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Jake Dennis celebrates winning the World Championship

Formula E: Jake Dennis on his journey to become World Champion

The newly-crowned World Champion reflected on the path he took to claim his first Formula E title

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Jake Dennis was crowned World Champion at the Formula E season finale in London: but how did he get to that point?

Jake Dennis, Avalanche Andretti Formula E, 2nd position, celebrates on the podium
Jake Dennis enjoyed a remarkably consistent season. (Image credit: Sam Bagnall via Formula E Media Bank)

Season 9 of the Formula E World Championship began in mid-January. As the teams took to the streets of Mexico City, Formula E embarked on the dawn of the era of the Gen3 car. 

From as far back as the very early stages of the season, Avalanche Andretti driver Jake Dennis had asserted himself as a force to be reckoned with. Qualifying second, Dennis went on to win the opening race, setting the fastest lap as he did so. 

It was this success in Mexico that gave Dennis and Andretti the inkling that they might be in with the chance of winning the championship, says Dennis. Speaking to members of the press, including FormulaNerds, Dennis said, “I think from Mexico you know, we definitely had a very efficient power train, something which was performing very well.” 

Initial uncertainty

But going into Mexico, the team hadn’t been certain as to where they might place in the first E-Prix of the season. Pre-season testing in Valencia hadn’t provided Andretti with any notions of a dominant season.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I expected to win the race in Mexico, and obviously win the title,” Dennis shared. “We left the test thinking we were one of the slowest powertrains. We were missing about one second per lap, compared to the Maserati at that stage in the season.” 

“It’s just a huge turnaround in terms of performance,” he continued. “You know, I think Valencia obviously didn’t play into our strengths as a power train, but nevertheless to come back and have a Porsche 1-2 in the first three races was seriously impressive, and something which I feel like it was deserved.”

Recovering from difficulty

From that first race sprouted an era of Porsche powertrain dominance, with Jake Dennis and Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein trading wins and podiums between them. But Round 4 in Hyderabad saw the beginning of a turbulent period for Dennis. A four-race stretch of zero-point finishes was a cause for concern; from the outside, it seemed as if the British driver’s hopes of winning the championship had begun to wane

Dennis, however, never felt that way. “I definitely never felt like the championship slipped away from me because we had such a big point advantage over anyone else at that stage in the season,” he said.

“Even with those non-point scores, I never felt like the championship went away.”

“But nevertheless it, mentally, it was still super challenging, you know, to try and reset after each race was difficult,” continued Dennis. “We scored no points from basically January until April. And no matter who you are, it’s mentally difficult to think that it’s all against you.”

“We managed to turn it around. We managed to reset it early in the European season,” said the Andretti driver. “It came back to us, and then we scored five podiums in a row.”

Jake Dennis, Avalanche Andretti Formula E, 2nd position, Podium
Jake Dennis beat Jean-Eric Vergne to the second step of the podium. (Image credit: Sam Bagnall via Formula E Media Bank)

The championship spark reignited in Berlin, opening the floodgates and ushering in a tide of strong results. A second place finish in the latter half of the Berlin doubleheader was followed immediately after by a P3 and three P2s. Among those podium finishes were a number of fastest laps and a couple of pole positions — all extra points that played a part in strengthening Dennis’ championship campaign.

How does a win in Mexico become a maiden title in London? 

Looking back at the season Jake Dennis has had, the answer seems to be consistency. Barring the four-race blip between Round 4 and Round 7, Dennis seldom strayed from the podium. 

Almost every time Dennis finished within the points, he was taking home a trophy too. In fact, there was only one occasion in which Dennis scored points without finishing on top of the podium. Even then, the Andretti driver finished P4, narrowly missing out on third to Maserati’s Max Günther. 

Jake Dennis himself considers that consistency to be what set him apart from the other drivers. “I think one of the biggest influences of the season was consistency,” said Dennis, reflecting on what he thought set him apart from the other championship challengers. He added:

“There were only three or four races where we didn’t make the podium.”

“So yeah, it was a seriously impressive run of performances from the team, to be able to deliver a good car for me,” he continued. “And obviously from my side, it was just not making any mistakes, and always delivering a good lap in qualifying and then obviously the race.”

Set apart from the competition

While the early season was dominated by both Andretti and Porsche,  the other teams that would go on to challenge for the title weren’t so fortunate. “I think just the consistency this year was really the biggest thing against the Jaguars,” said Dennis. “And obviously Pascal [Wehrlein].”

The Jaguar-powered teams – Envision Racing and Jaguar TCS Racing – both suffered a slow start to the season, putting them on the backfoot to Jake Dennis. Though Envision’s Nick Cassidy won more races than Dennis, with four to Dennis’ two, it was the Andretti driver that secured more podiums. It was this consistent scoring of high points that gave Jake Dennis the upper hand.

Wehrlein, meanwhile, enjoyed a flying start to the season, taking a podium and two wins in just the first three races. But Hyderabad marked a dip in performance, with the Porsche driver only going on to take one more win for the remainder of the season. Where Wehrlein scored points, they were often low points finishes, often by virtue of a poor qualifying pace for Porsche.

“We [Andretti] were performing at such a high level,” said Dennis. “I think that’s ultimately what won us the championship. We always had some great race wins, but other guys won more.” 

He continued, “Nevertheless, coming away with two race wins, two pole positions, and then 11 podiums, you’ve not had a bad season by any stretch.”

Featured Image Credit: LAT Images via Formula E Media Bank

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