|2020 Berlin E-Prix I|
The Tempelhofring was reversed for its first race in 2020.
|Date||5 August 2020|
|Official Name||2020 Berlin E-Prix I Presented by CBMM Niobium|
|Location|| Tempelhofring R|
Berlin, Brandenburg, Germany
|Format||45 min + 1 Lap|
|Lap length||2.355 km (1.476 mi)|
|Distance||36 laps / 84.780 km (52.680 mi)|
|Support Race||2020 Berlin eTrophy Race 1|
|Pole Sitter||António Félix da Costa|
|Driver||António Félix da Costa|
|Fastest Lap||1:08.965 on lap 20|
|António Félix da Costa||André Lotterer||Sam Bird|
|Winner Team||DS Techeetah|
|2020 Marrakesh E-Prix||2020 Berlin E-Prix II|
The 2020 Berlin E-Prix I, otherwise formally known as the 2020 Berlin E-Prix I Presented by CBMM Niobium, was the sixth round of the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, staged at the Tempelhofring in Berlin, Brandenburg, Germany on 5 August 2020. The race was the first of six races in Berlin after the Covid-19 Pandemic had demolished the original 2019/20 Championship schedule, and would be held on a reversed layout of the Tempelhofring.
Qualifying for the return of the Championship would see Championship leader António Félix da Costa sweep to pole position, having also topped the timesheets in the group stage. His closest challenger was DS Techeetah teammate and defending Champion Jean-Éric Vergne, with André Lotterer, Sébastien Buemi, Nyck de Vries and Jérôme d'Ambrosio completing the Super Pole shootout.
The start of the race saw da Costa sweep into an early lead as dusk marched over Tempelhof Airport, with teammate Vergne slipping into second. Behind, Buemi looked to have secured third only for Lotterer to fire back past him through the first corner, with the rest of the field making it through with only minor barging and banging.
Indeed, the opening stages of the race proved fairly tame, with the two DS Techeetahs escaping from the field at a rapid rate, while Lotterer formed a bottleneck in third. Indeed, the rest of the top ten would find themselves stuck behind the #36 Porsche throughout the early stages, while the rest of the field, including title pretenders Stoffel Vandoorne, Mitch Evans and Alexander Sims, were caught in a train behind Felipe Massa in eleventh.
It was only when Robin Frijns attempted to pass Maximilian Günther in the midst of the Massa melee that the race kicked off, with the Dutchman hitting the wall and smashing the front of his car. He duly pulled off track at turn nine, although the awkward positioning of his car meant that a Safety Car was required to drag the #4 Virgin-Audi to safety.
When the race resumed da Costa would again sprint away, although this time Vergne would be harried by Lotterer before he too could establish second. Lotterer soon found himself under attack from de Vries, who subsequently stole third away to chase the Techeetahs, only to slip back behind the German racer after a mistake on the brakes into turn one at half time.
With that Attack Mode came into play, with the order fluctuating wildly as drivers armed, or in some cases attempted to arm, the system. Indeed, Lotterer would lose out to Sam Bird amid the exchange, while Vandoorne continued to storm up the field in the wake of Evans, with those two breaking into the top ten with fifteen minutes to go.
At that same moment the race would be turned on its head, as Felipe Massa smashed into the barriers at turn six to trigger a Virtual Safety Car. That intervention came moments after Vergne had activated Attack Mode to try and harry teammate da Costa, and meant it had been used up by the time the restart came five minutes later.
Indeed, after that da Costa would be untroubled, blasting clear at the restart once again, while Vergne's pace collapsed horribly. The Frenchman duly fell to Bird, Lotterer, de Vries, d'Ambrosio and Buemi, while Evans tangled with Maximilian Günther when trying the pass the ailing #25 Techeetah and was sent spinning to the back of the field.
Onto the final lap and the order was still in the air, with drivers now at risk of running out of energy. Indeed, race leader da Costa, five seconds clear of Lotterer in second, was perilously close to 0% as he entered the final sector, with the #36 Porsche closing the gap after easing past Bird on the previous tour.
Yet, da Costa had enough in hand to secure the victory, and in dominant fashion as he claimed the first ever Grand Slam in FE history, having led every lap, started from pole, and set the fastest lap. Lotterer and Bird trailed him across the line to complete the podium, while a battered de Vries secured fourth ahead of d'Ambrosio. Buemi was next up ahead of di Grassi and Sims, René Rast inherited the final point on his FE return after a wave of late penalties, while Vergne ended the race in the pits after di Grassi smashed into him on the final tour.
