.

When first revealed for Season 5 there was a lot of negative press about the design and the look of the car. Since then, it has developed its own place in motorsport history and definitely goes down as one of the most innovative and exciting designs.

The Gen2 car was in a way its own worse enemy. Being of a closed-wheel design and generally being more robust than most racing cars it was able to take a knock. This encouraged drivers to adopt a ‘bumper car’ approach rather than driving with finesse. A lot of races were decided with late lunges and crashes that wouldn’t have occurred in other series.

While these races sometimes led to great spectacles for fans. I will admit I enjoyed some of the robust, crazy races. It did little to improve the perception of Formula E as nothing more than a sideshow series.

As the Gen2 era continued, improved racing rules and format tweaks allowed for better racing throughout the grid. Cumulating in the fantastic Season 8 we have just witnessed. There have still been a few incidents that wouldn’t occur in other racing series, but as a whole Season 8 has really improved the reputation of Formula E as a proper racing series.

5 – New Era Incoming

With the end of the Gen2 era we enter the Gen3 era.

The cars again have a radical design and again it is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, the cars are going back to an open when design and will be lighter, faster, and more powerful. Keep an eye out for potential future pitstops as well!

It is not just the cars that will be changing, a lot of teams and drivers are changing too.

Mercedes will become McLaren. Rokit Venturi changing into Maserati. The ABT Racing team is back. DS is partnering with Penske leaving Techeetah’s future uncertain. A lot of the customer teams are also moving to other powertrain providers. Partly chasing performance and in part due to Mercedes, Audi, and BMW all finally pulling out or providing this service. Andretti will be taking on Porsche powertrains for next year. McLaren by Nissan and Envision by Jaguar.

With the season finished we are truly entering driver silly season with so far only a few drivers having been confirmed. The rest remains rumor at the moment.

Confirmed is an unchanged line-up at Jaguar, though Sam Bird has a lot to prove next year. Lucas Di Grassi will be joining Mahindra to replace Sims. Sebastian Buemi will be leaving Nissan, who he’s raced with since Season 1, to join Envision.

Other expected moves are the Vandoorne to DS Penske switch. Da Costa to take the seat at Porsche to be vacated by Lotterer who is expected to be announced at Andretti. De Vries is likely to move to Maserati since a change to F1 is looking less and less likely.

ABT, McLaren, and Techeetah are still the big unknowns. The first two because they are going to be new teams and need to decide on their drivers. Techeetah because we don’t know if they will even be racing in Season 9.

We will keep you updated with the big news during the end of season break and will be back for Season 9 in January 2023!

Read Next – Formula E: 5 Takeaways from the Seoul E-Prix (Round 15)

Featured Image Credit: Sam Bloxham