Six different winners. Six different manufacturers. Six different races. It’s the angle that the marketing team at Formula E have used to promote season five of the all-electric championship so far, and rightfully so. It is a scenario most modern motorsport series could only dream of.
Such variety, unpredictability and uncertainty has kept both fans and those within Formula E on their toes, with drivers even stating themselves that they aren’t sure as to why this year has produced some of the closest racing the series has ever seen. Could it be that Formula E boasts one of the greatest grids of drivers seen in motorsport, or the fact that we have recently upgraded to the new second generation of cars that are faster and all the teams are just pushing to the absolute maximum?
Jean-Eric Vergne, Formula E’s latest winner in Sanya, simply claimed that he didn’t know why this season was so close to call. Asked whether this was the most competitive season the championship had ever had, he told katyfairman.com “definitely, there is no other team that is better than the other.”
As for other winners from the season, Antonio Felix da Costa, who took the first win of season five, laughed when I asked what the secret to such an unpredictable championship was, “I wish I knew”.
“I think the regulations make it that, after five years of experience for the manufacturers now everyone is very close. All the powertrains are very close, the cars are basically the same for everyone mechanically and the drivers are all very good. I think it is a bit of a coincidence that we have had six out of six [different winners]. There are more and more manufactuers in Formula E and they all have so much knowledge on what needs to be done and it is exciting to see all of their powertrains are almost equally as powerfull and efficient as us.”
Unofficially, Sam Bird is the only driver this year to have won two races in Formula E. Once in Santiago in the third round and then two rounds later in Hong Kong. However, in a race incident that saw Bird punt off race leader Andre Lotterer in the penultimate lap of the race, inheriting the win in the process, he was handed a time penalty and as a result had the win stripped from him.
Having won the inaugural Rome ePrix last year, does Bird think he can not only be the first driver with two official championship wins this season, but also take wins back-to-back in Rome? “It could happen, but there are plenty of other people that could do the same,” he said in Rome on Friday.
“Mistakes, difficulties and the qualifying groups factor,” Bird told katyfairman.com when quizzed if he knew quite why Formula E has welcomed so many winners of the past five months since the season began in Saudia. “If you are in group one [qualifying] it makes it more difficult, typically winners have come from different groups rather than group one. JEV won from group three, I won from group two – I also won from group one but that was taken away from me.
“[Formula E] gets more competitive every year. I think all the manufacturers are pushing so hard which is why we are all so similar. The competition gets more and more fierce every year.”
To find out if Formula E can crown yet another new winner this season, tune into the Rome ePrix Saturday 13th April.