|2021 Valencia E-Prix I|
The Valencia Circuit for its FE race debut in 2021.
|Date||24 April 2021|
|Official Name||2021 DHL Valencia E-Prix I|
|Location|| Circuit Ricardo Tormo|
Cheste, Valencia, Spain
|Format||45 min + 1 lap|
|Lap length||3.376 km (2.098 mi)|
|Distance||24 laps / 81.024 km (50.346 mi)|
|Pole Sitter||António Félix da Costa|
|Team||Envision Virgin Racing|
|Fastest Lap||1:39.611 on lap 14|
|Nyck de Vries||Nico Müller||Stoffel Vandoorne|
|Winner Team||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team|
|2021 Rome E-Prix II||2021 Valencia E-Prix II|
The 2021 Valencia E-Prix I, formally known as the 2021 DHL Valencia E-Prix I, was the fifth race of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, staged at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Cheste, Valencia, Spain on 24 April 2021. The race would be the first E-Prix to be held in Spain, using a variant of the circuit that FE had used for its pre-season tests since 2017.
Qualifying for the first battle of Valencia would see Stoffel Vandoorne claim pole position, the Belgian ace making it to Super Pole in-spite of qualifying in Group One, along with teammate Nyck de Vries. de Vries himself would claim third in qualifying but would start from eighth due to a penalty, with António Félix da Costa starting on the front row ahead of Maximilian Günther and Alex Lynn. There would be a late twist, however, with Vandoorne excluded from qualifying for a tyre infringement that handed pole to da Costa.
Rain before the race ensured that the E-Prix would start behind the Safety Car, which would remain out for one lap before releasing the field. da Costa duly sprinted into an early lead ahead of Günther, Lynn and Oliver Rowland, before a clumsy lunge from André Lotterer at turn nine left Sébastien Buemi in the gravel.
The Safety Car hence reappeared after just a single lap, although it was soon back in the pitlane after a three minute intervention. da Costa once again broke clear of the field at the restart to secure the lead, while Günther proved to be something of a road block as the #28 BMW-Andretti lacked the pace of the #13 DS Techeetah.
Günther's lack of pace enabled Alexander Sims and de Vries to move up the order, the duo scything through the pack with de Vries ultimately the first to scramble ahead of the BMW. With that de Vries was off to hunt down da Costa, by that stage some 3.5 seconds clear, while Günther was left to be roughed up by Lynn, Sims and Rowland in short order.
Battles continued throughout the field as Attack Mode came online, although as rain began to increase again Günther's race came to an end, the German youth sliding out of the race at turn two. Another SC intervention was required to clear the #28 BMW, with da Costa this time finding that de Vries was glued to his tail when he took the restart.
de Vries remained tucked behind da Costa's diffuser upon instruction from Mercedes, who were focusing on energy conservation rather than pace. As a result de Vries was still trailing da Costa when the SC made its fourth appearance of the afternoon, as Sérgio Sette Câmara was elbowed into the gravel by Mitch Evans at turn nine.
With ten minutes to go the race resumed with da Costa and de Vries remaining nose-to-tail up front, although they now had Sims in close attendance as attention turned towards energy use. Indeed, remaining usable energy was to become a major issue in the closing stages, for a fifth SC intervention threw almost everyone's calculations into the air.
The fifth SC was required after contact between Lotterer and Edoardo Mortara left the #36 Porsche in the gravel at turn one, resulting in an awkward two lap SC intervention. When the race restarted da Costa crossed the line with a minute still left on the clock, meaning the entire field would have to complete two laps, rather than one as many had calculated.
A lap later and the energy crisis began, with da Costa dramatically slowing after crossing the line upon realising he had another lap to complete with only 2% battery left. de Vries, who had 4% battery left, instantly darted past and claimed victory at a canter, with da Costa instead opting to cruise around the circuit. He was passed by a host of drivers including Sims, Rowland, Nico Müller and Vandoorne, although he was too late to make up for the extra lap.