The Tempelhofring in Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, Germany was originally set to hold only one round during the 2019/20 season, scheduled for 30 May 2020. This date was later altered to the 21 June, after the inclusion of the Jakarta E-Prix to the schedule with the release of the final calendar with approval from the World MotorSport Council. For the first pair of Berlin races the Tempelhofring was to be run in reverse, meaning the lap would open with two sharp hairpins, and end with a flowing exit onto the start/finish straight.
Unfortunately the build-up to the race would be marred by the death of Helder Moreira, a track worker who was killed while building the Tempelhofring for the opening race of the weekend. A minute silence was held on the eve of the Berlin E-Prix to mourn the Portuguese national and employee of RS Project, as well as the victims of Covid-19 and discrimination.
However, the plans for the 2019/20 season after the 2020 Marrakesh E-Prix were thrown into chaos within a week of the chequered flag falling in Morocco, with the World Health Organisation declaring the 2019 Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March. That, combined with cancellations of the Sanya and Rome E-Prix due to the outbreak, resulted in Formula E Holdings postponing the Championship in March and April, which was extended into May and June. During early June FEH, the FIA and the organisers of the Berlin entered negotiations about resuming the Championship, with a plan to complete the season at Tempelhof Airport.
On 17 June 2020 the FIA and FE announced that Tempelhof Airport in Berlin would host six races to complete the 2019/20 season, with three pairs of races staged across eight days. Each pair of races would be held on different circuits constructed on the apron of the Airport, beginning with the a reversal of the standard Tempelhofring layout on 5 August. The circuit was then to be reset to the original layout after a second race on 6 August, for a second pair of races on 9-10 August, before the series finale on 12-13 August on an revised circuit to complete the season.
The Series also implemented several Covid-19 protocols ahead of the season finale, including mandatory Covid tests for all personnel attending the finale. Furthermore, each team would have their own "bubble" within the paddock wide "bubble", while social distancing and face masks were enforced throughout the paddock. In the event of a positive test, everyone within the smaller bubble was to be retested, and remain in quarantine until they received their results.
Ahead of the Berlin E-Prix I 1,421 tests were conducted, with two positive results. These were later revealed to be Mahindra Racing boss Dilbagh Gill, as well as FE Chairman Alejandro Agag, with both quarantined in a hotel away from the circuit.
Covid-19 would also affect the mid-term state of the Championship, with the series having to cancel plans to update the Spark SRT05e with an "EVO" package for 2020/21, first revealed ahead of the 2020 Mexico City E-Prix. Furthermore, manufacturers would have to either use their 2019/20 powertrains in 2020/21, or develop a new powertrain for 2020/21, which they would then have to use into the 2021/22 season.
With the formal FE Championship suspended, Formula E Holdings launched a partnership with UNICEF to create the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge, a virtual Championship using FE cars on the rFactor2 gaming platform to raise funds for the charity. Organised by Motorsport Games, the Race at Home Challenge was staged across eight rounds using the standard FIA points scoring system, with double points for the final race. Ultimately, all 24 drivers from the 2019/20 season would take part at some point during the Championship, with a support series organised for professional and amateur sim-racers.
The Race at Home Challenge would see Pascal Wehrlein and Stoffel Vandoorne duel for the crown, after Maximilian Günther had won the first two races. Wehrlein would then take the initiative in the title hunt, before Vandoorne ultimately triumphed at final race, after the "season" had been reduced to six rounds. However, it was the virtual exploits of another racer that drew attention, and would ultimately have a major effect on his real world career.
Indeed, Daniel Abt would lose his real world Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler seat during the Race at Home Challenge, after hiring pro-sim racer to drive for him during the 2020 Virtual Berlin E-Prix. Indeed, a day after the Virtual Berlin E-Prix Audi would suspend and then sack Abt with immediate effect, citing a breach of "Integrity, transparency and consistent compliance with applicable rules" while representing their brand. Various names were considered to replace the German racer, although Audi ultimately decided to place two-time and reigning DTM Champion René Rast to take the seat.
Elsewhere, Wehrlein made a surprise move to leave Mahindra Racing during the enforced Covid-19 break, quitting the Indian outfit with immediate effect on 7 June 2020. The German racer was widely rumoured to have been negotiating a deal to join Porsche for the 2020/21 season, and hence opted to sit out the rest of the 2019/20 season in order to enhance his chances. His replacement was later revealed as Alex Lynn, who signed up to Mahindra having served as a test/reserve driver for Jaguar Racing during the first half of the season.
