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Formula E cars on track at the 2023 London E-Prix

London E-Prix: Round 15 Race Results

A nightmare for Envision saw Nick Cassidy's championship hopes fall to pieces

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Jake Dennis becomes World Champion in a dramatic, incident-filled London E-Prix.

Jake Dennis, the first British Formula E World Champion. (Image credit: Andrew Ferraro via Formula E Media Bank)

The first race of the season finale doubleheader provided Jake Dennis with the opportunity to secure his first World Championship. But his rivals, Nick Cassidy and Mitch Evans, set out to try and stop that.

The starting grid

The top two title contenders lined up one behind the other at the front of the grid, championship leader Jake Dennis behind Nick Cassidy. Mitch Evans – who qualified on pole – started from sixth after taking a five-place grid penalty for the collision with Cassidy at the Rome E-Prix. Though not starting the race at the front, Evans still received three very valuable championship points as a reward for his efforts.

We go green in London…

Nick Cassidy got away well, with his teammate Sebastien Buemi immediately moving in alongside Dennis. Buemi squeezed Dennis down to third, making it an Envision 1-2 as the pack made its way outside. Dennis was quick onto the radio, stating that Buemi had made contact with him.

Heading into lap 2, Evans went wheel to wheel with Ticktum, but couldn’t quite get past. The Jaguar driver managed to make a move on Ticktum a couple of corners later, moving up into P5. A handful of drivers towards the back of the pack opted for their first attack mode period on lap 3.

Evans continued with his upwards trajectory, getting past Rene Rast to take P4. Meanwhile, Edoardo Mortara began to plummet down the standings following a collision with Stoffel Vandoorne, the DS Penske making contact with the rear of Mortara’s Maserati.

Double yellows

Double yellows waved at Turn 18, as a spin from Robin Frijns turned into a three-car incident. Caught up in the incident were Di Grassi and Vergne. Frijns picked up damage, having no choice but to head to the pits, eventually retiring. Vergne followed suit.

Further up on the grid, Jake Dennis attempted to take attack mode. Attempt, however, was the key word here. The Andretti driver failed to hit all three activation points, meaning he was still yet to take his first attack mode. Dennis had dropped position and reaped no reward for it.

Title contenders go wheel to wheel

Nick Cassidy took attack mode, dropping him into the warpath of Jake Dennis. The Andretti driver saw the opportunity and pounced, making a daring overtake on Cassidy to get ahead into P4. Capitalising off of this battle was Rene Rast, who now found himself in P2.

Leading the race with Jaguar’s Mitch Evans, with a three-tenths lead on Rast. Cassidy soon attempted a move on Dennis, the two going wheel to wheel. Nick Cassidy was eventually able to get back past Dennis, reclaiming P4 to settle in behind teammate Sebastien Buemi. As Cassidy then attempted to get past Buemi, it became worryingly tight between the two Envisions. Cassidy had to squeeze his way past his teammate, and though he got past, it wasn’t without consequence….

Disaster strikes for Cassidy

It soon became strikingly clear that Cassidy had taken damage. Cassidy had no choice but to take to the pits for a new front wing, his championship hopes laying in tatters. Adding insult to injury, Cassidy had picked up damage in the squeeze with his teammate. It was a self-inflicted injury from the Envision team.

There was jubilation in the Andretti garage, Cassidy’s misfortune spelling the perfect opportunity for Jake Dennis. Dennis, however, seemed less than pleased with Porsche driver Pascal Wehrlein, who sat ahead of him in P4.

A distressed radio call from Sebastien Buemi seemed to suggest that there was a lack of communication between the two sides of the Envision garage. It appeared that Buemi was unaware that he was expected to let his teammate pass. Oh dear.

It comes undone for Cassidy

The damage taken eventually proved terminal for Cassidy. The Envision driver retired to the pits, his race coming to a premature end. Dennis looked to be in strong contention of wrapping the championship up here and now.