When the chequered flag flew at the end of lap 24 there were only nine drivers who would make it to the line with energy in their batteries. de Vries would, however, claim victory on the road and in the final results, with Müller and Vandoorne claiming podium finishes having managed to conserve energy at the back of the field. Nick Cassidy, René Rast, Robin Frijns, Lucas di Grassi, Jake Dennis and Jean-Éric Vergne claimed the remaining points as the only other finishers, with everyone else either having already retired, run out of battery, or ending up disqualified for crossing the line having used more than the permitted 33 kWh of energy.
For the fifth race and third round of the 2020/21 season, the Formula E field would head to the familiar sights of the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, the home of FE's pre-season testing since 2017. The trip to Valencia was the result of modifications made to the 2020/21 calendar in January 2021 as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, meaning that FE would hold its first race on a purpose built racing circuit in Europe. The Valencian circuit would be modified for FE's visit, however, with the middle sector effectively cut in two, the pitlane entrance moved, and a chicane placed on the start/finish straight to better adapt the circuit to FE's needs.
On the eve of the trip to Valencia the NIO 333 FE Team announced that they would be remaining in the series for the Generation 3 ruleset, meaning they would continue to race in the series from 2022/23 onward. The Chinese/British based outfit hence became the sixth manufacturer to commit to the third generation of FE, after signing a long-term partnership with research and development specialists Gusto Engineering. They had, however, missed the 31 March 2021 soft-deadline to announce their involvement in the new ruleset, meaning the Chinese squad would potentially face restrictions or delays in accessing data for the new base chassis.
Elsewhere, however, NIO would earn themselves a €5,000 fine (potentially rising to €25,000) for failing to immediately report a positive Covid-19 test to the Hygiene Board on the eve of the Valencia weekend.
A Final Format?
Ahead of the fifth race of the season the FIA and Formula E would unveil what it hoped to be the final version of the 2020/21 calendar, which saw several changes to the previous updated schedule. The Marrakesh and Santiago E-Prix were formally cancelled, while in their place would be a double-header round named the Puebla E-Prix in Mexico, which would be staged on a modified version of the Autódromo Miguel E. Abed on 19 - 20 June. The Series would then head to New York City for a double header at the start of July, followed by two runnings of the London E-Prix at the end of the same month, before the season concluded with two races in Berlin on 14 - 15 August.
Sam Bird had retained his status as the Championship leader as the field left Rome, the British ace having held onto a four point lead despite being taken out on the final tour in the second Rome race. His teammate Mitch Evans, meanwhile, had risen to second to leave the Italian capital as the Brit's closest competitor, with the New Zealander holding a five point advantage over Robin Frijns. Race winner Stoffel Vandoorne was next up ahead of his teammate Nyck de Vries, while André Lotterer and Jake Dennis had been left as the only non-scorers in the field.
In the Teams' Championship it was Jaguar Racing who had conquered Rome, the British squad having moved onto 82 points come the end of the fourth race of the campaign. They therefore held a seventeen point lead over the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team in second, with the German squad themselves some nineteen points clear of third placed DS Techeetah. Envision Virgin were next up ahead of the Porsche Formula E Team, while BMW-Andretti remained at the foot of the table.
The full entry list for the 2021 Valencia E-Prix I is displayed below:
Qualifying for the 2021 Valencia 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 top six drivers in the Championship arriving in Valencia would qualify in the first group of the session, meaning Championship leader Sam Bird would be one of the first drivers to set a time. He would be joined on track by his Jaguar Racing teammate Mitch Evans, as well as both of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team drivers, Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries. Robin Frijns would also be in action in the #4 Envision Virgin, as well as Pascal Wehrlein with his #99 Porsche.
Dark skies would gather over Valencia as qualifying got underway for the first Valencia E-Prix, although there were no spots of rain as de Vries led teammate Vandoorne out of the pitlane. They, as well as Frijns, would opt to complete warm-up/preparation laps, while Wehrlein and the Jaguars remained in the pits, planning to go straight into full power runs. Somewhat inevitably those three came out just as de Vries, Vandoorne and Frijns came past the pits, leading Wehrlein to run wide at turn one to let Frijns past, before diving ahead of the #4 Virgin as they came to start their flying laps, taking Bird with him.