Ma Qing Hua was another full-season driver to miss the season finale in Berlin, as travel restrictions meant that the Chinese driver, as well as several Shanghai based team personnel could not attend the race. The rejected Abt and former 2014/15 Champion and NIO driver Nelson Piquet Jr. were touted as his replacements, with Abt officially unveiled as his replacement on 1 July 2020.
There would also be changes at GEOX DRAGON ahead of the season finale, as Brendon Hartley announced that he was leaving the team after a poor first half of the season. His seat was left unfilled until the 22 July, when Dragon confirmed that Sérgio Sette Câmara would take over the seat, having been named as one of their test/reserve drivers at the start of the season. The Brazilian racer would make his FE E-Prix debut in the opening Berlin race, having previously tested for Dragon at the 2020 Rookie Test alongside fellow Dragon reserve Joel Eriksson.
In terms of the Championship, António Félix da Costa had secured the Championship lead with victory in Marrakesh, moving onto 67 points and establishing an eleven point advantage. Former leader Mitch Evans had hence slipped to second, but had maintained a ten point lead over third placed Alexander Sims at the end of the Marrakesh weekend. Elsewhere, Maximilian Günther had moved into fourth ahead of Lucas di Grassi, while Stoffel Vandoorne slipped to sixth.
In the Teams Championship it was DS Techeetah who led the charge leaving Marrakesh, their double podium having left them two shy of the 100 point mark. BMW-Andretti had made way for them, slipping eight behind, while Jaguar Racing had dropped to third, and had a 32 point disadvantage to Techeetah. Behind, Nissan e.Dams had moved up to fourth ahead of rookies Mercedes, while NIO had once again failed to threaten the points ahead of the trip to Berlin.
The full entry list for the 2020 Berlin E-Prix I is displayed below:
Qualifying for the 2020 Berlin E-Prix I would be conducted in FE's standard format, with the field split into four groups of six cars, based on Championship position. The first group would feature those in the top six in the Championship and so on, with each group getting six minutes on track to set a full 250 kW lap. The top six overall would then progress to the Super Pole shootout, getting one final lap at full power to try and claim pole position.
After the session a point would be handed to the fastest driver in the Group Stage, while three were to be awarded to the winner of Super Pole.
The opening group of the Berlin meeting would feature those in the top six of the Championship, with Championship leader António Félix da Costa the lead act. He would be joined on track by Mitch Evans of Jaguar Racing, as well as both of the BMW-Andrettis of Alexander Sims and Maximilian Günther. Lucas di Grassi was also set to take to the track for Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, while Stoffel Vandoorne completed the sextet for Mercedes.
Sims was the first member of the title pretending sextet to head out onto the track, leaving the pitlane with three and a half minutes to go. Vandoorne, Günther and di Grassi would soon join him on circuit, while da Costa predictably held back in the pitlane along with Evans as they instead planned to go straight onto their full power flying laps. Evans duly joined the fray between Sims and Vandoorne as those two started their warm-up laps, while da Costa emerged just ahead of di Grassi, although was immediately passed by the Brazilian racer.
Having led the group onto the circuit Sims was the first driver to record a flying lap, with a clean run through the lap leaving him on a 1:07.996, although he was almost instantly displaced by Evans with a 1:07.555. Vandoorne then settled in between them, narrowly beating Sims, before Günther scrambled in ahead of him, but still was down on Evans. di Grassi was next across the line but a slap against the wall exiting turn eight ruined his lap, before a trio of fastest sectors for da Costa left the Portuguese racer on his own at the head of the sextet on a 1:07.122.
Group two would feature those drivers positioned seventh through twelfth in the Championship arriving in Berlin, headlined by quali ace Sébastien Buemi. He would be joined on track by Nissan e.Dams teammate Oliver Rowland, who was to serve a 20 place grid penalty for changing his MGU, as well as defending Champion Jean-Éric Vergne. Also in action would be the Envision Virgin run Audi of Sam Bird, Edoardo Mortara of ROKiT Venturi, as well as the first of the Porsches piloted by André Lotterer.