Up at the front of the grid was Mitch Evans, Buemi still behind him in P2. Dennis was in P4, with both Porsches behind him. Dennis got on the team radio, asking for Porsche’s help — but with Porsche in the fight for the Teams’ Championship, they weren’t too forthcoming with any assistance.

Big incident for Fenestraz

Double yellows waved at Turn 16 as Nissan’s Sacha Fenestraz suffered a high speed collision. The Nissan driver went over the back of a NIO 333 car, colliding with the barriers. Fenestraz walked away from the incident unharmed. Formula E later clarified that the NIO involved was that of Sergio Sette Câmara.

This brought out the safety car, much to the frustration of Jake Dennis. The Andretti driver was running in P5 but needed to finish at least third to be able to wrap up the championship. The broadcast caught Michael Andretti making his way into the Porsche garage, presumably in an attempt to persuade the team into an on-track alliance. Sitting between Dennis and the championship were Porsche driver António Félix da Costa and McLaren’s Rene Rast.

Rast, however, had picked up damage to the front of his car after making contact with Pascal Wehrlein. The contact sent Wehrlein into the barriers, dropping the Porsche driver down the order. Wehrlein was able to get running again, albeit only in P13.

Red flags create a stir

With just five laps remaining, a red flag was called in order to repair the barriers after Fenestraz’s crash. Rast came to a stop just as the red flags waved, but was able to head back to the pits with the rest of the pack. This provided McLaren with the opportunity to repair Rast’s broken nose; it also created some confusion over which position Rast would restart the race from.

Rast had been running in P3, but it was announced that he would restart the race from the back of the grid. Incredibly disappointing for Rast, but absolutely ideal for Dennis. The championship leader now sat just one position back from that crucial third place finish. But with da Costa running in third, the question remained: would Porsche cooperate?

Racing gets back underway

A rolling restart on lap 32 meant that a four lap dash would determine the final result. Dennis had his sights set on the Porsche ahead of him as he immediately began to hunt down António Félix da Costa. Evans opted for his final attack mode, miraculously managing to keep the lead.

Buemi took attack mode too — but began to run worryingly slowly, slipping down to P3. Perfect news for Jake Dennis who was now up into third. Da Costa, who began the race in P17, was now in second place. Things were looking good.

Fancy some more drama?

Red flag!

The front runners get by just fine, but there was chaos from P4 down as contact between Buemi and Nato resulted in a pile up at Turn 19. Nato and Buemi came to a standstill; this left Sam Bird with nowhere to go, who collided with the rear of Nato. Vandoorne then collided with Bird, and the track became completely blocked.

Race director Scot Elkins called for a race restart, with just two laps remaining. Evans, Da Costa and Dennis remained in their pit box, as they had been able to complete the lap that had been affected by the Turn 19 melee. The cars from P4 downwards then completed that lap behind the safety car. Nato, Bird and Sette Câmara were all missing their front wing.

The safety car came back into the pits, allowing a rolling restart to get underway. Bring on the two lap sprint.

Final two laps

Dennis, running in P3, needed to do nothing more than hold position. If he could do so, he would be crowned World Champion. Dennis had 10% of his energy remaining, which was more than frontrunners Evans and Da Costa.

Da Costa began to close in on Mitch Evans, hunting down the race win. The Porsche driver was suddenly handed a three-minute penalty for a technical infraction, promoting Jake Dennis to second place.

And, with that, Jake Dennis became the 2023 Formula E World Champion.

Jaguar’s Mitch Evans came across the line in first, with Sebastien Buemi rounding out the podium in third. Da Costa’s penalty dropped him right to the very bottom of the standings in a devastating blow. Buemi’s third place finish was good news for Envision’s championship chances, helped by the fact that both Porsches finished outside of the points.

The final classification

Featured Image Credit: Sam Bagnall via Formula E Media Bank 

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