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Winners and Losers from the Portland ePrix double-header

Written by Vyas Ponnuri and Jake O’Callaghan

Formula E headed stateside for its annual American race weekend, and it was the Portland International Raceway hosting a double-header in season ten. As the championship race heats up once again, DIVEBOMB unpicks five winners and losers from the weekend’s outing at Portland.

Winner - Antonio Felix Da Costa

It is hard to pick someone more deserving of being classified as a winner than Antonio Felix Da Costa. He swept both races in Portland, taking the top spot twice in convincing fashion. Da Costa and his Porsche team proved they had a fast and efficient car, both in qualifying and the race. 

He reached the knockout stages in both qualifying sessions and even achieved a front-row starting spot with a qualifying final appearance where he narrowly missed out on pole to Jean-Eric Vergne by about half a tenth of a second.

In the races Da Costa, as many did, floated up and down the order. In these peloton-style races, energy saving is paramount. That means that it is almost never advantageous to be the leader until close to the end. Da Costa played this game perfectly, hanging around in the slipstream to save energy, his car giving him a great ability to save with supreme efficiency. 

He would then pounce towards the end of the race, using that energy advantage to increase the gap between himself and the field, and in both instances he was practically unchallenged in the closing laps. 

Antonio Felix Da Costa now has a streak of three wins in a row, and four wins in five. He currently sits fourth in the championship, 33 points off championship leader Nick Cassidy. It is a fair distance to close, but anything can happen in the final two races in London, and no driver goes into that weekend with more momentum than Da Costa.

Loser - Nick Cassidy

At the other end of this broad spectrum at Portland was championship leader Nick Cassidy. The New Zealander failed to score at Portland, allowing the chasing pack to eat into his championship lead. 

Qualifying down the order for both races, Cassidy had work to do if he wanted to limit the damage to his rivals, and keep his chances of winning a maiden Formula E championship alive, heading into the finale at London at the end of July. However, his weekend unravelled just as the prospects were starting to brighten for the Jaguar racer. 

Having mastered peloton races this year, Cassidy was on course to win once again at Portland, moving steadily into the race lead from as low as 12th at one point. A win would’ve seen him take a commanding position in the championship. 

It all came apart for Jaguar on the penultimate lap, as Cassidy just moved off the racing line into turn 10, and veered onto the grass as he attempted to stay on track. A race victory had just been lost, and the points went to Da Costa, as Evans dropped from P1 to P8 after a time penalty was applied for his collision with Jake Hughes earlier. 

Portland wouldn’t be a happy hunting ground for Cassidy in 2024, as he was forced to pit on lap one the following day for a front wing change, after a collision with Nissan’s Caio Collet and Hughes. 

He wouldn’t score for the second race running, and Da Costa sweeping the weekend means the latter sits only 33 points off the Kiwi heading into the final race weekend of 2024, while teammate Evans and Porsche’s Wehrlein sit only 12 points adrift. 

Winner - Robin Frijns

Robin Frijns put in one of the strongest overall showings of his career in the Portland weekend, which marked the 100th race of his Formula E career. During the first race, Frijns put in a competent and calculated drive, putting himself in position to finish on the final step of the podium behind leaders Cassidy and Da Costa who were battling ahead. 

Race leader Nick Cassidy then made a devastating mistake coming to the final lap, losing control at turn 10, his car shooting across the grass and dropping the New Zealander all the way to the back of the grid. This mistake promoted Frijns up to second overall, which he then sealed at the chequered flag.

The second race was even more eventful for the Envision Racing driver. He led the field to green after a late safety car, but Da Costa soon took the lead from the Envision Racer as he had more energy available, Frijns was then passed by Mitch Evans for second. 

Soon though, the Dutchman was able to repass Evans by utilising his better energy situation, and then set his sights on leader Da Costa. Frijns got within touching distance on the final lap, but Da Costa remained unchallenged at the end and Frijns had to settle for second.

Two second place finishes and the accompanying 36 points for a team sitting in the lower-mid table of the standings is exceptionally valuable, and Frijns should be very proud of such strong and consistent results.

