Stoffel Vandoorne steered to silverware with a second-place finish in the Hana Bank Seoul E-Prix to seal the 2021/22 ABB FIA Formula E Drivers’ World Championship and secure the Teams’ World Championship for Mercedes-EQ.
On a momentous day for Formula E that saw Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) win the 100th E-Prix race in the world’s first electric motorsport World Championship, Vandoorne’s Season 8 title also marks the end of the Gen2 era in Formula E – the second iteration of electric race car in the series – with the Gen3 race car debuting next season as the fast lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car ever built.
Formula E’s first venture into the South Korean capital of Seoul saw Vandoorne navigate a Lap 1 melee and keep it clean throughout the rest of the race to bring the Silver Arrow 02 home in second place.
Only Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) had any chance of catching Vandoorne going into the race. But Vandoorne’s eighth podium of the season – more than any other driver – proved to be enough to see him take a maiden Drivers’ crown and hand Mercedes-EQ back-to-back Drivers’ and Teams’ titles on the German marque’s Formula E swansong.
Mortara controlled the race once he hit the front via a stunning dummy that saw him complete a successful switchback on Julius Bär Polesitter António Félix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH) on Lap 3. From there, he managed the gap and his usable energy perfectly to sign off his and Venturi’s campaign in style – the Monegasque outfit taking second in the Teams’ running ahead of DS TECHEETAH, and Mortara third in the Drivers’ Championship.
Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) drove to a strong third position, despite a tough-to-take five second penalty following a coming-together with da Costa.
Robin Frijns (Envision Racing), Oliver Askew (Avalanche Andretti), and Jean-Éric Vergne (DS TECHEETAH) rounded out the top six, with Evans coming home an eventual seventh – a strong drive with little else he could have done. Nobody won more than Evans’ four races this season, but it was Vandoorne’s consistency – just one non-score and the record eight podiums – that sealed the deal.
Season 8 was the biggest to date in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with 16 races on street circuits in 10 world cities: Diriyah, Mexico City, Rome, Monaco, Berlin, Jakarta, Marrakesh, New York City, London and Seoul – both Jakarta and Seoul were debuts for Formula E.
The dawn of the Gen3 era in Season 9 will see Formula E go bigger and further than ever before with a provisional calendar featuring 18 races in 13 cities. The season begins on 14 January in Mexico City and continues in Diriyah, Hyderabad, São Paulo, Berlin, Monaco, Seoul, Jakarta, Rome and London. Three E-Prix host cities will be announced later this year, while Hyderabad and São Paulo are both debut venues.
McLaren Racing will be entering Formula E for the first time, taking over the triumphant Mercedes-EQ team, while Maserati will be making a return to motorsport for the first time in decades. ABT will also be returning to the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
STOFFEL VANDOORNE, MERCEDES-EQ FORMULA E TEAM, #5 said: “World Champions; wow! It’s just the best feeling ever. Just look at the season we’ve had – the consistency and the car has been amazing, and the team has done an incredible job. I think every single one of us deserves it. What we’ve accomplished is something special. Mitch has pushed me all the way along – the same with Edo – they were there all the time. It was really about the consistency in the end, they all have more wins than me, but I have the most podiums I think. It was difficult to focus because the pace at the end was so high, I knew Jake had a five-second penalty, so I had to stay close enough to him to secure P2. It was an awesome day, a lot of concentration. I am drained after this year, it has been a lot of effort, the effort I have put in and the team has put in – it is incredible.”
EDOARDO MORTARA, ROKiT VENTURI RACING, #48 said: “Today was extremely positive, I still feel extremely frustrated because we didn’t manage to secure any points in the last two race weekends – I have so much frustration from that. But I am so thankful to the team for giving me such a strong car, we had a fantastic season and to finish like this is really what I needed and what we needed. We are normally better at racing than we are qualifiers, so I knew if I could manage to take the lead, we are normally pretty good at managing the races. From the front also helped us manage the temperatures, which were extremely hot. So yes, great day.”