SPOILER WARNING: Results are contained in this blog
I can’t help feeling flat and disappointed in the third race of Formula E’s sixth season in Santiago. It was a scrappy race with 24 drivers on the grid and seven drivers not finishing.
New Zealander Mitch Evans in pole position held a confident lead right through to the 25th minute. But on advice from his team concerned about the car's temperature and energy remaining, he was encouraged to slow a bit. In addition, an unusual strategy, using both his 25 kW power-ups in the first 15 minutes, was something he would later regret.
In second place on the grid, youngest driver Max Guenther driving for BMWi Andretti, had slipped back in the pack, losing his second place to Pascal Wehrlein (Mahindra) on the first turn and then again dropping back a place after exercising his first Attack mode at 31 minutes. But using his Attack Mode wisely he quickly regained third place and later his second position, keeping the Jaguar within his sights. In the last seconds of his second Attack Mode he was able to overtake Evans on the outside approach to Turn 9 taking the lead. With Evans driving conservatively, Guenther increased his lead.
Veteran Formula E driver, Felix Da Costa from Bazil, starting the race at the back of the grid was in the front pack at the half way mark. Team mate reigning champion Jean-Eric Vergne also made up eight places to be in third after passing Wehrlein with 15 minutes left, despite his car bearing a heavily damaged front left bodywork which appeared to be scraping his tyre. JEV appeared to be trying to knock away the damaged section onto the track. At twelve minutes Da Costa had caught his team mate JEV, who controversially was holding Da Costa up. Eventually the damaged DS Techeetah car allowed Da Costa to pass, after which JEV fell out of the race, scoring no points.
In attack mode, and with a Fanboost* in his toolbox, Da Costa passed Evans easily on the long Turn 8 moving into second position. Then with 3 minutes remaining, both the lead cars came into Turn 10 together, Da Costa’s aggressive attack forcing the BMW driver wide, passing on the inside and into first.
But the race was not over, and Guenther kept his head and the pressure on the DS Techeetah car. Some fantastic driving allowed him to regain his lead on Turn 9 in the last minute to take the podium for BMW.
A bit of shuffling behind the front runners meant Evans nearly lost his third position, but as the camera veered away from the pack, we didn’t see how that went down. Nevertheless, Evans crossed the line in third place.
This put Guenther with no points, up into 4th place on the championship table. Evans is now in 8th position, while Da Costa is in 7th. Race favourite Van Doorne is still in first place in the championship standings followed by Sims and Bird.
The other Kiwi driver, champion Brendon Hartley, driving for all-American team Geox Dragon had a mediocre race pulling out before the end.
It was also a disappointing race for Sebastian Buemi, Nissan e.dams, who despite having more wins than any other driver, started in 6th place and crossed the line in 13th place scoring no points.
* Fanboost definition: five drivers receive a FANBOOST during the second half of the race. The drivers are voted for by the fans and the top five are awarded a significant burst of power, which they can deploy in a five-second window of their choice. The other four drivers to receive Fanboost in this race were not in contention for the lead.
FIA Formula E: Sustainability News
FORMULA E ONLY MOTORING RACE TO MAINTAIN ISO 20121 CERTIFICATION FOR SUSTAINABLE EVENTS
With new ideas and innovations to help educate and inspire our entire ecosystem to recycle, and actively reducing the amount of waste produced on site, Formula E has once again met the strict criteria needed in order to maintain the highest level of certification for sustainable events.
As well as putting on sustainable events, the core purpose and wider mission of Formula E is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and in turn help tackle air pollution in some of the world’s most overcrowded and densely populated cities.
Air pollution presents the single largest environmental risk to human health today and kills more people each year than smoking cigarettes according to the latest data from the World Health Organisation – 8.8 million related deaths, compared to seven million linked to tobacco.
To speed-up the switch to electric and enable more people to embrace clean energy, Formula E has built a sustainability programme based on three pillars; delivering sustainable events and E-Prix, making a meaningful positive impact in each host city, and using a global platform to promote electric cars and the part they’ll play in addressing air pollution.
Formula E has teamed-up with industry experts at Umicore (one of only a few companies worldwide to offer a complete recycling journey for lithium-ion batteries) to recover and repurpose the cells used in the first-generation cars, with extended end-of-life options being evaluated for the batteries currently raced with.
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship has retained its position as the only racing series to receive third-party ISO 20121 certification, continuing to set the international standard for sustainable practice in events.
[Rachelle Tilsley - Better NZ Trust - 19 Jan 2020]