NICK CASSIDY SCORES MAXIMUM POINTS AFTER A WILD SUNDAY AFTERNOON IN BERLIN TO UNDERLINE HIS FORMULA E TITLE CHALLENGE
In a second manic race of the weekend in Berlin, Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy absorbed immense late-race pressure to win the team’s first race of the season, and seal his second career win.
— Envision Racing (@Envision_Racing) April 23, 2023
It seemed that in both of the weekend’s races nobody wanted to lead, preferring to play a waiting game. This wasn’t Cassidy’s plan for a Sunday afternoon drive. The Envision Racing driver combined canny energy saving with supreme speed and defensive driving, hitting the front for the final 10 laps, and withstanding a strong challenge from Jake Dennis to claim a well-deserved victory.
Crucially, the result propels Cassidy to within four points of the Drivers’ Championship summit, and helps consolidate Envision Racing’s second place in the Teams’ Championship standings.
For Cassidy’s team-mate Sébastien Buemi, there was little to celebrate on Sunday afternoon in the German capital. Despite a strong qualifying performance and a solid opening phase to the race, any hopes of big points came to an end with front wing damage.
The Swiss driver will look to get back on track next time out on the streets of Monaco.
💚💚💚 NICK CASSIDY!!! 💚💚💚
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) April 23, 2023
Drivers were faced with a wet track following a period of heavy rain in the German capital for the second qualifying session of the weekend. Under grey skies, for the second consecutive day, both Envision Racing pilots went out on the slippery concrete in the same qualifying group, and both Buemi and Cassidy made it through to the duels, with the former topping the time sheets.
In a repeat of qualifying for the opening race of the weekend, both drivers were paired together for the quarter-final duel. With the rain increasing, this time Cassidy beat his team-mate in another close battle to make it into the semi-finals.
Cassidy’s joy was short-lived. The New Zealander’s winning lap time was cancelled due to an overuse of power, handing a consecutive semi-final appearance to Buemi, who would face-off against the ABT of Robin Frijns. And it was Frijns who prevailed, meaning that Buemi would start Sunday’s race in third, with Cassidy starting eighth.
The rain which impacted qualifying for part two of the Berlin E-Prix had been replaced by a dry track, sunny skies and a light wind. When the lights went out to start round eight of the 2022–23 Formula E World Championship, Buemi held onto third position behind the two ABT cars as the field funnelled around the opening corners.
Buemi hit the lead as the ABT duo elected to take an early Attack Mode on lap four, followed by Jean-Éric Vergne. Buemi decided he didn’t want to lead so early on, and activated his first Attack Mode on lap five, dropping to fifth as team-mate Cassidy held ninth position in the opening laps.
By quarter distance, on lap 10, Buemi found himself in sixth, having taken a second Attack Mode with Cassidy just behind. This order didn’t last long as the Kiwi diver made his way around Buemi.
One lap later, Cassidy was up to fifth, followed by Buemi in sixth. The Envision Racing pair followed closely by the two Jaguar Racing machines. Cassidy soon escaped from both his team-mate’s attentions, moving up to third on lap 12.
By the next lap it was all change, with Cassidy and Buemi battling each other, with the latter moving into fourth, with Cassidy dropping to sixth. In what was proving to be a manic squabble amongst the top 10 cars, Buemi emerged at the head of the pack, pursued by championship leader Pascal Wehrlein.
In an E-Prix more closely resembling an IndyCar oval race with the sheer number of lead and position changes, it was Wehrlein to the front on lap 17, with the two Envision Racing cars, headed by Buemi, following in second and third place.
At the halfway point, Envision Racing were running line astern with Cassidy in sixth and Buemi in fifth, amid the chaotic position changes and jockeying for position throughout the top 10. That formation flying didn’t last as Buemi succumbed to front wing damage, forcing the Envision Racing driver to pit.
As Buemi exited, Cassidy pulled off a superb move at the Attack Mode hairpin to leap from fifth to third on lap 24. Third soon became second, and by the end of the lap, Cassidy was leading from Wehrlein.
With relative calm established for the first time all afternoon, Cassidy, with 17 overtakes in the bag, maintained the lead from Jake Dennis and Vergne, as the race approached the final 10 laps.
Entering the final five laps of the E-Prix, Cassidy came under increasing pressure from Dennis, as the top six closed up once more. Crucially, with three laps remaining, Dennis carried one per cent more energy than Cassidy. But could the British driver break the Envision Racing man’s resistance?
The answer was no, and Cassidy managed to hold on to score a stunning victory on the concrete in Berlin to truly establish himself as a championship contender, as the team look towards the glamour of Monte Carlo for the Monaco E-Prix, and another race win.
“I knew that I would be in the fight for the win, I’ve been in the fight for the last five races,” said Cassidy.
“We had a great opportunity in the first race as well, but I made a mistake, and today we really made it count. The team have given me an opportunity to win pretty much every weekend and as a driver that’s a dream.”
— Envision Racing (@Envision_Racing) April 23, 2023
Drivers’ standings (after Rd 8):
1. Pascal Wehrlein, 100pts
2. Nick Cassidy, 96pts
3. Jean-Éric Vergne, 81pts
4. Jake Dennis, 80pts
5. Mitch Evans, 76pts
8. Sébastien Buemi, 57pts
Teams’ standings (after Rd 8):
1. Porsche Formula E Team, 168pts
2. Envision Racing, 153pts
3. Jaguar Racing, 138pts
4. DS Penske, 107pts
5. Avalanche Andretti, 103pts