Untroubled by the antics behind, however, it was de Vries who would complete his run first, with the Dutchman recording strong first and second sector times to set the benchmark at a 1:26.914. Teammate Vandoorne was next and duly chipped a fraction out of de Vries in the second and third sectors to go fastest by less than a tenth, while Wehrlein, who set an even quicker second sector than Vandoorne, slotted into third. Bird, meanwhile, would lead Frijns and Evans across the line, although after all of them locked up on the brakes for the final chicane, they ended up finishing the group in sixth, fifth and fourth respectively, with Jaguar keen to blame traffic for their lack of pace.
Group two would see those positioned seventh through twelfth in the early Championship standings set their quali-times, with the two DS Techeetahs headlining the group. Indeed, reigning Champion António Félix da Costa would be joined on track by teammate Jean-Éric Vergne as they looked to show their pace, in a group that would also feature quali-specialists Oliver Rowland of Nissan e.Dams, and Alexander Sims in the #29 Mahindra. Also in action would be Edoardo Mortara in the #48 ROKiT Venturi, as well as René Rast in the first of the factory Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler entries.
Unlike group one there would only be one driver who opted to complete a warm-up lap, with Rowland heading out of the pitlane early to prepare his brakes and tyres with an extra lap. Everyone else would bundle out of the pitlane at a similar time, with Mortara leading Sims, da Costa, Vergne and Rast out of the pitlane, albeit with some even spacing between them. Furthermore, they would all get onto the circuit ahead of Rowland, meaning the Brit would effectively be the last driver across the line to set a time, having already done a prep lap like the fastest drivers from group one.
Mortara was therefore the first driver in the group to set a time, although a nervous entry into turn one followed by a slide in turn four saw the Swiss racer only claim fifth overall come the end of his lap. His effort was hence instantly beaten by a cleaner run from Sims, before da Costa overcame a slide in the first corner by setting the fastest second and third sectors to go second between the two Mercedes. Vergne trailed his teammate by three tenths and end his run in sixth ahead of Rast, who was punished for a mistake in the second sector, while Rowland rounded out the group by claiming fourth at the end of his run.
The third sextet of the session saw those in the lower-middle quarter of the Championship get their turn at setting flying laps, in a group headlined by two former Champions. Indeed, the #11 Audi of Lucas di Grassi would go up against the #23 Nissan of Sébastien Buemi once again, with Maximilian Günther the only other race winner in the sextet. They would be joined by the Dragon/Penske duo of Sérgio Sette Câmara and Nico Müller, as well as the #8 NIO of Oliver Turvey.
It would be another completely different approach taken by the drivers in group three, with all six pilots deciding to complete warm-up laps rather than head straight into full power runs. First out would be Günther in the #28 BMW-Andretti, followed by Buemi, Turvey, di Grassi and Sette Câmara, with Müller waiting a couple of seconds longer before joining the fray at the back. Sette Câmara would then go on to pass di Grassi as they started their warm-up laps, and would then go lunging past Turvey into the chicane as the sextet came up to start their full power runs.
First to launch a lap was Günther, who showed full commitment into the opening corner en-route to setting a new fastest first sector of the session, although a small rear twitch through turn eight ultimately ended up leaving the German youth in second come the end of his run. Buemi trailed and set very strong first and second sectors to go fourth fastest, while Sette Câmara was an underwhelming fourteenth after his antics in the build-up to the final flyers. Turvey was similarly disappointed to end up last overall, di Grassi locked up at the chicane to end up sixteenth, while Müller slotted in between the latter duo after a relatively poor lap.
The fourth and final group of the session would see those in the final six positions join the session, on a circuit which, in theory, would have the best conditions of the session. The stand-out name of the group would be André Lotterer in the #36 Porsche, although Nick Cassidy of Envision Virgin, Norman Nato in the #71 Venturi, and Alex Lynn in the second Mahindra all had strong recent qualifying records. Also in action would be Tom Blomqvist in the second NIO, as well as Jake Dennis in the #27 BMW-Andretti, the latter having the worst qualifying average after the first four races.
