Written by Ashlie Church, Edited by Ishani Aziz
Formula E hit the Brooklyn Street Circuit in New York City for the 5th season running, for rounds 11 and 12. The weekend started well but soon turned completely ‘wet ‘n wild’ by the end of Saturday’s race, while Sunday saw penalties, a mixed up grid and a debut 2022 winner.
It was to be the first of two pole positions earnt by Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy, which kicked off the New York City ePrix on Saturday in what looked to be an exciting weekend, with Lucas di Grassi and Robin Frijns close behind for most of the race. Luckily (or unluckily) for the championship leader, Edoardo Mortara only achieved 9th during qualifying so there was some weight off of Cassidy’s shoulders.
He was running a solid race until around 10 minutes before the final lap of the race, when the heavens opened and it seemingly all came crashing down, and out. Running through a puddle, Cassidy spun off, closely followed by di Grassi and Stoffel Vandoorne in p2 and 4, all crashing heavily into the barriers.
This did mean that Frijns took over the lead as red flags came out for the stricken drivers. However, the race did not continue due to both the conditions and the time left of the race.
This meant that the positions on the lap prior to the red flag would stand, with Cassidy and the whole Envision garage learning of their victory together.
Sunday was really where the championship opened up. While qualifying gave Cassidy his second pole position, a 30-place grid penalty (due to his battery being replaced because of the previous day’s chaos) plummeted him down to last place, essentially ending his race prospects. Mortara also failed to put in a representative lap, leaving him at the back of his qualifying group and further back on the grid than the championship leader would want to be.
The race therefore began with Portuguese Antonio Felix Da Costa at the helm, retaining his position as the lights went out but with close fighting from Alexander Sims in P2. Fairly soon, the top five, consisting of Nick DeVries, Mitch Evans, Stoffel Vandoorne, Sims and Felix Da Costa, had broken away. Close fights came from Vandoorne and Sims, with Vandoorne eventually coming out victorious and finishing P2. With Evans having made a quick return from 7th he was soon tussling with De Vries, from whom a late defensive swerve caused Evans to spin almost into the barriers and demonstrate his phenomenal control and rejoin without crashing or losing grid position. He eventually fought his way back up to a podium position, but was unable to progress higher than 3rd this weekend.
Further down the field, the other Jaguar piloted by Sam Bird, the three time winner of the New York ePrix, had a great race placing himself firmly in 5th, but was too far away to challenge the leading pack of drivers. The Penske Dragons, even with impressive qualifying laps, failed to retain that pace when it really mattered and Antonio Giovanazzi finally retired for the third time in four races.
As a result the New Zealander, Evans, pushes himself further into championship contention, and Mortara is under pressure as Vandoorne overtakes him in the standings and the differences in points closes. The London ePrix looms large, as we’ll see the teams race around east London for another double header ahead of the season finale in Seoul.