Unlike the first group everyone in the second sextet would opt to go straight onto their full power laps, and hence predictably would all try to get onto the circuit at the same time. Mortara led the group onto the circuit, with Rowland, Buemi, Lotterer and Vergne immediately joining him, while Bird held back in the pits a few moments before heading out. Buemi would subsequently pass Rowland on their out-lap, while Vergne likewise passed Lotterer after a message about rear tyre overheating was relayed to him, after da Costa reported an overheating issue on his flying lap.
Mortara was the first driver to complete his flying lap, with the Swiss racer completing a clean effort to go fourth fastest overall, although he was instantly displaced by Buemi. Indeed, despite taking alternate lines through the hairpins, notably turning into the corners earlier than his rivals, Buemi managed to bridge the gap to da Costa at the head of the field, settling into a clear second just shy of a tenth behind the Portuguese racer. Rowland was next across the line to go third only to be displaced by Vergne and then Lotterer, while Bird made a mistake at the start of his lap to leave himself down in fifth.
The third sextet would see those positioned thirteenth through eighteenth in the Championship head out of the pits, with track evolution and equipment suggesting that they were serious contenders to make it into Super Pole. Headlining the group would be Robin Frijns in the #4 Virgin Audi, joined by Nyck de Vries and James Calado in the second of the Mercedes and Jaguars respectively. Also on track would be Felipe Massa of Venturi, the first of the Mahindras piloted by Jérôme d'Ambrosio, as well as Daniel Abt making his debut for NIO.
Group three saw another switch of tactics, with five of the six members venturing out for a warm-up lap, although Frijns waited until the last moment to head-out for a warm-up, while d'Ambrosio was the only driver who opted to go straight for a full power lap. de Vries was the first driver to complete his warm-up and start his flying lap, and would duly go fourth fastest with a strong second sector, countering a weak opening sector to his flying lap. Calado was next on track to set a time, although having had no running at all on the reversed Tempelhofring layout the Brit was over three seconds off the outright pace, and would serve multiple grid penalties.
Elsewhere, Abt would be a rather nonplussed fourteenth in the NIO, although he was less than a tenth behind former teammate di Grassi after an otherwise clean effort. Massa followed and showed impressive pace in the first sector, although his pace deteriorated badly in the third sector due to overheating rear tyres, leaving him in ninth. d'Ambrosio was next across the line to go sixth fastest, having almost matched de Vries' time a few moments earlier, while a poor first sector for Frijns saw the Dutchman slot into eleventh behind Massa.
The final six drivers to go out in the group stage would be those in the bottom six of the Championship, including those who were joining the Championship for the first time in 2019/20. Indeed, series debutante Sérgio Sette Câmara would get his first taste of qualifying alongside GEOX DRAGON teammate Nico Müller, while René Rast and Alex Lynn would make their FE returns for Audi and Mahindra respectively. The group would then be rounded out by the #3 NIO of Oliver Turvey, as well as the #18 Porsche of Neel Jani.
Much like the third group, group four would see five drivers opt to complete a warm-up lap, with three drivers getting their first taste of 2019/20 FE equipment in a competitive scenario. First out was debutante Sette Câmara, with the Brazilian racer going on to deliver a spectacular although mistake ridden flying lap, locking up into turn one to miss the apex, slithering out of turn two after hitting the throttle too hard, before snatching the brakes through turn ten to end up eighteenth fastest. As a result he was instantly displaced by teammate Müller, although the Swiss racer had complaints of his own after having several issues with the rear of #7 Dragon.
Next across the line was Turvey, who produced a far cleaner effort to displace Müller, although the #3 NIO was still well off the ultimate pace despite lapping half a second clear of teammate Abt. Jani was next and delivered a miserable lap to claim sixteenth, while Rast swept across the line to thirteenth, meaning he out-qualified his new teammate di Grassi on his Audi debut. Lynn then completed the group having gone straight onto a full power lap, with the Brit delivering a competent lap with no major mistakes to go twelfth fastest, just 0.2s behind teammate d'Ambrosio in sixth.
d'Ambrosio was the first driver to head out in the Super Pole shootout, with the Belgian completing a clear if unspectacular lap in the #64 Mahindra to record a 1:07.371. Lotterer went next and appeared to have made a mistake at the first corner after his missed the apex by over a foot, only to complete one of the fastest first sectors of the session. The German racer duly went fastest with a 1:07.235, with de Vries venturing out onto the circuit a few moments later for Mercedes. de Vires subsequently completed a more chaotic lap, and looked to be going fastest until he had a deceptively tricky slide entering turn ten, leaving him behind Lotterer with a 1:07.302.
