Jaguar get their break
It’s been no secret that the Jaguar TCS Racing have got a competitive package for GEN3. We’ve seen glimpses of it over the season so far, both with the factory Jaguars and their customer team Envision Racing, but it’s not yet translated into a victory or solid points haul from both drivers over one event.
Before Brazil, Jaguar’s Mitch Evans had a best finish of seventh in Diriyah and despite winning in São Paulo, still only sits ninth in the Drivers’ World Championship. His teammate, Sam Bird, achieved his second third place finish of Season 9 over the race weekend, but has had two DNFs and one DNS to his name in six rounds.
That winning feeling 🤩— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) March 25, 2023
Mitch Evans enjoying every second of his Julius Baer #SaoPauloEPrix win! pic.twitter.com/LjvY1tRRED
However, the team’s luck changed in Brazil. They not only had both of their own drivers stand on the podium, but also another Jaguar-powered car in Nick Cassidy’s Envision. The 1-2-3 result was also the first time in this new generation of Formula E that a single powertrain supplier had locked out all of the top three spots.
"It's a bit of a blur, so it's kind of hard to actually recall but it was a massive win and a massive strategic race today," says Evans.
"I wanted to be in the pack at the start and try and make my way and choose my moment to get to the front. Both Nick (Cassidy) and I had similar, very similar pace. So, it was just going to be about who had the right energy balance at the right time.
"It was stressful at the end. I think I timed it right but it could have been Nick’s day as well, he deserved to win. But I think just as a team with a Jaguar one-two-three and a Jaguar TCS Racing one-three, it was a really special day for the team.
"I needed this victory, to be honest – I needed a good result to kickstart my season. Things happen and we need to just keep pushing forward. There are some really fast cars out there, obviously. The DS’ and now we're starting to put the pressure on Porsche who have been strong from the start – it’s really wide open."
Envision could be one to watch
With his second place finish in São Paulo, Nick Cassidy moves up to third in the standings and puts himself into title contention. Envision is also now second in the Teams’ World Championship, it’s looking like the team could be a serious dark horse this season.
Both cars, Cassidy and Sebastien Buemi, have picked up 103 points over the six rounds so far, and had the chance for even more until Buemi’s penalty in Hyderabad that cost him a podium position and took him out of the points.
Avalanche Andretti have fallen to fifth after São Paulo, as a result of both drivers failing to score any points. Jake Dennis, who still clings on to second in the Drivers’ World Championship after a strong start to Season 9, was taken out the race in a shunt with the NIO 333 of Dan Ticktum. The Brit called Ticktum a ‘plonker’ for the shunt, which was his and Andretti’s first retirement of the year.
Porsche teammate battle heats up
The TAG Heuer Porsche pairing of Pascal Wehrlein and Antonio Felix da Costa is undoubtedly one of the strongest on the current grid. Season 6 champ da Costa made the move to the German manufacturer for this new generation of Formula E, but Wehrlein hasn’t made it easy for him to be team’s ‘top dog’.
Wehrlein still leads the championship, after achieving second place at the first race in Mexico and doing the double by winning both races in Diriyah. Since then, he’s finished fourth in Hyderabad and seventh in São Paulo - climbing from 18th to good points - but da Costa seems to be in the groove now and is catching him fast.
"We had a very good start and a very good first lap in particular – by Turn 3, I had made up a lot of positions," says Wehrlein. "I then started making progress slowly through the field. At one point in the race, I had contact with Dennis and that damaged my car quite a bit – I was missing a big part of the floor which changed the car’s balance quite a lot. More would have been possible without that.
"Nevertheless, I think from the team’s point of view we can be pleased with seventh – we just need to investigate why one lap pace was not so strong this weekend."
As well as winning the Cape Town E-Prix, in which Wehrlein retired due to crashing into the back of Buemi on the opening lap, da Costa also got a third place in Hyderabad and just missed out on a podium in São Paulo, finishing fourth.
Although there’s still a long way to go this season, with ten rounds left until the final race in London, we think this teammate battle is one to keep an eye on!
Overtakes, overtakes and more overtakes
Coming into the weekend, this brand new 2.933km circuit, with its three long straights and tight chicanes was always going to create great racing. However, during the 35 lap race, it delivered us an incredible 114 overtakes with many of those being for the lead!
With slipstreaming being the key word of the weekend, drivers didn’t want to keep the lead for long as it was more of an advantage to keep behind and manage their energy which made for some insane swapping of positions.
As well as fighting up the front, drivers like Wehrlein and Bird navigated their way through the pack having both served penalties for separate incidents and with the Porsche driver having a tough qualifying and starting 18th.
Even with two long Safety Car periods, there was action everywhere you looked in typical Formula E style.
There was also a record 11 lead changes, too.
Top Speeds in São Paulo
This new street circuit with those huge Sambadrome straights was always going to produce some quick speeds, especially with the incredible GEN3 machines! However, this weekend four cars were able to smash through the 260km/h barrier, including NIO’s Sergio Sette Camara who managed an incredible top speed of 264.1km/h - almost 10km/h up on the speeds we saw at Formula E's fastest ever race, in average speed terms, last time out in Cape Town.
Perhaps the support of the home crowd helped spur on the Brazilian star, with fellow countryman Mahindra Racing’s Lucas di Grassi also achieving a 260.4 km/h top speed.