For group four there would be a split decision on what was the best preparation for a flying lap, with four drivers opting to complete warm-up laps, while two would go straight into full power efforts. First out of the pitlane would be Cassidy with Dennis on his tail, followed by Lotterer and Blomqvist as Nato and Lynn remained in the pits. Those two duly darted out of their garages as the rest of the sextet came to start their warm-up laps, meaning those two would set their full power runs first, on a circuit that was showing very low track evolution compared to a conventional street circuit.
Nato was first to set a lap, and would combine strong first and third sectors with an okay second to go sixth fastest, only to be instantly bumped out of Super Pole contention by Lynn. Indeed, the Brit would stamp his authority over the rest of the group with a very strong second sector, using a notably tighter line through turn eight than anyone else, before climbing all over the inside kerb at turn twelve. Indeed, so strong was his run that Dennis and Cassidy completed their runs almost unnoticed, in-spite of the fact that Cassidy set a new fastest first sector, while Lotterer and Blomqvist claimed seventh and twentieth respectively.
First out into Super Pole would be de Vries, who knew that, regardless of where he qualified, he would be starting the race five places lower due to his penalty carried over from Rome. The Dutchman's lap opened with a slide in turn one, costing him time in the first sector, with another twitch at turn eight only overcome by a session fastest third sector, leaving de Vries on a 1:26.730. Buemi was next out and delivered a surprisingly slower opening sector, bettered de Vries' second sector, and then lost four tenths in the final sector to end up second, 0.323s down on the #17 Mercedes.
da Costa followed Buemi out onto the circuit, and would open his run with a nervous front end turning into turn one, although that and a wide line through turn four were not enough to prevent the #13 DS Techeetah from setting the fastest first sector of the session. An impressive second sector, taking a notably tight line through turns six and eight, would then carry da Costa to provisional pole with a 1:26.522, with Günther the next driver on track. The German youth's opening sector would prove to be more than a match for da Costa's, trailing by 0.06s, although mistakes in the second sector and through turn twelve left Günther in third at the end of his run.
Group one pace setter Vandoorne was the penultimate driver to set a time in Super Pole, with the Belgian racer under instruction to push harder on his out-lap after feedback from teammate de Vries after his run. That advice seemed to play on Vandoorne's mind, for a nervous but quick lap would follow, the Belgian ace battling twitches in turns one, six and eight en-route to a new benchmark time of 1:26.494. Only Lynn could deny the #5 Mercedes pole position, although after matching Vandoorne in the first sector, Lynn's pace would fade over the rest of the lap to leave him down in fifth.
There would be a late twist to qualifying, however, as Vandoorne's car failed post-qualifying scrutineering for using a tyre that was not listed on the #5 Mercedes technical passport, submitted before the session as the cars were in Parc Fermé conditions from the start of group qualifying. As a result Vandoorne had both his Super Pole and group stage times deleted and was excluded from the results of qualifying, leaving da Costa on pole, while de Vries' penalty would elevate Günther onto the front row ahead of Buemi and Lynn.