Losers - Lucas Di Grassi

ABT Cupra emerged from the Portland weekend with their best points haul since their return to Formula E in 2023, with two top 10 finishes courtesy of Nico Mueller. His fifth and sixth place finishes in the two races netted his team 18 lucrative points, putting the team ninth in the standings and establishing a firm buffer between them and the lower places of the championship.

Mueller’s teammate did not have the same success, however. Lucas Di Grassi arrived in Portland with a cloud above his head, multiple grid penalties awaited him for forcing drivers off track in the previous round in Shanghai. Despite this, with the type of racing seen at Portland, grid position matters next to none when it comes to the final finishing order. 

In the first race, he put in a quiet drive and narrowly missed out on points, finishing 11th. The second race was not so quiet, however. Di Grassi crossed the line in 12th place, but a five second penalty for forcing a driver off track (the same offence he committed in Shanghai) dropped the Brazilian to a lowly 17th place.

The contrast between Di Grassi’s struggles and teammate Mueller’s success was palpable and this disparity in performance (especially when Di Grassi is the most experienced driver in the series) is simply too great. 

Winner - Mitch Evans

Mitch Evans had a rollercoaster of a weekend. In the first race, Evans competed at the front throughout. Unfortunately, contact with Hughes at turn nine which ended the McLaren driver’s race was judged to be the fault of Evans. 

The stewards awarded him a five-second time penalty, which in a series and a style of race where the pack is so close is effectively a death sentence. Evans actually managed to cross the line in first place, but the penalty would drop him down to eighth.

The second race was much cleaner for the Jaguar driver, though some front wing damage hampered his chances of competing for the win. He still fought near the front, and eventually ossified a strong third place finish.

Mitch Evans can be judged as a winner in the same way Pascal Wehrlein can, as while their individual performances were not the most spectacular in the field, solid points finishes while championship leader Nick Cassidy floundered means that they are now brought within touching distance of the Jaguar driver in the championship, both sitting just 12 points adrift with two races left to run.

Losers - Nissan

This was expected to be a tough weekend for Nissan, with their star driver Oliver Rowland ruled out of the weekend even before it began, the racer from Barnsley ruled out of the weekend’s events on medical grounds. 

While Rowland’s absence would cripple his championship bid, he would be a major miss for the event. A driver who has excelled in such energy-intensive, peloton-style races would be big boots to fill for anyone — let alone a driver taking part in his maiden Formula E weekend, reserve driver Caio Collet. 

It would be another difficult outing for Sacha Fenestraz too, who appears to be fighting for his Formula E future at this moment — although Nissan look keen to give him another season at the wheel. 

Running in the top ten, the French-Argentine racer ran deep into the turns one-two chicane, dropping to the rear of the field in race one, conceding valuable points for the team. 

The team would fail to score even in the second race at Portland, with Collet finishing 16th and Fenestraz 18th, the latter running in the lower reaches of the points for most of the race, before dropping back at the end of the race. 

The Japanese team’s failure to score meant they lost third in the constructors’ standings to DS Penske and fourth to Andretti, meaning they will enter the London E Prix weekend on the back foot, chasing down the two ahead instead of being in the ascendancy.  

Winner - Pascal Wehrlein

When Pascal Wehrlein has a strong weekend, he is often unstoppable. His strengths can be evidenced with his season-opening Mexico E Prix drive, when he took pole and cantered to victory, untroubled. 

Despite finding himself on the back foot in race one, a determined showing by the German ensured he stayed in the championship race, driving a large portion of the second race without a front wing, his Porsche sticking to the road and pointing in the right direction due to sheer will and determination. 

Such a determined showing earned him fourth on the road, aiding his and Porsche’s championship progress as Da Costa took victory once again. 12 points puts Wehrlein level with second-placed Evans in the standings, while Porsche close up to 34 points behind Jaguar in the team’s standings. 

Heading into London, both championships seem to be evenly poised, and one big swing could mean the championship is decided for either team. With Da Costa flying, and Wehrlein finding form at Portland, it will leave Cassidy and Evans under even more pressure to score to clinch both championships. 

