Formula E September Update
07 September 2021
Following the arrival of the electric-powered Mercedes EQ Formula E car to the Museum, we have been following the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team and BMTV contributor Sam Bird of the Jaguar Racing Team as they compete in the 2021 Formula E world championship.
Berlin Templehof Airport was the scene for the final Formula E showdown. Two races over two days with a sing in the tail as the last race of the year would be run
on the reverse of the previous days session.
Round 14 saw Jaguar’s Sam Bird in 15th ahead of Mercedes EQ’s Nyck Devries 19th whilst Stoffel Vandoorne was only able to manage 22nd.
Bird’s title hopes were gone as he was out early on in the session. All the action was at the front whilst the Mercedes EQ team failed to finish in the points. However, Devries was able to hang onto the lead in the Driver’s Championship.
And so the drivers went into qualifying, the next day with the added challenge of having to race on the track in the reverse direction. Vandoorne was able to capitalise on the qualifying advantage of finishing low down the order in the previous race by gaining pole position. Devries added to the drama by only qualifying 13th. The E-Prix was red-flagged for almost 30 minutes after an accident at the start and then resumed behind the safety car.
Bird’s team-mate Mitch Evans car failed to move at the start and was hit from behind by Edwardo Mortara in a potentially horrific collision. Luckily nobody was hurt, but both drivers, title contenders, were now out.
As the race restarted BMW Andrettie’s Jake Dennis in his first season, and Nyck Devries were now in contention for the title. However, Dennis promptly crashed shortly after the restart. Devries got into fourth and only needed to maintain position, but he did not get the memo and was driving the wheels off the car gaining another place momentarily before losing positions down to seventh and eventually finished in eighth which was still enough to earn him the drivers Title.
Vandoorne led the race in the early stages but lost several positions as the pursuing bunch elected to use attack mode. In a thrilling final charge, he overtook several drivers with his second attack mode to finish the race on the podium in third. This result meant that the Mercedes EQ Team also gained the team Championship title.
Round 15 was a better race for Sam Bird who managed eighth but finished sixth in the championship.
After the race, Devries said “I’m lost for words. I mean, it’s been such a tough season with highs and lows, and in the end, it came down to the last race, and I am just so pleased that it was enough for me to win the title. I’m starting to get a little emotional now. I think we had a lot of fortune on our side today considering everything that happened in the race……. I’m very happy for the team that we not only won the drivers’ World Championship but also the teams’ title. The team has worked insanely hard this season, and this is the reward we deserve.”
Vandoorne said “That was an eventful race. I lacked a bit of pace after the start, and we weren’t as fast as we needed to be before everyone went for attack mode. That’s why I found myself in a difficult situation after the safety car deployment. I had a tough fight against some opponents out there, and I’m relieved that I still managed to finish on the podium.”
As if the drama of the last race was not enough; on 18 August Mercedes Benz announced that they will conclude their involvement in the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team at the end of the 2022 Season.
In a press release the company explained that as part of the new strategic direction, the brand has deliberately chosen to shift resources for this accelerated ramp-up of electrification, including the development of three electric-only architectures to be launched in 2025. Therefore, Mercedes will reallocate resources away from its ABB FIA Formula E World Championship programme and towards applying the lessons learned in competition to product development.
However, some may question the fact that this strategy means they have agreed to maintain their commitment to Formula 1, explaining that focus on F1 would offer a rich potential for technology transfer.