The final qualifying result for the 2021 Valencia E-Prix I are outlined below:
|2021 Valencia E-Prix I Qualifying Result|
|1st||13||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||1:26.522||—||1||G2|
|2nd*||17||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes||1:26.730||+0.208s||7*||G1|
|3rd||28||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:26.943||+0.421s||2||G3|
|4th||94||Alex Lynn||Mahindra Racing||1:27.022||+0.500s||3||G3|
|5th||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||1:27.053||+0.531s||5||G3|
|1st||94||Alex Lynn||Mahindra Racing||1:26.799||—||SP||G4|
|2nd||28||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:26.868||+0.069s||SP||G3|
|3rd||13||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||1:26.870||+0.071s||SP||G2|
|4th||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||1:26.876||+0.077s||SP||G3|
|5th||17||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes||1:26.914||+0.115s||SP||G1|
|6th||36||André Lotterer||Porsche Formula E Team||1:26.933||+0.134s||5||G4|
|7th||71||Norman Nato||ROKiT Venturi Racing||1:26.979||+0.180s||6||G4|
|8th||22||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.Dams||1:27.002||+0.203s||8||G2|
|9th||99||Pascal Wehrlein||Porsche Formula E Team||1:27.008||+0.209s||9||G1|
|10th||37||Nick Cassidy||Envision Virgin Racing||1:27.072||+0.273s||10||G4|
|11th||29||Alexander Sims||Mahindra Racing||1:27.109||+0.310s||12||G2|
|12th||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||1:27.157||+0.358s||11||G2|
|13th||27||Jake Dennis||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:27.177||+0.378s||13||G4|
|14th||33||René Rast||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:27.290||+0.491s||14||G2|
|15th||4||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||1:27.317||+0.518s||15||G1|
|16th||48||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||1:27.338||+0.539s||16||G2|
|17th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||1:27.442||+0.643s||17||G1|
|18th||7||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Dragon/Penske Autosport||1:27.456||+0.657s||18||G3|
|19th||88||Tom Blomqvist||NIO 333 FE Team||1:27.481||+0.682s||19||G4|
|20th||10||Sam Bird||Jaguar Racing||1:27.619||+0.820s||20||G1|
|21st||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:27.634||+0.835s||21||G3|
|22nd||6||Nico Müller||Dragon/Penske Autosport||1:27.644||+0.845s||22||G3|
|23rd||8||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 FE Team||1:28.524||+1.725s||23||G3|
|110% Time: 1:35.478|
|EXC†||5||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||1:26.839||24||G1|
- * de Vries would serve a five place grid penalty for causing a collision with Bird and Rowland at the 2021 Rome E-Prix II.
- † Vandoorne had all of his times from qualifying deleted after his car was found to have used a tyre that was not submitted on the technical passport.
Rain would arrive in Valencia as the field lined up on the dummy grid ahead of the start, meaning the track would be wet for the start of FE's maiden race on full purpose built race circuit. As a result Race Control would opt to start the race behind the Safety Car on safety grounds, although the combination of both the conditions and the early SC intervention would help to alleviate teams' collective fears of energy consumption around the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in race conditions. Elsewhere, Lucas di Grassi and Nico Müller were told they would serve penalties in the race, di Grassi for a gearbox and Müller for a technical infringement, meaning they would lose a lot of time at the start.
The field duly rolled of the grid behind the MINI Electric Pacesetter to start the race, with António Félix da Costa hence moving into the lead on a slippery circuit. After just one lap the MINI would disappear into the pits to leave da Costa to control the field for the start of the first flying lap, with the Portuguese racer opting to bolt as the field entered the chicane. A rear slide for da Costa showed that the concrete that the chicane was located on was particularly slippery, although the Portuguese racer would secure a small lead at the head of the field regardless.
The spray as the field ventured down the start/finish straight for the first time would result in drivers fanning out right across the circuit, with a wall of spray effectively ensuring that only the top four had a clear view into the first corner. Fortunately everyone would make it through the first corner without issue, with Alex Lynn in particular looking racey, the Brit even eyeing up a move on Maximilian Günther into turn four, although he thought better of it. Instead, it was further around the second tour that the first incident of the afternoon occurred, with Sébastien Buemi the unfortunate victim whose exit required the intervention of the SC.
As the field filed through turn eight and into turn nine Buemi would suffer a small slide, allowing André Lotterer to get a run around the outside of the #23 Nissan e.Dams, while Norman Nato tried the inside. The tight hairpin-esque turn nine then saw Buemi ease ahead of the duo on the brakes, only for Lotterer to misjudge his lunge down the inside of Nato, resulting in the #36 Porsche punting the right-rear of Buemi's Nissan. Buemi was sent into a half-spin that ended with the #23 Nissan facing in the wrong direction in the gravel on the outside of the corner, and still with the front of the car on the edge of the circuit, while several drivers had to take to the gravel to avoid the stranded Swiss ace.
