Jean-Eric Vergne became the first driver to win back-to-back ABB Formula-E Championships following the season finale in Brooklyn, New York. In a dramatic double-header to end the campaign, Sebastien Buemi and Robin Frijns shared the race wins, but no one could prevent Vergne from claiming a historic second title.
For a brief 48 hours Red Hook, Brooklyn resembled the principality of Monaco rather than the charming post-industrial burgeoning neighborhood it is becoming. The credit goes to the folks at FIA for bringing us Formula-E. 12 races, 12 cities, nine different winners from eight different teams and five continents. It’s fair to say, the 2018/19 ABB FIA Formula-E Championship has been the best yet. After a chaotic and unpredictable race on the streets of Brooklyn on Saturday dealt firm favorite Jean-Eric Vergne a devastating blow, once again it went down to the wire in the final race of the season.
Starting at the pole position on Saturday, Buemi held the lead despite challenges from Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s Alex Lynn in second. Behind Lynn, BMW i Andretti (yes, that Andretti!) Motorsport driver Alex Sims kept his distance, biding his time in third while the Buemi and Lynn battled for the top spot.
Further down the pack, defending champion Vergne had moved up to 14th, still four places outside the points garnering positions. With eight minutes left in the contest, Buemi led the way followed by Evans in second and Antonio Felix daCosta in third. In the final lap of the race, a devastating smash on Turn 2 between Vergne and Massa destroyed the Frenchman’s chances of clinching the championship title that today. Crossing the line in first, Buemi secured his first win of the season followed by Evans in second and daCosta in third. This unpredictability and parity among the teams is one reason why Formula-E is wildly attractive to motorsports fans.
Starting the race Sunday on Pole, BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s Alex Sims led the way followed by Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns and Nissan e.dams’ Sebastien Buemi. With 25 minutes remaining, title challengers diGrassi and Vergne had moved up to ninth and tenth positions respectively. Both in the points, diGrassi would need nothing short of a win to secure the title here in New York while Vergne was looking for just eight points.
Frijns challenged Sims for the lead, forcing the Brit wide on Turn 1 while relegating him to second. In a bid to better his position, diGrassi passed HWA Racelab’s Vandoorne on the inside of Turn 1 to take eighth before passing Nissan e.dams rookie Rowland to move up to seventh. Series leader Vergne held strong in 10th until he passed Vandoorne to move into ninth. By the last lap, Frijns held the lead from Sims and Buemi in third, while Vergne safely brought home the title win in seventh. Further down the order, while battling for second and third in the championship, diGrassi and Evans collided coming into Turn 11, taking both drivers out of the running with just meters to go. This mayhem cleared the path for Vergne.
After the race that crowned him champion, a spent Vergne was humbled: “I think me coming to Formula-E was the best thing that ever happened to me,” referring to that all-important decision he made back in 2014.
“I will definitely give it all next season, that’s for sure – I want more,” said the Frenchman with conviction. So do we!
See you next year Formula-E.