Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy wins second race of the 2023 SABIC Berlin E-Prix doubleheader delivering an energy management masterclass in a race with 172 overtakes
Jake Dennis takes second while Jean-Éric Verge completes the podium, moving up into third in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship drivers’ standings
A capacity crowd of 34,000 passionate fans attended the 2023 SABIC Berlin E-Prix weekend at the infamous Berlin Tempelhof Airport Circuit witnessing a total of 362 overtakes across the two races
Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy went on to seal the race win in the 2023 SABIC Berlin E-Prix Round 8 as he shot from eighth position to the top step of the podium after a nail-biting wheel-to-wheel race.
The unique Berlin Tempelhof Circuit produced a second intensely tactical race, brimming with overtakes – 172 in total, making for 362 over the weekend – and featuring another strategic masterclass from the race winner. Starting eighth, Cassidy drove superbly to stay there – setting the pace and mastering Formula E’s tightrope of ultimate pace, race craft and energy.
Preserving energy was again crucial at the slipstream-heavy racetrack, Cassidy fended off the close attentions of all comers, including each of his closest championship rivals during the race.
Jake Dennis (Avalanche Andretti) who is now only within four points of the championship’s leader, Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team), was in striking distance to Cassidy, just half a second behind as they crossed the finish line. Wehrlein started sixth, in a stronger position than recent races, having complained of poor one-lap pace in qualifying, but found himself shuffled to seventh at the race’s end.
Jean-Éric Vergne (DS PENSKE) admitted he didn’t have the pace to challenge the Jaguar-powered Envision that ultimately raced to the top step, despite also intermittently leading the race. Nevertheless, the DS PENSKE driver will be pleased to have scored strongly with third, with an eye on the long game as the season passes its half-way stage.
Round 7 winner Mitch Evans (Jaguar TCS Racing) made up a spot from his grid position to finish fourth, making it a superb weekend’s work for the Kiwi and Jaguar TCS Racing. Despite teammate Sam Bird getting into contact and being forced out of contention in this encounter, the Jaguar powertrains have driven to victory in three consecutive races for the very first time in Formula E history, albeit in the hands of customers Envision Racing and Cassidy.
A day after securing the team’s first podium in Round 7, the standout drive was arguably Maserati MSG Racing’s Maximilian Günther climbing 15 positions from 21st position to sixth. Pole-sitter Robin Frijns of the ABT CUPRA Formula E Team struggled to maintain pace and dropped to 17th at the end, with teammate and fellow front-row starter Nico Müller faring better with ninth on home soil to score the team’s first points in the GEN3 era.
That left Wehrlein on top of the pile but by a narrow four-point margin to Cassidy, with Vergne third. TAG Heuer Porsche’s advantage in the Teams’ table also continues to fade away, with the Jaguar-powered Envision Racing squad now just 15 points back in second.
Nick Cassidy, No. 37, Envision Racing said: “I knew I was in the fight. I’ve been in the fight the last five races. Yesterday, we had a great opportunity as well and I made a mistake and I really put my hand up for that. But today we made it count. So, thanks so much to my guys. I’ve had an opportunity to win nearly every weekend and as a driver that’s a dream.
“I’ve had some really good luck and I’m sure some bad luck and bad weekends are coming our way, but until then I’m enjoying the ride – it’s been amazing.”
Jake Dennis, No. 27, Avalanche Andretti said: “To not see a chequered flag since Saudi is mind-blowing. We’re still fourth in the Championship. Obviously more energy than Nick but the targets were so high at the end, and it was too much of a risk and honestly, I was just happy with the 18 points and just bringing it home.
“The boys deserve so much today. After all the hard work we’ve put in the last few events and always come short with a DNF or a crash, so they deserve the champagne more than I do. I’m super happy right now. I didn’t know if the car was going to make it to the end after the contact at turns 4 halfway through. But nevertheless, saw the chequered flag, 18 points and a beer.
“(On temptation to go for the win) Not when Nick started to pick up the pace with eight laps to go – it was just too high risk and JEV was looking pretty punchy at turn 6 so I had to manage that. I was pretty content in second place and scoring some points to be honest.”
Jean-Éric Vergne, No. 25, DS PENSKE said: “It was really chaotic. I’m very glad the race is over. I’ve never really experienced this kind of racing where no one really wants to be leading at the beginning and creating a lot of chaos at the back. I was just trying to manage to stay in the top 4 or 5, every time I was 6th I was pushing to come back because otherwise you’re glued to the back and then you can’t come back. So it’s a bit of a strategy game, but it’s mental, it was a very difficult race so I’m very happy to finish on the podium in third. It could have been very easy to do otherwise today, so I’m going to take those points gladly and move on.
“The Championship isn’t something I’m looking at the moment – there are still so many races remaining. We have a lot of work to do as a team. I’m really glad with the work we’ve done this weekend. We certainly don’t have the pace or the performance of the Jaguar so we need to push really hard to catch up and aim for some more victories.”
Next stop in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is the 2023 Monaco E-Prix for Round 9 on Saturday 6 May.