After two laps and four minutes of running, resulting in a 4 kWh reduction in energy the SC returned to the pitlane, handing control of the race back to da Costa just as the rain began to intensify. The Portuguese racer would bolt entering turn twelve when the race resumed, with Günther slow to react allowing Lynn to close right back into his tail. Nyck de Vries would also close up onto the #94 Mahindra's tail in fourth, while behind Oliver Rowland got a run on Nato for fifth heading into turn one, but his half-look would be resisted by the #71 ROKiT Venturi.
The early laps saw da Costa break away from Günther, the #28 BMW-Andretti visibly struggling in the conditions compared to the rest of the front runners. Indeed, the rest of the top half of the field would find themselves stuck in a queue behind Günther, with René Rast the first to be knocked out of the peloton following contact with Sérgio Sette Câmara at turn eight which sent the #33 Audi scrambling across the gravel. Lynn, meanwhile, would try in vain to try and pass the #28 BMW in order to chase after da Costa with a lunge down the inside of turn four, although he would instead find himself slipping behind de Vries when the Dutchman ran around the outside of the #94 Mahindra to claim third.
Later around lap six de Vries would also force his way past Günther, scything down the inside of the BMW through turn twelve to claim second, before instantly jetting clear to hunt da Costa, now some three seconds clear. Lynn, meanwhile, would have to wait until the following tour before finally making his way past Günther, driving around the outside of the the German youth through turns two and three before seizing the inside line for turn four to reclaim third. Behind, meanwhile, Alexander Sims in the sister #29 Mahindra would make a late lunge into the chicane stick on Nato to claim sixth, although the Brit would tag the back of compatriot Rowland's car, while Lotterer was slapped with a drive-through penalty for punting Buemi out of the race on lap two.
Günther's pace remained noticeably poor even after those moves on him, with Rowland and Sims both making their way past the #28 BMW with little resistance on successive laps. On lap eleven Günther was put out of his misery by locking up on the brakes for turn two, which sent the #28 BMW into the gravel and out of the race. With Günther beached and in a dangerous position the SC was scrambled once again, drawing da Costa back into the sights of de Vries, who had chipped a few tenths out of the #13 DS Techeetah's impressive early lead since elbowing his way past Günther, as well as gaining ground when da Costa armed Attack Mode prior to the SC.
At the third restart, which came after a three minute intervention and 3 kWh energy reduction, da Costa would bolt entering turn twelve, although de Vries was able to go with the #13 Techeetah, and prompt a twitch from da Costa entering the chicane. da Costa would, however, manage to hold the lead into turn one of the following tour, de Vries instead tucking himself under the Techeetah's tail, while behind Sims forced his way past Rowland around the outside of turn one and into turn two. Elsewhere, several drivers would go to arm their first Attack Modes of the race, with Nato, Pascal Wehrlein, Robin Frijns and Nick Cassidy all activating the boost.
Two laps later and the SC was back out for a fourth time, this time to cover an incident that had left Sette Câmara stuck at turn nine after contact with Mitch Evans. After Stoffel Vandoorne had slid off the greasy track at turn eight, Evans had tried to take advantage by lunging down the inside of an unsighted Sette Câmara, having armed AM in the same moment. Unfortunately his lunge into turn nine would end with the #20 Jaguar elbowing the #7 Dragon/Penske into the gravel after contact at the apex and out, while Evans received a grid penalty and race ending damage.
With debris and another stranded car to remove the SC intervention would last for five minutes, taking another 5 kWh out of the drivers' energy allowance as da Costa set about controlling the restart. This time, in a bid to break from de Vries, da Costa would wait until the exit of the chicane to make his break away, with de Vries making a minor mistake and dropping back courtesy of a slide on exit. da Costa then used FanBoost to open out his lead a little bit more on the run out of turn six, enabling him to arm his second and final AM boost without dropping behind de Vries.
Around eight minutes remained in the race after eighteen laps had been completed, with drivers still relatively comfortable with energy for the remaining predicted race distance. Indeed, there were still battles to be had, with Nato losing out to Wehrlein when he armed AM, only to go side-by-side with the #99 Porsche through turns two through five before reclaiming sixth. Wehrlein was subsequently mugged by Frijns on the exit of turn five, with Cassidy firing the sister #37 Envision Virgin past into turn six, with Sam Bird likewise firing past the German youth on the run to turn seven, Wehrlein having been forced to run off the drying racing line for over half a lap.
