Formula E is a truly world championship: in just 6 rounds, the event has been held at venues in 5 different regions of the world – Central America, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and this weekend, South America for the Sao Paulo e-Prix.
The Brazilian city hosted a round of the all-electric single-seater championship for the first time this year. Like the other venues, the event ran on a street circuit and this 2.96-km one was challenging with the high speeds possible. The drivers raced their Gen3 cars along roads with long straights normally reserved for carnival floats and revelry
Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) led home a first 1-2-3 for the Jaguar powertrain, with Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) and Sam Bird (Jaguar TCS Racing) crossing the line together. Any thoughts of different tuning could be dismissed as the trio crossed the line just half a second apart.
It was a flat out push to the finish at the rapid 11-turn circuit, with Evans managing to navigate his way through constant position changes up-and-down the pack to take the chequered flag first from third on the grid. The fight for the lead was impossible to keep track of come the start of Lap 14 – absolutely wild with three or four changes for the lead over a single lap and Cassidy coming out on top.
Meanwhile, Dennis and Wehrlein came together at Turn 3 after Ticktum had clouted the former. Dennis suffered most and was forced into retirement, with another spell under the Porsche Taycan Safety Car required. The restart came on Lap 19, with leader Cassidy and Vandoorne taking ATTACK MODE. Da Costa and Evans followed a lap later, with the top four shaking out in the same order of Cassidy from da Costa, Evans and Vandoorne – though the Jaguar made immediate moves for the lead.
The New Zealander took the initiative and the race lead from his compatriot Cassidy as the race headed into 4 TAG Heuer Added Laps (to make up for time lost to the Safety Car). Evan’s move on Lap 32 proved to be decisive, with neither Cassidy nor Evans’ teammate Bird able to undo the leader’s defensive driving – despite Bird having collected a couple of extra percentage points of useable energy during his climb from 10th on the grid at the start.
Cassidy had led the race more than once, but will be more than satisfied to score 3 podiums on the spin for the first time in his Formula E career. Polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne (DS PENSKE) had led the way early on, fending off Porsche’s Antonio Felix da Costa during the first round of ATTACK MODE activations until the race reached its half-way stage.
The Belgian would end up sixth after struggling for usable energy from his time out-front. Da Costa had slipped to fourth and briefly made designs on the podium but wound up settling for that berth just outside the podium positions. Jean-Eric Vergne headed his teammate home for an eventual fifth spot.
Standings leader Pascal Wehrlein had it all to do from 18th on the grid and sliced his way through the pack to seventh position at the chequered flag with Jake Hughes finishing eighth, just ahead of teammate Rast in ninth – Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing) rounding out the top 10.
Meanwhile, Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) suffered another non-finish after contact from Dan Ticktum’s NIO 333 saw his 99X Electric shoved into Wehrlein’s Porsche. All that meant Wehrlein keeps a hold of his Drivers’ World Championship lead on 86 points from Dennis’ 62 points, while Cassidy clambered into third just a point behind the Brit. TAG Heuer Porsche heads Envision Racing 144 points to 103 with Jaguar TCS Racing third on 83 points.