The season finale of ABB FIA Formula E Championship was run on the streets of New York, for the second day in a row for the electric series.
Nothing was decided in the championship yet, but Jean-Eric Vergne had a little match point in the 22-point advantage to Lucas Di Grassi on second place. Mitch Evans was third and Sebastien Buemi fourth.
None of them were in the first row, however, it was actually Alexander Sims who had taken his first Pole Position, in front of Robin Frijns, yesterday’s winner Sebastien Buemi, Sam Bird, Stoffel Vandoorne and Daniel Abt.
A driver who had no more chance to win was Alex Lynn. The unlucky Englishman retired in the race yesterday, and the mechanics spotted a problem in the car’s engine. They had to change it and it cost them a 20-grid penalty. Since he qualified last in the field, they chose to change it to a drive-through penalty.
Tom Dillmann got a three-grid penalty for blocking Gary Paffett in qualifying, and thus Dillmann got sent back to P20.
Jean-Eric Vergne would start the race from P12 – right behind Lucas Di Grassi. Mitch Evans started the race from eighth place.
The stewards had decided that it should be possible to use Attack Mode three times in the season finale, giving the race more excitement. Normally it could only be used two times.
Sims pulled away in front, but Buemi came up to second place followed by Frijns.
Jose Maria Lopez got turned around in the middle of the field, which caused a queue and Andre Lotterer among others was caught in the chaos.
Frijns, Vandoorne, Paffett, Wehrlein and Massa was the first drivers to take Attack Mode, with Buemi, Bird, Roland, Mortara and D’Ambrosio also did it one lap later.
Shortly afterwards the Safety Car was deployed due to Lopez’s car standing still in the middle of the track. Andre Lotterer had to pit with a broken car. Afterwards Lotterer was deemed responsible for the contact with Lopez – not that it meant anything since both drivers retired anyway.
After five minutes of clean up, the race got restarted and straight away Sims built a gap to his followers.
All the drivers through the field then got busy using Attack Mode to defend their positions.
Robin Frijns got past Sebastien Buemi by the help of Attack Mode, as the Dutchman did a wild outbraking in Turn 1.
Pascal Wehrlein also used Attack Mode to drive past Oliver Turvey, also in an outbraking in Turn 1. Sam Bird braked himself past Stoffel Vandoorne in the hairpin and was up to fourth place.
Mitch Evans was right behind Stoffel Vandoorne, but he couldn’t find a way past.
Antonio Felix da Costa overtook Edoardo Mortara in the hairpin, and later Wehrlein and D’Ambrosio did too.
Lucas Di Grassi, Daniel Abt, Stoffel Vandoorne, Sebastien Buemi and Antonio Felix da Costa were the five drivers who got Fan Boost in the final race.
Halfway into the race, Frijns braked himself past Sims, in a manoeuvre very similar to the overtaking on Buemi, but with a bit more brushing between the two cars.
Edoardo Mortara had to pit with twenty minutes left, due to technical problems with the car.
Antonio Felix da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne swapped positions a couple of times, but they were still around tenth place and thus a limited amount of points. It was Vergne and the Techeetah team’s luck that Buemi didn’t lead the race, and Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler drivers weren’t more ahead in the field.
Di Grassi worked himself up past Rowland and was up to P7, while Alex Lynn was up in P16 after his drive-through penalty as well as from starting last.
Buemi attempted to overtake Sims but he made a small mistake and instead he was under pressure by Bird.
Maximilian Günther outbraked himself and had to use the run-off area. It took him a while before he was back to the track again, and he was down in last position.
Felipe Massa was totally frustrated behind Pascal Wehrlein, and he did a very late dive on the German, causing a contact between the two. It was worst for Massa himself, who lost a position to Lynn.
Mitch Evans and Lucas Di Grassi had a collision on the last lap – a situation the stewards had to look into, and they chose to give Evans a 10-second time penalty. But it didn’t matter because Evans was already last anyway.
Robin Frijns took his second victory in Formula E, aheada of Alexander Sims, Sebastien Buemi, Sam Bird, Daniel Abt, Oliver Rowland, Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne.
Jean-Eric Vergne wins the title for the second time in a row, in front of Sebastien Buemi, Lucas Di Grassi, Robin Frijns and Mitch Evans. Frijns sneaked past Evans with a single point in the championship.
DS Techeetah won the teams’ championship, ahead of Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler and Envision Virgin Racing, which by the way also drives with Audi drive line. Nissan e.dams went down to fourth place, beaten by Virgin with just one point.
It was the ending to a thrilling season in Formula E. There were excitement in the championship, and nothing was decided until the cars crossed the finish line in the very last race of the season.
But there is a also a tendency of more and more contact between the cars. It can be because the cars are so alike, despite the different engine manufacturors, and the narrow tracks where it’s hard to overtake. So, it’s something the series should take a look at, in order to deliver a better, close racing but without too much contact that will damage the cars.
ABB FIA Formula E Championship 2019/20 will start on 22 and 23 November with a double-round in Ad Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.