Apr 17, 2019 - 4min read
In the first European Formula E race of the season, the romance of racing was rife! Rome played host to an accident-riddled afternoon as Mitch Evans became the seventh driver to win in seven races this season. Formula E continues to impress.
So, what happened?
A wet morning drizzle left the track slippery for the qualifying session, leading to a tense super pole. As the track dried and the drivers found grip, the latter runners gained an advantage leading to André Lotterer taking pole, followed by Mitch Evans and José María López.
As the lights went out, Lotterer held the lead as Stoffel Vandoorne flew into third place, overtaking Lopez almost before the start line! Locking up at the hairpin, Lopez then lost another seven places at the first turn and our own Alexander Sims made up four places from the back of the grid, having had an issue during qualifying that meant he didn’t set a lap time.
Then the chaos began! Just one lap in and Maximillian Gunther spun out, hitting the wall leaving debris all over the track before Sam Bird was then spun off the track wall. A minute later the entire grid found themselves at a complete standstill on the track! Overcorrecting after hitting the kerb, Lopez’s day worsened as he lost the vehicle into the corner bringing him to standstill in the wall. The closely following Gary Paffett then collided into the back of Lopez, followed by Jean-Éric Vergne into the back of Paffett completely blocking the track!
After a 45-minute delay to clear the track where all the teams brought their cars into the pits, we were underway again. A number of drivers dived into the attack mode but with minimal impact. Soon after both Venturi’s suffered mechanical problems, firstly Edoardo Mortara and then Felipe Massa, bringing both to a disappointing end. Sims also found himself being hit with a ten-second stop-and-go penalty for changing his powertrain ahead of the race.
With 20 minutes remaining, the battle up front began to heat up. Having built up a gap to third place, Evans dived into attack mode with the hope of bringing the fight to Lotterer. The leader held his position well until Evans chased him closely with a wide line into Turn 10 to build up speed in the run up to Turn 11. It was close, but Evans just squeezed around the outside to take first position – a bold pass!
A few minutes later, Lotterer also dived into attack mode followed by Evans again in the following laps. However, this relentless pace all race long comes at a cost. Both drivers ran their batteries to as low as 4% going into the final lap causing them both to limp around to the finish line with Evans crossing in first place, the first win for both the New Zealander and the Panasonic Jaguar Racing team!
A new winner from New Zealand
In its 31st race as a team, Panasonic Jaguar Racing has finally achieved a win! Not only is this a first for the team but also a first for the driver Mitch Evans. With the team looking weak after the departure of Nelson Piquet Jnr going into this race, this win will have provided a powerful motivator for the team going forward!
The streak continues, again!
We’ve now seen seven winners in seven different races from seven different teams, proving Formula E to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable forms of motorsport. The top nine drivers are separated by 13 points and top four teams by just 14 points. Anyone and everyone is in it for the win!
Alexander Sims can’t catch a break
Unsurprisingly, we’ve been watching Alexander Sims closely over the season and can’t help but feel he must be the unluckiest driver in the series! He’s had good pace but has struggled to get a clean race with unfortunate collisions and penalties costing him results. We’re confident he has the ability to gain a podium this season…bring on Paris!
From Alexander Sims himself:
“Rome was a tricky event. Practice went well and I was optimistic for a top-ten qualifying result, but we had an electrical issue going over the bump on the approach to Turn 9 so couldn’t set a time. We knew that starting from the back of the field wouldn’t produce great results, so we focused on fine-tuning my driving efficiency under race conditions. It’s very different from pushing for a starting position in qualifying, and I got 29 valuable race laps under my belt. Formula E is so unpredictable, and I feel that we made the most of the situation, learned a lot and I’m confident that we have good pace to move forward. I’ll be striving for a problem-free race in Paris.”
For more details on our partnership with Alexander Sims, click here.