Vergne was the next driver to venture onto the circuit, and would open his lap with a clean first sector to go a tenth up on Lotterer, an advantage he would near double with a clean second sector. However, a minor mistake in the third sector exiting turn seven saw Vergne only just squeeze ahead of Lotterer, with the Frenchman recording a 1:07.121. Buemi followed the #25 Techeetah onto the circuit, although the understeer exiting turn seven, combined with a clean but unspectacular start to the lap, left him down in third.
The final man to head out would be group stage pace setter da Costa, who seemed to have made a mistake right away by missing the apex of the first corner. However, that alternate line would pay off for the Portuguese racer, with da Costa setting a new fastest first sector, setting up a very quick run to turn five and the second sector. da Costa then aced the final sector to set a stunning lap of 1:06.799 to claim pole position, with Techeetah locking out the front row for the first time.
The final qualifying result for the 2020 Berlin E-Prix I are outlined below:
|2020 Berlin E-Prix I Qualifying Result|
|1st||13||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||1:06.799||—||1||G1|
|2nd||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||1:07.121||+0.322s||2||G2|
|3rd||36||André Lotterer||Porsche Formula E Team||1:07.235||+0.436s||3||G2|
|4th||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||1:07.248||+0.449s||4||G2|
|5th||17||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes||1:07.302||+0.503s||5||G3|
|6th||64||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||1:07.371||+0.572s||6||G3|
|1st||13||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||1:07.122||—||SP||G1|
|2nd||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||1:07.267||+0.145s||SP||G2|
|3rd||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||1:07.274||+0.152s||SP||G2|
|4th||17||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes||1:07.308||+0.186s||SP||G3|
|5th||36||André Lotterer||Porsche Formula E Team||1:07.454||+0.332s||SP||G2|
|6th||64||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||1:07.488||+0.366s||SP||G3|
|7th||2||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||1:07.492||+0.370s||7||G2|
|8th*||22||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.Dams||1:07.521||+0.399s||24*||G2|
|9th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||1:07.555||+0.433s||8||G1|
|10th||19||Felipe Massa||ROKiT Venturi Racing||1:07.563||+0.441s||9||G3|
|11th||4||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||1:07.581||+0.459s||10||G3|
|12th||94||Alex Lynn||Mahindra Racing||1:07.646||+0.524s||11||G4|
|13th||28||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:07.685||+0.563s||12||G1|
|14th||66||René Rast||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:07.777||+0.655s||13||G4|
|15th||48||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||1:07.826||+0.704s||14||G2|
|17th||27||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:07.996||+0.874s||16||G1|
|18th||18||Neel Jani||Porsche Formula E Team||1:08.014||+0.892s||17||G4|
|19th||3||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 FE Team||1:08.089||+0.967s||18||G4|
|20th||7||Nico Müller||GEOX DRAGON||1:08.118||+0.996s||19||G4|
|21st||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:08.136||+1.014s||20||G1|
|22nd||33||Daniel Abt||NIO 333 FE Team||1:08.554||+1.432s||21||G3|
|23rd||6||Sérgio Sette Câmara||GEOX DRAGON||1:08.628||+1.506s||22||G4|
|24th†||51||James Calado||Jaguar Racing||1:10.194||+3.072s||24||G3|
|110% Time: 1:13.834|
- * Rowland was meant to serve a twenty place grid penalty after changing his MGU. He was later issued with additional penalties for changing his gearbox and inverter.
- † Calado served a 60 grid penalty for changing multiple parts.
Conditions were on the warmer side ahead of the first race of the season finale, although there were no concerns about tyre or battery temperatures for the teams and drivers. There had, however, been a late change to the grid, with Oliver Rowland opting to start from the pitlane after receiving an additional 40 place grid penalty, which combined with his original 20 place penalty for changing his MGU. Furthermore, the Brit would have to serve a ten second stop-go for being unable to serve his grid penalties in full, with a similar fate befalling James Calado who had likewise been slapped with a 60 place grid penalty for changing parts.
It would be a long hold before the starting lights came on, although that ultimately had no impact on the start itself. Indeed, there was no stopping pole sitter António Félix da Costa when the lights went out, with the Portuguese racer easing ahead of teammate Jean-Éric Vergne into the first corner to secure the lead. Behind, Vergne was an equally comfortable second through the hairpin right, while behind André Lotterer lunged down the inside of Sébastien Buemi, having slipped behind the #23 Nissan e.Dams off the line.
