Jaguar jubilant about historic Formula E triple victory in Sao Paulo: "Scenes from India in the back of my mind".
At the end of a hectic Sao Paulo E-Prix 2023, Formula E manufacturer Jaguar had particularly great cause for celebration: All three drivers on the podium in Brazil were equipped with powertrains from the "predatory cat". This has only happened twice in Formula E history. After the E-Prix, the Jaguar duo, Mitch Evans and Sam Bird, thanked the behind-the-scenes race staff in particular, explaining the aftermath of the teammate crash at the Hyderabad E-Prix.
Jaguar team principal James Barclay is one of the more reserved characters in the Formula E paddock. The South African chooses his words carefully, usually saying too little rather than too much. But when things are going well for his race team on the track, his emotions gush out of him unchecked. That was the case after the race Saturday in Sao Paulo: His factory drivers Mitch Evans and Sam Bird finished first and third, while customer driver Nick Cassidy (Envision) also made it to second place. And Barclay was beside himself with joy.
His powerful punches in the air were a testament to the relief that spread through the team after a tough first third of the season for Jaguar. While Porsche and its customer team Andretti were virtually uncompetitive in the first four race weekends, Jaguar was mostly concerned with itself. A collision between teammates Evans and Bird in Hyderabad was the low point of the season so far: after a driving error Bird roared into the rear of the sister car, sealing a team's first double retirement of the 2023 season.
For the accident, the FIA issued a demotion penalty against Bird at the time, which he did not redeem until the Sao Paulo E-Prix - a accident in Cape Town qualifying prevented a start for the Briton in South Africa and thus the application of the penalty. Instead of starting position 5, Bird was left with only tenth place on the grid. Not a bad starting position, but certainly not the best either.
Evans takes lead only in the final phase
Evans, who won his qualifying quarterfinal against Bird in Sao Paulo, on the other hand, started from 3rd place. Over the course of the race, the lead changed several times before the New Zealander finally took over the top position on the 32nd of 35 laps. Evans skillfully fended off late attacks from his compatriot Nick Cassidy to seal his first victory in the Gen3 era of Formula E.
Race winner Evans: "Behind us lies a difficult time".
"Behind us lies a difficult time," said Evans, alluding to the teammate collision in Hyderabad. "So it's all the nicer to have won now, and then with a one-two-three! Nick (Cassidy) really pushed me to the finish, but our result is mainly because we push ourselves internally within the team. There was a lot of hard work, a lot of stimulation and strategic thinking in our project. In the end, it was all about positioning on the track and my energy advantage that I built up in the first phase of the race."
Sam Bird, who strung together numerous overtaking maneuvers in Sao Paulo to even battle with Cassidy for second place in the closing stages, also admits to thinking about the accident in Hyderabad during the race. "I'm a little disappointed because I was closing in on the leaders with a big energy advantage and more would have been possible. But then I had the scenes from India in the back of my mind again, so I decided to hold back and take the points for the team."
"I'm delighted for the racing team, though," Bird continues. "I take my hat off to everyone who worked on it here at the track and at home in the factory. I'm not sure there's ever been a triple win like this in Formula E - just great!" A triple win for one manufacturer has actually happened twice in the electric series: at the 2022 Berlin E-Prix (Sunday), when Nyck de Vries won ahead of his then-brand colleagues Edoardo Mortara and Stoffel Vandoorne, and in Santiago in 2018 with Renault drivers Jean-Eric Vergne (for customer team Techeetah), Sebastien Buemi and Nico Prost.
Jaguar reduces gap in world team championship
James Barclay should therefore look forward with confidence to the next meeting of the Jaguar Racing management team. After all, Envision and Jaguar also made a big leap forward in the team standings thanks to the Sao Paulo result. Although Porsche continues to lead the WRC standings, its lead over the "big cats" is "only" 41 and 61 points, respectively.
In the drivers' standings, Cassidy, who has now been on the podium in three consecutive races, is the new third-place finisher. He is just one point short of Jake Dennis (Andretti). Factory drivers Bird and Evans are 6th and 9th, respectively.
Formula E unofficial manufacturers' standings.
|1||Porsche (Porsche, Andretti)||224|
|2||Jaguar (Jaguar, Envision)||186|
|3||Nissan (Nissan, McLaren)||90|
|4||DS/Maserati (DS, Maserati)||85|
|5||Mahindra (Mahindra, ABT)||26|
|6||Nio 333 (no customer team)||19|