BOILING POINT IN BERLIN: FORMULA E’S FIRST WORLD CHAMPION TO BE CROWNED IN GERMAN CAPITAL | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

BOILING POINT IN BERLIN: FORMULA E’S FIRST WORLD CHAMPION TO BE CROWNED IN GERMAN CAPITAL

12.08.21

Yo-yoing title fight reaches its climax this weekend, as historic Berlin Tempelhof Airport stages eagerly-anticipated double-header season finale.

 

After 13 races across seven cities, ten different winners, 19 podium-finishers and drama by the bucketload, it all boils down to this – two high-speed showdowns in Berlin on two different tracks for the honour of going down in the history books as the first ABB FIA Formula E World Champion.

Tense Formula E title fights are nothing new, of course, but there is added prestige this season since the all-electric single-seater series was officially granted FIA World Championship status. Given what is at stake, it is entirely appropriate that the battle for glory should go right the way down to the wire, and with 60 points still available in Germany this weekend (14/15 August) and less than 30 blanketing the top 12 drivers in the classification, picking a favourite is all-but impossible. 

Indeed, the 2020/21 campaign to-date has been nothing if not wildly unpredictable. Early-season championship leader Nyck de Vries vaulted back to the top of the table with a brace of runner-up results in London last month, having looked to be almost out for the count going into the event after picking up just a single top ten finish from the previous six races. The Dutchman achieved his first Formula E podium in Berlin last year in a Mercedes-EQ one-two, and returns holding a slender six-point advantage in the chase for the coveted crown.

De Vries’ closest pursuer is countryman Robin Frijns. The Envision Virgin Racing ace might be the only driver inside the current top six not to have won yet in 2020/21, but his commendable consistency has kept him solidly in the hunt – and he reached the rostrum twice in Germany last summer.

Like de Vries, Sam Bird is one of just three competitors to have triumphed more than once this season, and the Jaguar Racing driver sits third overall, fired-up to fight back from a scoreless home event that cost him the top spot in the standings.

Tied on points with Bird is fellow Brit Jake Dennis, the leading rookie in the field with impressive victories to his credit in Valencia and London – and whilst the 26-year-old will be discovering the high-grip Tempelhof Airport Circuit for the first time, his BMW i Andretti Motorsport team won there last year with Maximilian Günther.

Just one point further back is the man who secured his first Formula E title in Berlin 12 months ago – DS TECHEETAH’s António Félix da Costa. The Portuguese star clinched the crown in the German capital courtesy of three podium finishes – including two wins – from the opening four races of the city’s six-race end-of-season run, and his sights are firmly fixed once more on the main prize.

Mahindra Racing’s Alex Lynn catapulted himself into the reckoning with a home turf triumph in London, while Nick Cassidy has gone from strength-to-strength in his maiden campaign of Formula E competition with Envision Virgin Racing and could be set to spring a late surprise.

Eighth-placed Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing) is the lap record-holder around the Tempelhof Airport Circuit’s standard layout – with both the traditional anti-clockwise track and reversed ‘NILREB’ circuit to be used this weekend – as Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) and Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s René Rast complete the top ten in the points table, the German a podium visitor in Berlin last season.

Pascal Wehrlein is just 24 points adrift of the summit of the standings in 11th for TAG Heuer Porsche, ahead of double Formula E champion Jean-Éric Vergne, three times a pole-sitter in the German capital and a winner there 12 months ago.

Amongst the other drivers still in mathematical contention for glory is Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne, who converted pole position into his breakthrough Formula E victory in Berlin in the 2019/20 season finale, having established the current lap record on the reverse layout just seven days earlier.

Like Vergne, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler’s Lucas Di Grassi is a former winner and multiple podium-finisher at Tempelhof, while Oliver Rowland broke his Formula E duck there last summer with a lights-to-flag success – Nissan e.dams’ third triumph in Berlin – and André Lotterer reached the rostrum on home soil for TAG Heuer Porsche.

Round 14 of the 2020/21 Formula E campaign around the anti-clockwise Tempelhof circuit will get underway at 14:04 CET on Saturday, 14 August, with Round 15 on the ‘NILREB’ layout following at 15:34 CET the next day. The weekend will also host the second event of 2021 for FIA Girls on Track – the FIA Women in Motorsport Commission’s pioneering grassroots programme for young women aged between eight and 18.