Jean-Eric Vergne

Epic ABB Formula E season comes down to small margins in the Big Apple

After ten gripping rounds of electric racing around some of the most iconic settings in the world, the ABB Formula E season will be decided around the streets of Brooklyn in the season-ending double-header.

Acronis partner team DS TECHEETAH is in pole position to bag the team title that eluded them last year, whilst driver Jean-Eric Vergne could be the first driver to successfully defend his title and become the series’ first multiple champion.

Frenchman Vergne holds a commanding 32-point lead over Audi driver Lucas di Grassi going into the final two rounds, but he is not the only driver to worry about, as just 49 points separates the top six drivers in this most competitive of series.

It’s a factor of which Vergne is well aware, and he is well guarded against taking anything for granted, as previous seasons have proven.

“The season has flown by and we’re already back in NYC to finish another season,” said Vergne in his team’s race preview. “It’s been a great year for the whole team with the backing of a manufacturer on board and we’ve taken another step forward. On my side, there’s obviously the potential of another championship and the opportunity for the team to clinch the title we so nearly got last year.

“I wouldn’t say that we do anything differently for a season finale, we do our normal preparations and treat it like any other round because in the end of the day, that is what it is, and the points matter just the same.”

DS TECHEETAH teammate Andre Lotterer has given Vergne a great run for his money this season and lies 44 points behind his friend and rival. It could have been so much closer had his fourth place in Bern not been demoted to 14 after he received a 22-second time penalty by the FIA – motorsport’s governing body – for ignoring the pit exit light.

“I’m really looking forward to New York and to have two good races,” said Lotterer. “After two disappointing ones in Berlin and Bern, I’m ready to turn that around in the last to rounds of the season. The championship title is a little further away than I would have liked to, but it’s still up for grabs and until it’s mathematically impossible, I’ll be giving it all I got to clinch it and to finish the season on a high.”

Andre Lotterer on the grid with his race engineer

The DS TECHEETAH team is not the only Acronis partner team with big ambitions going into the final round of the season. The Venturi Formula E team, buoyed by some encouraging results, still has a good chance of shooting up the team standings with a good result in New York City.

“The season is by no means over yet, we still have plenty of work to do and I want us to keep our focus on the challenge ahead,” commented Susie Wolff, VENTURI Formula E Team Principal. “We need to improve on our performance from the past two races. Our main goal in New York is very clear – more points and a better championship standing finish.”

Edoardo Mortara, who won dramatically in Hong Kong, was another unfortunate driver to be on the receiving end of a penalty in Berne. But the Swiss-Italian remains quietly confident of a strong result in which to end the season.

“We need to avoid technical problems and errors in New York, not least because of my five-place grid drop for Saturday’s race (following the unintentional contact with Alexander SIMS during the Swiss E-Prix), I’m going to have some catching up to do so I need to be as faultless as possible,” said Mortara. “All being well, I think we’re capable of doing great things in Red Hook and I’m looking forward to getting back out on track.”

Teammate Felipe Massa has been an obvious fan favourite during his first season learning the ropes of electric racing. And, as is the case in all forms of motorsport, Massa knows that qualifying will be key to him getting on the podium once again.

“I can’t wait to compete in these final two races,” added Massa. “Early in the weekend, we’ll need to really get to know the track so that we quickly reach the point where we can perform at our best. Then, as always in Formula E, we’ll need to pay particular attention to the qualifying sessions and find the right rhythm during the race to bring our season to a fantastic close.”

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.