The rest of the field made it through the first corners with very little drama or major contact, the majority of drivers taking the consideration that their cars would have to last through six races in nine days. There would still be changes to the order through the rest of the opening lap, with Sam Bird lunging around the outside of Jérôme d'Ambrosio at turn two for sixth, while Buemi just held off Nyck de Vries after Lotterer's retribution, although those three remained glued together. René Rast was also on the move with a brave drive around the outside of Edoardo Mortara through turn ten, although the Swiss racer had a better exit and held the German off.
da Costa would end the opening lap with a small margin over teammate Vergne, with the duo having broken clear due to the fight for third between Lotterer, Buemi and de Vries. Elsewhere, Alexander Sims would lunge down the inside of Nico Müller into turn one at the back of the field, while Stoffel Vandoorne elbowed his way pasty Rast at turn five. Lucas di Grassi would also make his way past his new teammate at turn seven with a well timed lunge, with the field quickly stabilising as the early laps unfolded.
Indeed, the two DS Techeetahs would establish an ominous lead as the early laps ticked away, with Lotterer forming a rolling road-block in third with Buemi, de Vries, d'Ambrosio and Bird stuck behind the #36 Porsche. A small gap then followed before Felipe Massa appeared, who had the majority of the rest of the field caught on his tail as he tried to conserve energy early on in the #19 Venturi-Mercedes. Mitch Evans was the first man in the latter queue and was crawling all over the back of the Brazilian, although it was fighting within the queue that ultimately interrupted the race.
In a bid to progress up the order Robin Frijns tried to drive around the outside of Maximilian Günther at turn two, although the ambitious move put the #4 Envision Virgin off the racing line. As a result, Frijns would lose grip and run straight into the outside wall, destroying the front of his car, which duly disintegrated as he drove away from the scene. Frijns subsequently stopped on the exit of turn nine, with the officials initially covering the incident with a yellow flag.
Two laps later and the Safety Car was scrambled after it became clear that Frijns could not limp his car back into the pitlane, and hence would require outside assistance. Before that, however, there would be some changes to the order, with de Vries managing to lunge past Buemi, while Evans finally managed to get ahead of Massa, powering past the #19 Venturi out of turn five. Out front, meanwhile, da Costa and Vergne lost their commanding four second lead, with Lotterer and co. now put back onto their collective tail.
However, that was only for the duration of the five minute SC, for da Costa would bolt through turn nine to re-establish his lead over Vergne, as 5 kWh of energy was taken from the drivers' battery reserves. Behind, Vergne would only manage to pull a small gap over Lotterer, while de Vries kept Buemi at bay on the run to the first corner starting lap fourteen. Elsewhere, Bird managed to fire down the inside of d'Ambrosio as they entered turn five with a late lunge to claim sixth, with the rest of the order largely unchanged.
Buemi became the first of the leaders to arm Attack Mode, although he attempt to take the boost on lap fifteen saw him miss the first sensor, and hence fail to activate the system. He would also drop behind Bird as a result, with d'Ambrosio almost managing to slip ahead of the #23 Nissan e.Dams before Buemi powered out of the corner to reclaim sixth. de Vries would subsequently arm Attack Mode on the following lap, with the Dutchman just managing to activate the system and remain ahead of Bird.
In response to de Vries taking AM, Lotterer would attempt to arm his AM boost on lap seventeen but missed, and just managed to keep de Vries at bay exiting turn five, before taking a very defensive line into turn six. de Vries would try again a lap later with a late lunge to the inside of turn five, and duly managed to claim third from the AM-less #36 Porsche. Up ahead, meanwhile, the two DS Techeetahs used the fighting behind to reclaim their original lead, and would both manage to arm AM as de Vries was firing past Lotterer, with da Costa taking a notably novel line into the AM activation zone.
Over the following laps the order would fluctuate as drivers armed Attack Mode, with Lotterer slipping behind Bird, while Buemi lost out to Mitch Evans and d'Ambrosio, the latter having fired past Felipe Massa into turn one after slipping behind the Brazilian arming AM. Bird would also drop behind Lotterer and Evans when he took AM on lap 22, before powering past the New Zealander on the exit of turn five, with d'Ambrosio moving onto Evans' tail. d'Ambrosio then threw a late lunge down the inside of Evans' into turn one to force his way through to sixth, with Evans duly slipping back behind Buemi when he took AM later on during the lap.