Losers - NEOM McLaren

The Portland ePrix weekend was a frankly embarrassing one for NEOM McLaren. They qualified well, with Jake Hughes starting third in the first race. His teammate Sam Bird would start third in the second race, with Hughes fifth. However, as soon as the lights went out in both races, all chances of success seemed to rapidly disappear.

Hughes started race one strongly, fighting for and taking the lead on the first lap. He would jostle for the top positions with drivers such as Mitch Evans. 

However, Hughes made contact with Mitch Evans at turn nine on lap five, seemingly giving Hughes a puncture which sent him sliding through the grass. He continued on but he tumbled all the way down from third to last place after an emergency pit stop. He ultimately crossed the line in 21st and last of the finishers.

The second race was no more successful than the first for Jake Hughes. Though he competed near the front in the opening stages as he did the day before, contact with Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz on lap 12 gave Hughes damage that ended his race prematurely. He would be classified dead last with a DNF.

Hughes’ teammate Sam Bird had a clean and competent first race of the weekend, he started low in the field, a pitiful 19th. Despite this, he quickly worked his way up the field and was fighting within the top five by the midway point of the race. His ultimate finishing position of seventh rewarded his team with a valuable six points.

Unfortunately, race two was not as fortunate for Bird. After a much more successful qualifying session, he would start the race in third. He was in the mix until ahead of him, Pascal Wehrein and Edoardo Mortara had a coming together. 

This contact resulted in severe front wing damage to Wehrlein, where the entire wing was hanging on by a thread. He did not pit to remove it and did not receive a black and orange flag which would have mandated him to pit for repairs. 

Instead, he continued to drive until his front wing dislodged itself going into turn 10, the wing then hit Bird’s car at high speed, causing him to careen through the grass uncontrollably and eventually retire from the race. 

In the end, six points from a possible 94 is an embarrassing showing for a race-winning team like NEOM McLaren, and even though some of their strife was brought through no fault of their own, they can only be described as losers for this weekend.

Winners - Mahindra Racing

In the context of season ten, this was a massive weekend for Mahindra Racing, with both Edoardo Mortara and Nyck de Vries running high all weekend, despite the Swiss driver not finishing race two after being tagged by Da Costa. 

Having made it into the duels for the first race of the weekend, Mortara would spend most of the race in the top ten, ultimately taking advantage of Cassidy’s late-race spin and Evans’ penalty to finish fourth, taking the Indian manufacturer’s best result of the season by some distance. 

Nyck de Vries qualified dead last for the race, but made his way up to 12th by the flag, highlighting the progress he was beginning to make on his return to the electric racing series. 

The Dutchman would continue to make big strides, making it into the duels for the second race of the weekend, as he put his Mahindra in the running for some big points in the race. 

Although this wouldn’t materialise as de Vries would drop back, before pitting as a result of the first-corner clash on lap 14, alongside the likes of Cassidy, Collet, and Dennis. 

Conversely, Mortara would be on the move after qualifying 12th, running up in fourth until Da Costa made contact with the Mahindra racer at the chicane of turns 10 and 11. The incident induced a puncture, while Mortara was forced to limp back to the pits, pulling out with three tours of the Portland track remaining. 

Despite the sour ending to their stateside showing, Mahindra ensured they would leave the United States off the bottom of the ladder for the first time in 2024, leaping above ERT Racing to tenth in the standings, only two points ahead of the Chinese team. 

Losers - ERT Formula E Team

While Mahindra and ABT Cupra gained plenty of points, ERT Formula E team slipped back in the race to avoid the wooden spoon. Neither Dan Ticktum nor Sergio Sette Camara proved to be enough of a challenge to secure points on Saturday and Sunday.

The brightest spot for Ticktum was making it to the duels for round 13 on Saturday, qualifying a stellar sixth for the race. 

However, the ERT powertrain wouldn’t prove as efficient compared to their counterparts, as Ticktum slid back to finish 17th by the chequered flag, as Sette Camara improved to 14th. 

It would be a similar story for the following day’s outing too, as both drivers were largely anonymous during the race, qualifying 15th and 16th, both drivers only finishing one spot above their grid slots. 

ERT will have their task cut out if they want to match their ninth position finish from last year, having to outscore two resurgent outfits along the way, whilst bringing home points for the first time since the Misano E Prix in April. 


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