Nick Cassidy (Envision Racing) fired to the top of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with a storming drive from ninth on the grid to win the race in an absorbing 2023 Monaco E-Prix.
Cassidy led home Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing), having fended off his countryman until a late-race Safety Car made the win certain.
The 150mph game of chess ebbed and flowed as leaders vied for control and to set the pace but Cassidy’s decisive early-race moves yielded the ultimate result. Once his engineer gave the green light for a six-lap sprint finish, Cassidy didn’t look back – despite the close attentions of Evans’ factory Jaguar.
Evans had himself clambered from sixth on the grid to second at the chequered flag and was within touching distance of the Envision right up to the Safety Car three laps from the race finish. That New Zealand one-two made it four wins in succession, a new Formula E record for a single nation.
Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti Formula E team) couldn’t quite live with the lead pair but he had torn through from 11th on the grid to make the final step on the podium.
Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan Formula E Team), who thought he had sealed the Julius Baer Pole Position only for a post-session penalty to hand that honour to Jake Hughes (NEOM McLaren Formula E Team), steered home to fourth, unable to compete with the lead trio’s benchmark combination of speed and efficiency. Hughes followed him across the line, with Dan Ticktum (NIO 333 Racing) hanging on for sixth position despite a couple of late-race scrapes and some damage to his car.
Long-time Drivers’ standings leader Pascal Wehrlein could only improve to 11th from starting 12th on the grid, which resulted in both the driver and his TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team losing their grip on their respective championships.
Fellow title contender Jean-Éric Vergne recovered to seventh from the very back of the grid after DS PENSKE’s tyre pressure infringements saw them disqualified from qualifying. The 15-position overtaking masterclass earned Vergne the inaugural ABB Driver of Progress race award, honouring intelligent, efficient driving resulting in the most places gained in a race.
Reigning world champion and DS PENSKE teammate Stoffel Vandoorne was also able to climb to the points with ninth place.
Cassidy’s 121 pts moves him ahead of Wehrlein on 100 pts in the Drivers’ table with Jake Dennis now third on 96 pts and Evans just behind on 94 pts. Vergne leaves Monaco fifth in the running.
Envision Racing now leap to the top of the Teams’ standings on 182 points, 14 points ahead of TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team on 168 points, while Jaguar TCS Racing sits third on 157 points.
Nick Cassidy, No. 37, Envision Racing, said:
“It’s insane, I’ve got nothing against Berlin – but this feels amazing! This is so, so special. I’m lost for words. It is going to take a bit to sink in, man we had such a tough day, I was 21st I think in both Free Practices which struck me a lot. I qualified 10th and I was really happy with that, so that was kind of how our day was going. Credit to our guys, both car crews and everyone in our garage helped out with the issues. I am so happy we got the reward after the work.
“There is a long way to go, this guy right here Mitch (Evans) he showed today how bloody strong he is. It is going to be a really cool fight, but for the moment let’s just enjoy the fact we won in Monaco.”
Mitch Evans, No. 9, Jaguar TCS Racing, said:
“Not the right position but I gave it my best today. Full credit to Nick and Envision, they did a great job. Nick passed me at the right time. I thought I had him but he made a good move on me and that was it. Another podium, we are on a good roll, so good points and that’s the main thing.
“(Would he have passed Cassidy without the Safety Car?) I’m not too sure, I kind of became locked out a bit after the Safety Car. There’s a few moments in the race I wish I could do again, and may have had a different outcome, but it is what it is. Full credit to Nick and his team, but also my team, we have been doing a really good job but we just missed out today.”
Jake Dennis, No. 27, Avalanche Andretti Formula E Team, said:
“Back on the podium, two races in a row again. I think I had to make it up to the boys after hitting the wall in my first lap. We had a car to start in the front two rows today. Mistake on my behalf, so I think I have some beer money for sure tonight to repay them! Super happy but a little disappointed in certain ways, we had the most efficient car but we didn’t quite optimise it with leading at the right point. It is a bit frustrating that you have 2% more than the cars in front but can’t do anything about it. Nevertheless really happy and we are back in the title hunt for sure – looking forward to celebrating with the boys tonight and enjoying it.”
Next stop in ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is a return to Indonesia for the first Jakarta E-Prix double-header with Round 10 on Saturday 3 June and Round 11 on Sunday 4 June.