The order continued to shuffle behind the two imperious Techeetahs, who had built an eight second lead as the race ticked towards its final third. Lotterer was one of those on the warpath, lunging down the inside of de Vries into the first corner after the Dutchman made a late move to block the German racer, and only succeeded in locking up and running wide. Bird would also manage to elbow his way past the Dutchman at turn six, de Vries reacting too late to defend, moments before Massa slid into the outside wall at the same corner having locked his rear wheels under braking.
Massa was given two minutes to try and move his broken car from the escape road of turn six, although with the front end sustaining heavy damage the officials were forced to throw a Full Course Yellow. That came moments after Evans had fired down the inside of Buemi into turn one to claim sixth, and as Vergne and de Vries took their second Attack Mode activations. Vergne therefore dropped right off the back of da Costa and into the sights of Lotterer as the FCY came into force, with eleven minutes left to run.
The FCY ended three minutes later, with Vergne making a mess of his restart and hence slipping even further into the grasp of Lotterer, while d'Ambrosio drove right past Buemi as the circuit was declared green. da Costa, meanwhile, would build enough of a gap over Vergne that he could take Attack Mode without losing the lead, although Vergne did manage to get alongside his teammate before the #13 Techeetah jetted away at the exit with its additional power. Lotterer would likewise arm AM but drop behind Bird and de Vries, while behind Stoffel Vandoorne was squeezed towards the outside wall by Maximilian Günther after he took AM in their fight for ninth.
Vergne's race would falter after that, with Bird able to dart past the #25 Techeetah on lap 30, with de Vries otherwise occupied making some late defensive moves to keep Lotterer at bay. Lotterer would, however, manage to finally scramble ahead of de Vries when the #17 Mercedes got caught out by Vergne into turn one, with Lotterer subsequently going on to attack Vergne himself. Indeed, Lotterer managed to get alongside Vergne around the outside of the turn six/seven combo, although Vergne just managed to hold on through to turns eight and nine.
Lotterer would have the momentum entering turn ten however, and a strong exit allowed the #36 Porsche to power down the inside of the #25 Techeetah into turn one to seize third. Bird, meanwhile, would take the opportunity to take AM, although Lotterer would manage to scramble ahead of the #2 Virgin for second, while Vergne briefly got alongside before the extra 35kW of power came into play for Bird. Bird hence jetted into third ahead of the Frenchman, as behind Vandoorne used FanBoost to drive past d'Ambrosio along the back straight to claim eighth, only for d'Ambrosio to sneak back ahead on the brakes for turn six/seven.
Next up to pass Vergne would the aggressive de Vries, who duly clattered his way past down the inside of turn one after Vergne squeezed him to the inside wall, a hip check from the #17 Mercedes on the #25 Techeetah getting the job done at the apex. Behind, Vandoorne would manage to finally complete his move on d'Ambrosio with a lunge into turn one, while ahead Bird would use his AM boost to fire down the inside of Lotterer through turns six/seven to reclaim second. Vergne, meanwhile, would slip behind Vandoorne and d'Ambrosio, while Evans would get spun around by Günther through turn four after attempting to pass Vergne out of turn two.
Onto the final tour and d'Ambrosio and Vandoorne were in the midst of an intense duel for fifth, with Vandoorne initially managing to resist d'Ambrosio on the brakes into turn one. The Belgian racer subsequently fired his way down the inside of his compatriot into turn five, while Vergne had slipped into the sights of di Grassi down in eighth place. The Brazilian racer would make a late lunge down the inside of the Frenchman into turn eight, although Vergne turned across the nose of the #11 Audi and spun himself out of the race with two corners to go.
Out front, meanwhile, da Costa swept across the line to claim a dominant victory, becoming the first driver in FE history to claim a Grand Slam with pole, victory, fastest lap and leading every one of the 36 laps of the reversed Tempelhofring. Behind, Lotterer made a late lunge on Bird stick to claim second, while Bird just made it to the finish line after a late battle with his energy consumption to complete the podium. de Vries was next up ahead of d'Ambrosio, Vandoorne, Buemi, Günther, di Grassi and Alexander Sims, while Vergne retired in the pitlane after his late spin.
