The ABB FIA Formula E Championship returned to Berlin for a ninth-consecutive season, with the fast and flowing Tempelhof Airport circuit, a firm perennial favourite for the all-electric single-seater series.
Starting off the weekend on the front-foot was 2025-16 Champion Sébastien Buemi – the Swiss driver securing pole for the first of two races in the German capital this weekend. The Envision Racing driver was joined on the front row by Jaguar TCS Racing Star Sam Bird following an enticing duel in qualifying.
As the lights went green, what followed was to be a pulsating race to the flag with the battles ebbing and flowing throughout the 43-lap race in front of a sell-out crowd.
The drama began on the opening lap, as Bird and Buemi had a to focus immediately on a hard-charging reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne (DS Penske) coming through the middle of them. With their mirrors full, nobody thought to watch-out for Nio 333 Racing pilot Dan Ticktum who performed a first corner masterclass, to slingshot his way round the outside of the three drivers in front, to lead the race into the second corner. An upturn in pace for the Nio 333 Racing team this season saw the British driver punching above his weight, but following the scramble at the front in the opening few laps – the British driver struggled with managing his energy levels, allowing a ten-car train to back-up behind – all able to clinically master their power output just that little bit better over the race leader.
The pack was one of the tightest of the season with the majority of the top-ten taking claim to the front spot at one point or another, as the lead changed 23-times by eight drivers – a Formula E record.
Following a turn-around race in Brazil last time out, Mitch Evans was back in the championship hunt, but had a mountain to climb in Berlin – starting from ninth on the grid. The Jaguar driver kept his head down and picked his passes as well as avoiding drama and collisions between his rivals – which brought out two Safety Car periods in the race. The first following a clumsy coming together on lap 12 between Sérgio Sette Câmara (Nio 333 Racing) and Rene Rast (Neom McLaren Formula E Team), before another regroup followed eight laps later – this time an incident between former race leader Dan Ticktum and Stoffel Vandoorne who in turn collected Jake Hughes (Neom McLaren Formula E Team) and Norman Nato (Nissan Formula E Team).
With the debris cleared, back at the front, New Zealander Evans carefully used his energy and Attack Modes – saving them for the second half of the race. With just over 15 laps on the board, the Jaguar man began to get into his stride – making use of his extra performance. From third, Evans was able to dispatch his teammate Bird before a few corners later, a heroic lunge saw the Kiwi take the lead from Buemi. Evans didn’t look back and charged his way to victory sealing back-to-back Formula E wins to continue his championship momentum.
Not to be outdone by his Jaguar stablemate – British driver Sam Bird was getting frustrated behind Buemi – who was trying to conserve energy to get his Envison machine to the line. Ducking and diving, Bird tried every move in the book, and on the final lap he sensed his opportunity, making a huge lunge to take a second place – just getting the Jaguar stopped on the apex of the corner – forcing himself into second. All the squabbling for the rostrum saw Maserati MSG Racing competitor Maximilian Günther ease his way onto Buemi’s tail – fancying his first points and podium of the year. Banging wheels throughout the final few corners Günther managed to secure a better exit to pip Buemi in the race to the line, taking Maserati’s first podium in Formula E.
Nick Cassidy kept his nose clean to follow his Envision teammate home in fifth, while Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein rounded out the top-six in exuberant fashion, in front of Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Penske). The German on home soil had a disappointing qualifying – putting his Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team car in fifteenth. A calculated drive was needed and Wehrlein wrung the neck out the car to jump ten places – snatching two positions as he crossed the line at the chequered flag.
One of the those drivers losing out in the last lap battle was Andre Lotterer (Avalanche Andretti) who eventually finished eighth – but managed to top the time sheets – recording the fastest lap around Tempelhof as a small consolation.
The championship continues tomorrow, (23 April) with the second leg of the eagerly anticipated double-header ready and waiting for ABB FIA Formula E World Championship drivers.
Mitch Evans, Jaguar TCS Racing
“The last race was special having us both on the podium and also with Nick, all Jaguar powertrains on the podium. At this one, it’s extra special because it’s a 1-2 for the team and a really hard race to manage. It got a bit chaotic out there. I wasn’t expecting a victory in this place. This place has haunted me for many years. So super happy to get a second win, but here it was unexpected. It’s full credit to everyone. Sam drove really well. He’s been quick all day. I was surprised to get in the front bunch so early. There was a lot of games being played out there and it was hard to manage but we got it done.”
Sam Bird, Jaguar TCS Racing
“Firstly, wow what a crowd. Thank you everyone for turning out to watch Formula E. It’s great to see so many people here and enjoying the race in the sunshine so thank you so much everybody. What a race – really good fun. It was difficult to manage the race actually. The energy consumption is different when you lead compared to when you’re behind. You don’t want to lead for too long. Seb, Mitch, loads of people drove a great race, but to see myself and Mitch come out on top is amazing.”