Formula E

Race of the underdogs: substitute drivers & rookies show their potential on Formula E's Berlin Sunday

Tim Neuhaus

Tim Neuhaus

Five drivers who are not regular Formula E drivers got behind the wheel in Berlin last weekend. With WEC taking place at the same time in Spa-Francorchamps, Mahindra, Envision and ABT had to find replacement drivers who were able to make the most of their opportunity. In addition, Taylor Barnard, who stepped in vor Sam Bird from Monaco on, impressed across the board and scored points in both races!

Taylor Barnard outperforms regular driver Hughes

Since free practice in Monaco, when Sam Bird broke his hand in an accident, the 19-year-old Briton has been in the McLaren cockpit as a reserve driver. Barnard already made an excellent impression in the Principality, which he was to further enhance in Berlin. With tenth place on Saturday and an eighth place on Sunday, he became the youngest driver to score points in Formula E, putting him five points ahead of former champions Lucas di Grassi and Nyck de Vries in the overall standings.

Barnard even managed to beat his much more experienced team-mate Jake Hughes in all three races he drove. However, he told e-Formula.news that he could have done more: "I think we decided to push a bit late, we were a bit too conservative." Nevertheless, the young Brit was in seventh place at one point and is satisfied with his result: "When we pushed, it was good and I was able to make up a few positions. I'm very happy."

Jehan Daruvala better than Günther in both races

For Jehan Daruvala - the only regular rookie this season - it was also the best race weekend in Formula E so far. The Indian drove a furious Saturday race and was one of the fastest drivers in the field at times - albeit due to a calculation error by Maserati. Starting from the back of the grid and with an additional stop-and-go penalty, he worked his way up to sixth place. However, he did not bring home the points that seemed almost certain, but dropped back again after a self-inflicted accident.

On Sunday, however, Daruvala made amends and drove a very solid race. His overtake against Barnard just before the finish line was particularly exciting. He thanked Barnard in an interview with e-Formula.news: "As a racing driver, you always want to go for the gap - even on the last lap. But it was also very fair of Taylor (Barnard) to give me the space." Daruvala celebrated seventh place and was thus able to outdo team-mate Günther in terms of points for the first time.

Joel Eriksson in the points despite Attack Mode trouble

After an early crash in the first Berlin race, things didn't look too good for Joel Eriksson on Sunday either. A problem with the attack mode, which had already occurred in the third free practice session, caused problems: "I hit the loops, but there was still no activation. That set me back a long way," he explained to e-Formula.news.

Eriksson, however, drove a strong second half of the race. "The potential and efficiency were much better than the result, and I could have finished a few places higher," he said, praising the currently struggling Envision team. Eriksson would like to be back in a Formula E car soon: "It was great to have the opportunity to drive here with Envision. I hope to be back very soon!"

For the next race weekend on 25 and 26 May - the Shanghai E-Prix 2024 - regular drivers Robin Frijns and Sebastien Buemi will return to the Envision cockpit. Sam Bird's involvement is not yet certain. However, Barnard will have to compete in Formula 2 that weekend.

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