After the race there would be a wave of penalties, with two drivers, namely Günther and Sérgio Sette Câmara, getting excluded from the results after exceeding the maximum 45 kWh of energy. Edoardo Mortara was also penalised for causing a collision with Günther, while Daniel Abt was handed a time penalty for failing to slow down to 50 km/h ahead of the FCY within five seconds. As a result of those penalties, di Grassi and Sims were promoted into eighth and ninth, while Rast was promoted into tenth to claim the final point.
The final classification of the 2020 Berlin E-Prix I is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2020 Berlin E-Prix I Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||13||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||36||47:08.261||1:08.965||30G|
|2nd||36||André Lotterer||Porsche Formula E Team||36||+5.445s||1:09.176||18|
|3rd||2||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||36||+6.526s||1:09.214||15|
|4th||17||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes||36||+6.911s||1:09.601||12|
|5th||64||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||36||+13.212s||1:09.436||10|
|7th||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||36||+14.926s||1:09.886||6|
|8th||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||36||+17.311s||1:09.070||4|
|9th||27||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||36||+17.673s||1:09.465||2|
|10th||66||René Rast||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||36||+18.852s||1:09.877||1|
|11th||18||Neel Jani||Porsche Formula E Team||36||+21.039s||1:09.946|
|12th||94||Alex Lynn||Mahindra Racing||36||+21.603s||1:10.201|
|13th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||36||+22.482s||1:09.355|
|14th*||22||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.Dams||36||+23.208s||1:09.465|
|15th†||51||James Calado||Jaguar Racing||36||+28.906s||1:09.362|
|16th||3||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 FE Team||36||+31.116s||1:10.327|
|17th‡||48||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||36||+38.765s||1:09.363|
|18th§||33||Daniel Abt||NIO 333 FE Team||36||+39.282s||1:09.879|
|NCƒ||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||35||Damage||1:09.025|
|NCƒ||7||Nico Müller||GEOX DRAGON||35||Out of Energy||1:09.565|
|Ret||19||Felipe Massa||ROKiT Venturi Racing||22||Accident||1:10.290|
|Ret||4||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||8||Accident||1:10.925|
|DSQ♠||28||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||36||Disqualified||1:09.971|
|DSQ♣||6||Sérgio Sette Câmara||GEOX DRAGON||36||Disqualified||1:10.042|
- Indicates a driver was awarded FanBoost during the race.
- G Indicates a driver secured a bonus point for setting the fastest time during the group stage of qualifying.
- * Rowland received multiple time penalties for failing to serve a full grid penalty for changing his MGU.
- † Calado served multiple time penalties for failing to serve a 60 place grid penalty.
- ‡ Mortara had a drive-through penalty converted to an 18 second time penalty for causing a collision with Günther.
- § Abt was awarded a five second time penalty for failing to slow to 50 km/h within five seconds of an FCY being deployed.
- ƒ Vergne and Müller were unable to be classified as they failed to complete the final lap.
- ♠ Günther was disqualified from the race for exceeding the maximum energy limit of 45 kWh.
- ♣ Sette Câmara was disqualified from the race for exceeding the maximum energy limit of 45 kWh. He was also issued with a penalty point on his race licence for failing to serve a drive through penalty for being out of position on the grid.
- Oliver Rowland made his twentieth E-Prix start.
- First race for René Rast since the 2016 Berlin ePrix.
- Debut race for Sérgio Sette Câmara.
- Fourth victory for António Félix da Costa.
- da Costa became the first driver in FE history to secure a Grand Slam.
- Techeetah claimed their tenth victory as an entrant in Formula E.
- DS secured their tenth win as a powertrain supplier.
- Maiden points finish for Rast.
It had been an excellent start to the six race season finale for Championship leader António Félix da Costa, for his perfect score had seen him move onto 97 points for the campaign. Furthermore, non-scores for his two nearest rivals, Mitch Evans and Alexander Sims, had meant that the Portuguese racer ended the day with a significant 41 margin at the head of the hunt, and with arguably the fastest car heading into the second race on the reversed Tempelhofring. Elsewhere, Stoffel Vandoorne had moved back into the top five ahead of Maximilian Günther, while Sam Bird had risen to sixth.
In the Teams' Championship DS Techeetah had opened out their lead, having become the first team to move past the 100 point barrier courtesy of da Costa's dominance. Their tally of 128 points meant they were 36 clear of second placed BMW-Andretti, while Mercedes had climbed to third on 76. They hence relegated Jaguar Racing to fourth on 66 points, while NIO remained the only pointless team as the season passed half-distance.
Only point scoring drivers are shown.
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