Formula E: Cassidy loses championship lead after "overdue" upset, Evans disappointed despite podium in Jakarta - "Like a roadblock"
A surprising podium from Mitch Evans, a seventh place from former world championship leader Nick Cassidy - that's almost all Jaguar and Envision Racing could salvage in Jakarta. Both teams suffered a setback in the title race in the heat of Indonesia. The drivers have already found a diagnosis for the poor results: There was simply a lack of race pace.
"A day like this was overdue," Nick Cassidy sighed as he cooled off in an inflatable pool behind the garage and faced questions from a TV journalist. The New Zealander had traveled to the E-Prix in Jakarta in world championship lead and with big expectations. But his high hopes turned into equally high disappointment over the course of the weekend. After collecting at least a few points with position 7 on the previous day, Cassidy came away empty-handed in Sunday's race in Indonesia.
"The track just didn't suit us. We did a good job of analyzing the data between the E-Prix. But then I made a mistake in qualifying that cost us," he said, assessing his race day on the electric series' world feed broadcast. "I ended up in the 'jungle,' somehow driving along at an okay pace and then making another mistake."
Cassidy remains optimistic: "Nothing lost yet!"
Cassidy alludes to the accident with Pascal Wehrlein, which threw him out of the fight for the top 10 on race lap 19. With a spirited maneuver, he wanted to surprise the Porsche driver in turn 16, but misjudged the distance and damaged his front wing after crashing into the left rear wheel of Wehrlein. After a pit stop, he was left with only an energy-saving mode and the hope that a safety car could bring him back into contention. But the race neutralization never came.
Cassidy finished the E-Prix a distant 18th. His accident opponent, Pascal Wehrlein, of all people, thus took the world championship lead from him. Jake Dennis also displaced the "Kiwi" by a position - Cassidy is now third overall. However, the 28-year-old does not plan to let this unsettle him. "There are only six points separating me from the top. There are still over 125 points up for grabs in the remaining five races - nothing's lost yet!"
Jaguar struggles with balance issues and teammate clash
Those words should also encourage James Barclay. The Formula E team boss of Envision's powertrain partner Jaguar had his work cut out on Saturday as both works drivers crashed each other out of the race - for a second time this season. At least there was a small reason for Barclay to be content on Sunday, with Mitch Evans finishing in third and collecting 15 valuable points for the overall standings.
"To be honest, I wasn't expecting a podium at all," Evans admitted after Sunday's race. "The car was never in the right balance window. In practice, we tried all kinds of setups but never really got it to work."
A year ago, Evans was able to win the E-Prix in Indonesia. But even if it was only enough for a handful of lead laps in 2023, the New Zealander chalks up Sunday's race as a success. "For almost dismissing this weekend as a testing opportunity, it went pretty well in qualifying," he says.
Inefficiency "a bit of a mystery"
"In the race, though, everyone probably saw that I didn't have my normal pace. We were so inefficient that in the end I was like a roadblock for the others. It's a bit of a mystery. But I'm happy to be on the podium after such a tough race."
Not even making it to the start line on race Sunday was Sam Bird. The Briton had just taken a seat in his car before the E-Prix when he noticed a technical problem. His car was pushed back to the pit lane, where Jaguar frantically tried to solve the problem with via a laptop connection to the car. But all attempts at reactivation were unsuccessful: Bird's Jakarta Sunday was over before it had really begun. After Saturday's accident, he will certainly want to forget this weekend as soon as possible.
Unfortunately Sam was unable to take part in today's race due to a technical issue that occurred on the grid. The team are investigating the cause. #JakartaEPrix ??- Jaguar TCS Racing (@JaguarRacing) June 4, 2023
In the team standings, Jaguar is now in third place overall with 171 points, 19 behind customer team Envision. At the top of the table, Porsche has a 22-point lead. For Formula E's racing teams, the analysis work now begins before returning to the race track in just three weeks: The Portland E-Prix in the USA is scheduled for June 24, 2023.