The Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team successfully defended their title in the championship, ending their participation in a high note. However, the team will not be disbanded as it will be acquired by McLaren Racing for its entry into Formula E in the next season which will be the ninth in the series.
Stoffel Vandoorne, their driver, also ended his fourth season in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship as World Champion of the all-electric single seater series. Although taking runner-up in the first Seoul E-Prix in Korea, he had a 33-point lead over Jaguar TCR Racing’s Mitch Evans and enough to secure the Drivers title.
The final race
Unlike the downpour of the day before, a dry track greeted the drivers in Seoul for Round 16, the final one for Season 8. As the race got started, the frontrunners held their positions up to Turn 2 when things tightened up and Dan Ticktum (NIO 333) moved into sixth. Vandoorne picked his way through to hold fourth spot, with Evans gaining a place to go 12th after an important move on Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ).
On lap 3, Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) saw a chance to jump Antonio Felix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) for the lead with a switchback at Turn 22. The feint was bought by the Portuguese and the Venturi driver took the lead, with Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) following in second spot.
Ticktum had run with the leaders through the opening laps but was forced to pit with a technical problem at the end of Lap 3. A pity for the British driver who looked to be in with a chance of sealing NIO 333’s first points since Rome.
The first round of ATTACK MODE activations was kicked off by Pascal Wehrlein (Porsche), who had worked his way up five positions to 10th, before retiring at Turn 4. De Vries was fighting on Lap 7, too, with the Mercedes-EQ driver getting into Wehrlein – causing both race-ending damage; Venturi’s chances of overthrowing the German giants saw a significant boost.
With a third of the Formula E race gone and one of two mandatory 30-kW ATTACK MODE boosts down, Mortara headed Dennis and looked to be managing a cushion of just over a second. Both were 3 seconds up the road of Da Costa and Vandoorne, as Frijns, di Grassi, Askew, Vergne, Evans and Cassidy rounded out the top 10.
As it stood, Vandoorne had more than a hand on the Drivers’ World Championship trophy, with Evans needing to win. The Jaguar driver, meanwhile, was losing ground to the leader – some 10 seconds back.
There was big Teams’ World Championship drama on Lap 13 as di Grassi was forced into pitting to sort out a front-right puncture. That gave Mercedes-EQ a 16-point advantage – impossible to close without the Brazilian’s presence in the points.
With 22 minutes plus one lap to go, the Porsche Taycan Formula E Safety Car was deployed to recover Maximilian Guenther’s stricken Nissan e.dams. It seemed have something terminally broken on the front left corner. Was that to be a lifeline for Evans? The pack would be squeezed back up but Vandoorne, still fourth, held all the cards.
On the restart, leader Mortara and da Costa jumped for their second ATTACK MODE boost. At Turn 22, Dennis was on the defensive with da Costa hunting second with that extra 30 kW of power available. The Portuguese’ DS and Dennis’ Andretti came into contact and da Costa ended up nose-first in the wall and shuffled right to the back of the pack. The tense final laps saw Dennis penalised with 5 seconds added to his race time for that move – leaving him a net third at the final chequered flag of the Gen2 era and the completion of the 100th Formula E race.
Mortara had a good margin as he headed for the finish line, winning by almost 4 seconds from Vandoorne, with Dennis third, Frijns fourth, Askew fifth and Vergne rounding out the top six. Evans’ seventh was valiant but ultimately not enough.