The Virgin pincer movement carried on into the following tour, with both inheriting a position when Nato put himself into the gravel at turn six, before they moved into the mirrors of Lynn. Frijns made his move down the inside of the #94 Mahindra into turn four to claim fifth, clambering over the inside kerb to do so, with Cassidy taking instant advantage to lunge inside Lynn into turn five. However, their progress would be instantly stunned by a fifth SC of the afternoon, after contact between Lotterer and Edoardo Mortara left the #36 Porsche in the gravel at turn one.
Lotterer was both the aggressor and the victim, with the #36 Porsche clipping the back of Mortara as the Swiss racer tried to sweep around the outside of the German veteran into turn one. Mortara went into a full pirouette but had enough momentum in the #48 Venturi to keep going across the gravel, while Lotterer skidded to a stop fully imbedded in the trap. Another five minute SC intervention and a 5 kWh energy reduction would follow, with da Costa left to control the restart with one minute still on the clock.
That energy reduction was crucial to the outcome of the race, for da Costa was suddenly left with just 3% battery to complete two full laps at racing speed, with the Portuguese racer simply unable to burn a full minute of time before the end of the final sector. As a result the #13 DS Techeetah would have no option but to bolt, with no one at Techeetah seemingly realising that the following lap would not be the final lap. As a result da Costa would complete the following lap at full speed, only to come across the line and not see the chequered flag, with only 1% battery left to run with.
da Costa instantly stamped on the brakes, entering a limp-home mode in a bid to complete the final tour without using more than the permitted energy. de Vries, who still had 4% after Mercedes judged the energy management requirements of the race perfectly, instantly darted past, with Sims, who only had 1% battery like da Costa, would also pass. de Vries went on to complete the final tour at a relatively strong place to claim victory, as behind chaos erupted as drivers hit 0% at various points of the final tour.
In the chaos Rowland and Sims would finish on track on the podium, although they were quickly disqualified from the results for using too much energy during the race. That elevated Müller, who had shot up to fourth on the final tour having conserved energy during the race, into second, while a heavily delayed Vandoorne ended up in third, having served a penalty for shoving Müller off track mid-race. Cassidy and Rast also made it to the chequered flag with some charge remaining, as would Jean-Éric Vergne after a stunning final lap that took the Frenchman 5:48.117 to complete, at an average speed of 34.9 kph.
Unsurprisingly there would be a flood of penalties post-race as drivers hit 0% around the fastest lap, meaning the final results of the race were up in the air for several hours. Ultimately, de Vries was the unquestioned victor, while Müller and Vandoorne retained their podium finishes from the provisional results, with Cassidy and Rast likewise holding onto their top five finishes. Frijns secured sixth and fastest lap ahead of Lucas di Grassi and Jake Dennis, while Vergne's anti-mega lap was enough for him to claim ninth, four minutes behind de Vries as the last classified finisher.
In contrast, Rowland, Sims, da Costa, Lynn and Bird were all disqualified from the results for using more than the allocated amount of energy (33 kWh after the SC deductions). Elsewhere, Oliver Turvey, Tom Blomqvist and Norman Nato were unable to be classified, the former duo for stopping in the pits at the end of the final tour, while Nato stopped at the end of the penultimate tour, all having run out of energy. The remaining drivers were all unclassified due to retiring during the race, resulting in FE setting a new Series record for fewest finishers, and questions over the rules regarding Safety Cars and energy reductions.
