Super-JEV triumphant at the Colosseum 

The two-times Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne brought the first win of the season home at a highly-contended Rome E-Prix. 

Photo credits: Movilidad Eléctrica

By Daphne Seberich 

JEV is back! The two-times French Formula E champion with DS-Techeetah was back on the podium after two sub-par races held in Diryah in February. 

The third round of the 2021 ABB FIA Formula E championship, held in Rome, Italy, was the first race after a six-week break from the sport. A new layout of the EUR-Circuit was the scenery of the European event. 

Jaguar drivers Sam Bird and Mitch Evans drove brilliantly in the second half of the race, finishing off the podium positions of the first Rome E-Prix of the weekend. 

Photo credits: Motor.es Motorsport.com & Diariomotor

After the qualifying session, Stoffel Vandoorne secured the Superpole position and the three extra points awarded towards the drivers’ championship standings. 

Due to the less-than-ideal weather conditions, the race direction decided to kick off the race behind the safety car. As soon as the green flag was waved, which signaled the beginning of the competition, the battle for the leadership of the race began in a fiery way. 

André Lotterer followed the superpolesitter Vandoorne closely. As soon as he saw an opportunity against the Silver Arrows driver, he dived into the apex, pushing the Belgian off-track. That caused a detrimental turn of events for the two top drivers, causing a collision and following an investigation of the race direction. German driver Lotterer was awarded a five-second penalty and a two-point deduction from his super license after the deliberation of the FIA. 

Video rights: ABB FIA Formula E

Another driver who had to face the decisions of the FIA was Oliver Rowland. He was investigated for using more than the allowed 200kwh of power during the first minutes of the race. The FIA awarded a drive-through penalty to the British Nissan driver. Audi-Schäffler driver Lucas Di Grassi was served on a silver plate the lead of the race. 

Jean-Eric Vergne, who was debuting the new DS-Techeetah powertrain, seemed to have incredible pace behind the Brazilian leader of the race. The battle to the top got fiery at every turn and straight between the two. 

After his collision with Lotterer, Vandoorne had to completely start his race from zero. Although he lost many positions, the Belgian kept his head down and raced to the max. He managed to recover to the ninth position at the half-race mark. He was also awarded the Fanboost, which he then could deploy in strategic moments of the race. 

Photo credits: LAT Images

The leader of the driver’s standing Nyck De Vries had the potential to make it to the podium position yet again, following the three top drivers closely from behind in fourth. 

The real elephant in the room, although, was the obligation of use of the Attack Mode. The drivers can deploy this mode only by driving on a dedicated part of the track, which is not on the ideal racing line. Leader Di Grassi followed the smart strategy of keeping all the pack closely together so that his competitors following behind would lose as many positions as possible when deciding to use the Attack Mode. 

Jean-Eric Vergne was the one who has suffered the most from this strategy, losing out on multiple positions from his original second. He then managed to recover all the way to the top, but Di Grassi and his brilliant strategy allowed him to dictate the course of the race. 

Photo credits: Diariomotor

The battle to the top was all between the DS-Techeetah driver Vergne and Audi-Schäffler racer Di Grassi. Back-to-back attack modes were deployed to combat fiercely with Nick De Vries in the mix. Meanwhile, Silver Arrow challenger Stoffel Vandoorne made it all the way to fifth place to reiterate a brilliant comeback performance from the disastrous way his race started. 

With eight minutes left on the clock and one extra lap remaining, Jaguar racer Bird managed to overtake and dethrone the championship standings leader De Vries. Both drivers of the British team seemed to be driving at a different pace from the race leaders. Evans doubled down on the Dutchman bringing him all the way back down to fifth. 

The battle between Di Grassi and Vergne was still highly the center point of the race. The Brazilian managed to recover the lead of the race after his second Attack Mode, but suddenly his challenger incurred a loss of power. Stoffel Vandoorne tried to avoid the slowing-down car but carambulared on the barriers, ending his winning chances and race prematurely.

Other Mercedes driver De Vries was involved in the incredibly dangerous crash as well and was forced to retire his car. Under Toto Wolff’s eyes, who came to watch the race as team owner, the Silver Arrows collected zero points towards the championships. 

Video rights: ABB FIA Formula E

The thrilling race until that point had to, unfortunately, end under a regime of safety car, pronouncing Jean-Eric Vergne the winner of the first Rome E-Prix ahead of the two Jaguar drivers Sam Bird and Mitch Evans in second and third place. 

