"Heartbreaking" - Evans & Cassidy analyze controversial Rome crash, Dennis new championship favorite
In the race for the 2023 Formula E title, Mitch Evans has suffered a serious setback. At the E-Prix in Rome, he drove into the car of his compatriot and brand colleague Nick Cassidy and retired. The Envision driver also failed to score any points, while Jake Dennis took the championship lead with a grand slam victory. Ahead of the London E-Prix, it appears like the title is now Dennis' to lose.
The title fight of the 2023 Formula E season took another turn at Sunday's race in Rome. After a good qualifying session by the best-placed drivers in the world championship, Jake Dennis (Andretti), Mitch Evans (Jaguar) and Nick Cassidy (Envision), the leading trio took the first three places in the starting phase of the race. Then happend what can be only be described as championship-deciding for Evans and Cassidy.
On lap 2, the top three headed toward turn 7, one of the best overtaking spots on the circuit. Evans outbraked himself, locking the rear wheels and losing control of the rear of his car. He slid sideways into the rear of compatriot and Jaguar marque colleague Cassidy, slid over his roll and halo hoops and came to a stop in the run-off zone.
Evans surprised by braking cars: "Feel like crap"
"Everything happened very quickly. We came into the braking zone at quite high speed, and then everyone braked a bit more than I expected," Evans explained dejectedly after the race. "I couldn't brake in time and then I went up in the air. In a split second, I was out of the race after making a small mistake - and hurting Nick and Envision in the process."
Evans feels "like crap," he adds - especially since he has been close friends with Cassidy for years. The two New Zealanders have known each other since their school days, and now live not far from each other in Monaco. "My championship isn't actually over as well, but I feel very sorry for Nick in particular. He's still in the fight, but it's a bit more difficult now."
Cassidy accepts Evans apology
Cassidy, who had earlier posted his best qualifying result of the season with second on the grid, faced the media after the race with similar disappointment but far more taciturn than Evans. "The race ended too early," he told e-Formula.news. "He's a great guy and a great driver. These things happen, but it's heartbreaking." Immediately after the race, Evans apologized to him and took the blame for the crash, he said.
OH NO!!!!! ?- ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) July 16, 2023
Mitch Evans goes into the back of Nick Cassidy and ends up ON TOP of the Envision Racing driver!
Both drivers escape unhurt - thank goodness for the halo!@Hankook_Sport #RomeEPrix pic.twitter.com/NnvJdmf1l4
The collision, however, did not result in Cassidy retiring from racing. The New Zealander raced with several pieces of debris around the roll bar and a damaged halo until the final lap of the E-Prix, when he tangled a second time with a rival, this time Andre Lotterer (Andretti). At the finish, Cassidy was classified 14th - his third no-score of the season. He lost the championship lead to the race winner, Lotterer's teammate Dennis of all people, who now leads by 24 points ahead of the London finale.
Dennis big favorite ahead of championship finale in London
"I don't give up, I never do," says Cassidy, well aware that he faces a major challenge on Dennis' prime track in England. "I lack the points of a race win, and there are still two races to go."
Dennis was confident in the post-race press conference, but also didn't get carried away with making any rash statements, saying, "(The title) is on! However, Jaguar will also be strong in London, which is why we will prepare well. The buffer of 24 points is good for me!"
Directly behind Dennis and Cassidy in the overall standings is Mitch Evans - himself 42 points off the championship lead. "I never give up hope, but it's going to be very hard for me," he said. "All the gods have to be on my side (in London), plus I need luck. I've had quite a bit of that this season, though. I'll prepare as best I can so I can stay in the fight." The E-Prix in the United Kingdom, which marks the finale of the 2023 season, takes place July 29-30.