HANKOOK DEBRIEF: Five things we learned in Portland

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HANKOOK DEBRIEF: Five things we learned in Portland

Championship Journalist Katy Fairman picks her biggest talking points from a weekend of racing in the United States.


Once again, the United States of America provided us with enough action to fill a Hollywood blockbuster. From a double win for Antonio Felix da Costa and TAG Heuer Porsche, to the championship battle being blown open for the London finale with a shocking mistake from Nick Cassidy (Jaguar TCS Racing), it was a wild weekend in Portland. 

Three in a row for DAC

Antonio Felix da Costa has now managed something only ever seen twice in Formula E before, winning three consecutive races. In fact, the Portuguese driver was the last person to achieve this on his way to the Drivers’ Championship title in Season 6. Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing), has also done this, but it’s a very rare occasion in the 10 years of the all-electric championship. 


The additional 50 points from Portland has put Da Costa right into championship contention as we approach the final two races of the year in London. However, there is very much a feeling of ‘what if?’ in the paddock. Da Costa has now won four of the last five races in an unbelievable run of form, but would be second in the standings had his Misano victory not been disqualified. 

It was found that after the Italian race the throttle damper spring on da Costa’s car was not found in conformity with one of three optional declared items. The decision was made to disqualify him and the team from the results of the race, and despite a protest from Porsche, the punishment was upheld. 

It makes things extra spicy as we go into London, with both Jaguar and Porsche drivers now in contention for the Season 10 crown. 

Cassidy’s pointless weekend 

Heading into Portland, all eyes were on what Nick Cassidy could do. He had a huge lead on 167 points compared to his rivals, and after such a stunning performance here last year to go from 10th to the win, he was a big favourite for top results. 


Saturday qualifying was a struggle, missing out on the Duels, however he bounced back during the race to get up at the front and lead. Teammate Mitch Evans was behind him, and despite a five-second time penalty for Evans, Jaguar gave the instructions that they could both race one another. They remained in first and second until the last corners of the penultimate lap, when Cassidy had a championship-defining moment. 

The Kiwi made a rare mistake, missing the apex on the corner and found himself in the grass runoff. Trying his best to recover the unforced error, he could only watch as the rest of the grid passed him by and he was forced to finish in 19th. Throwing away the win was a disaster, but he remained somewhat optimistic, hoping to be the ‘king of the comeback’ the following day. 

cassidy spin s10 r13

Yet, that didn’t happen. For Round 14, Cassidy fell down the pack after starting in sixth, before 

Getting caught in contact as the pack squeezed through Turn 1 which forced him into the pits for repairs. He was helped out by a Safety Car on Lap 19, but ultimately had to once again settle for no points. 

The pressure will be on in London, and despite having the peace of mind that he’s still got the championship lead, it was a huge moment that we will undoubtedly revisit for years to come. 

Mortara’s Mahindra magic 

It was a generally positive weekend for the Mahindra Racing gang, as they recorded their best result of Season 10 in Portland. Edoardo Mortara narrowly missed out on a podium on Saturday’s race, finishing in fourth for the team’s best result since Mexico City last year. It’s a hugely promising sign for the team, who have had a tough few months and lacked big results, but they’re clearly on the up. 

In disappointing scenes, we were also robbed of Mortara dying his hair bright red after making a bet with his team earlier in the weekend! When on the Friday track walk of the Portland International Raceway, the Swiss-Italian joked that if he got on the podium he would match his hair colour to the bright red ABB branding that decorated the grass between Turns 4 and 5. 


Nyck de Vries also managed to progress through to the Duels on Sunday, his second appearance of the year, but both drivers would retire when it came to the race after various damage to their cars. 

‘Robin returns’ to the podium… twice 

Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns has had quite the roller coaster year. His season started off strongly with a second place in Diriyah, but had a slump of six races where he didn’t score a single championship point. Despite racing for the reigning Teams’ Champions, the big results weren’t coming his way, until he delivered a masterclass this weekend. 

Frijns managed two second place finishes in Portland, after starting third and fourth on the grid across the two days. Although he seemed slightly disappointed at missing out on the win for Round 13, he was in better spirits come Sunday which happened to be his 100th race in Formula E. 


It’s also come at a great time as the driver market talk heats up, with Robin explaining that he was still keen to stay in the all-electric championship for the GEN2 Evo era that starts from Season 11. 

Great showing from rookie Collet

Before we even got cars on track, a big bombshell piece of news dropped. Nissan’s Oliver Rowland was to miss the Portland E-Prix weekend after becoming unwell. It would likely have big repercussions for his championship chances, but the Yorkshireman wasn’t even able to travel to the race weekend even if he wanted to. 

Nissan were quick to draft in their Reserve and Simulator driver, Caio Collet. The young Brazilian has had an impressive junior career despite being just 22-years-old, and put on a brilliant performance throughout the weekend. His results were even more impressive when you learn that he didn’t have time to practice on the simulator for Portland due to a clash of commitments.


Although he wasn’t able to pick up any points on debut, he beat his more experienced teammate, Sacha Fenestraz, on several occasions over the three days of track time. He was quicker at points in practices, qualifying and even finished ahead of Fenestraz on Sunday. 

It’s certainly been a positive opportunity for Collet, with teams up and down the grid always on the hunt for promising new talent for full-time race seats. Plus, with Fenestraz having a tricky season compared to Rowland with his six podiums and a win, it could also be that Nissan might consider promoting Collet in the near future.