One more race will take place in the Italian capital on Sunday. Who will come out on top?

Abu Dhabi and the Silly Season – a 2020 Formula 1 recap

Max Verstappen wins under the flashing lights of the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to conclude the 2020 Formula 1 season. The last race of the year brought many goodbyes, but the silly season is not over.

Photo credits: XPB/Press Association Images

By Daphne Seberich

It is sorrowful to see a Formula 1 season come to an end, but this one hasn’t been a common one by any means. After the whole world shut down in March, Formula 1 and Liberty Media had to take action and stop the racing for what would feel like endless time. Chase Carey and the FIA went through thick and thin to be able to organize a race calendar with enough races to call this season a championship

On the 5th of July, the Formula 1 world picked up their drills and tires to begin what would be a 17-race championship in 2020 – impressive I’d say, regarding the fact that we are still midst a pandemic. 

Mercedes showed right from the start that their W11 would be hard – if not impossible – to beat. Only three times this season, a non-Mercedes-powered car managed to win a Grand Prix – the RB16 and the Alpha Tauri, driven by the one and only Mad Max and by blessed first-time race winner Pierre Gasly. 

Photo credits: Verstappen.com

The whole race weekend, Red Bull demonstrated to have superior pace on the Yas Marina Circuit, a track that in recent years has only been won by Mercedes. Max Verstappen didn’t disappoint and went on to win the last race of the year, finishing third in the drivers’ championship.

Being the last race of the season as well, it is a point in time where some paths meet or separate. From Monday on, everything changes. Throw the old out, bring in the new. For some, it’s only a matter of changing team. For others, it’s a permanent goodbye from Formula 1. In the case of Sainz, Ricciardo, Vettel and Fernando Alonso, they will be joining their respective new home in the pinnacle of motorsport. 

The nr. 55 driver will leave the team with whom he shared his first podium, as well as legendary teammate Lando Norris at McLaren. 

Photo credits: Fox Sports & Autoweek

Stepping into his footsteps will be Daniel Ricciardo, which can be considered extremely lucky to be part of the British team right at the time they will switch to the Mercedes power-unit, the most powerful on the grid. 

Having been kicked-out of Ferrari even before the season had begun, Sebastian Vettel had to take a crucial decision: whether to continue racing or not. He was looking for a team with potential, someone with whom he could win races. Which better team than Racing Point, future Aston Martin Racing, to move on to.

Photo credits: Il Faro Online

Their 2020 car has been in the spotlight for its controversy. Many saw the resemblance to the 2019 Mercedes W10 car, which explained their sudden boost in performance from one year to the other. Whether it has been replicated or not still remains uncertain. 

With Sebastian Vettel signing for Racing Point, someone had to leave the team. Unfortunately, it was the case of Sakhir GP-winner Sergio Perez, who heard through the walls of his hotel room in Monza that he was going to be laid off by team owner Lawrence Stroll. 

That proves that the F1 world can be cruel sometimes. Even though Checo Perez close the 2020 drivers’ championship in fourth place, his career-best result, he now doesn’t have a seat for next season

Photo credits: Getty Images

His hopes for a contract now lay in Red Bull’s hands, which still haven’t come to a conclusion over who will be driving next to Max Verstappen in the RB17. Alex Albon’s fluctuating performance has brought up whether he’s the right one to fulfill the second driver role the Austrian team needs. The chances, although, are very slim for Checo. Never did Red Bull look for and sign a driver outside of their talent program. 

Goodbyes were said at Haas. Magnussen and Grosjean will leave the team after  respectively being four and five years at the American racing company. They will hand their seats over to two young drivers, Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin, the last one of the two being part of a controversial sexual assault case, which Haas said would be dealt with internally. 

And finally, the last big question mark is: Will Lewis Hamilton remain in Formula 1? There still hasn’t been reached an agreement between Mercedes and the 7-time world champion. His future at Mercedes is linked to Toto Wolff’s. Their fate will be decided  sooner or later with the heads of the German manufacturer. The possibility of not seeing LH44 in his Silver Arrows seat next season, although, is very unlikely.

Photo credits: Pio Deportes

In 97 days, Formula 1 will return in Melbourne, Australia. Until then, the silly season will keep us entertained, before lights-out will make our hearts race again and skip a beat for the pinnacle of motorsport in March.