The final classification of the 2021 Valencia E-Prix I is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2021 Valencia E-Prix I Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||17||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||24||48:20.547||1:40.713||25|
|2nd||6||Nico Müller||Dragon/Penske Autosport||24||+13.128s||1:41.723||18|
|3rd*||5||Stoffel Vandoorne||Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team||24||+34.886s||1:41.813||15|
|4th||37||Nick Cassidy||Envision Virgin Racing||24||+36.903s||1:41.530||12|
|5th||33||René Rast||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||24||+51.650s||1:42.150||10|
|6th||4||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||24||+52.985s||1:39.611||9|
|7th†||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||24||+2:41.946||1:42.463||6|
|8th||27||Jake Dennis||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||24||+3:07.061||1:41.904||4|
|9th||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||24||+4:19.582||1:43.012||2|
|DSQ‡||22||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.Dams||24||Disqualified||1:40.538|
|DSQ‡||29||Alexander Sims||Mahindra Racing||24||Disqualified||1:40.187|
|DSQ‡||13||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||24||Disqualified||1:39.625||3|
|DSQ‡||94||Alex Lynn||Mahindra Racing||24||Disqualified||1:40.814||1G|
|DSQ‡||10||Sam Bird||Jaguar Racing||24||Disqualified||1:41.106|
|NC§||8||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 FE Team||24||+1:58.342||1:41.840|
|NC§||88||Tom Blomqvist||NIO 333 FE Team||24||+2:01.290||1:42.854|
|NCƒ||71||Norman Nato||ROKiT Venturi Racing||23||+1 Lap||1:41.837|
|Ret||48||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||20||Damage||1:41.594|
|Ret||99||Pascal Wehrlein||Porsche Formula E Team||19||Brakes||1:41.102|
|Ret||36||André Lotterer||Porsche Formula E Team||18||Collision||1:40.608|
|Ret♠||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||15||Collision||1:41.409|
|Ret||7||Sérgio Sette Câmara||Dragon/Penske Autosport||14||Collision||1:40.869|
|Ret||28||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||10||Accident||1:42.650|
|Ret||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||1||Collision||2:17.213|
- Indicates a driver was awarded FanBoost during the race.
- G Indicates a driver claimed a bonus point for setting the fastest lap in the group stage of qualifying.
- * Vandoorne served a five second time penalty for forcing Müller off track, as well as a ten second time penalty for failing to use his full Attack Mode boost.
- † di Grassi was handed a drive through penalty, converted to a 30 second time penalty, for failing to use his second AM boost.
- ‡ Rowland, Sims, da Costa, Lynn and Bird were all disqualified for using more than the allotted 33 kWh of energy during the race.
- § Turvey and Blomqvist were unable to be classified as they crossed the finish line in the pitlane.
- ƒ Nato was unable to be classified as he did not complete the final lap.
- ♠ Evans was awarded a three place grid penalty for the 2021 Valencia E-Prix II for causing a collision with Sette Câmara.
- First Valencia E-Prix to be staged.
- Also the first E-Prix to be held in Spain.
- 50th start for Robin Frijns.
- Fifth pole position for António Félix da Costa.
- Second career victory for Nyck de Vries.
- Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team claimed their fourth victory as an entrant.
- Fourth win for a Mercedes powertrain.
- Maiden podium finish for Nico Müller.
- Maiden points finish for Jake Dennis.
- Fewest number of recorded finishers for an E-Prix - 9.
The late insanity at the end of the first battle of Valencia had caused a lot of changes to the Championship table, with Nyck de Vries ascending back to the head of the field. The Dutch youth was now joined at the top of the table by teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, leading the Belgian racer by nine points, while former leader Sam Bird had slipped to third after his disqualification from the race. Robin Frijns and Mitch Evans had also lost ground but remained in the top five, while André Lotterer was left as the only pointless driver in the field after Jake Dennis survived to claim his maiden points finish.
With their drivers rising to first and second in the Drivers' Championship there was little surprise that the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team headed the Teams' Championship after the first race in Valencia, having moved onto 105 points for the campaign. Jaguar Racing had hence slipped to second, and dropped 23 points behind, while Envision Virgin Racing had moved into third on 58. DS Techeetah were next up in fourth, but had less than half the points of the leaders, while BMW-Andretti were off the foot of the table and, having moved ahead of the NIO 333 FE Team.
Videos and Images:
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- 'DHL becomes Race Title Partner for the 2021 DHL Valencia E-Prix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 16/04/2021), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2021/april/dhl-valencia-e-prix, (Accessed 17/04/2021)
- 'Vandoorne hustles Mercedes to Julius Baer Pole Position for the DHL Valencia E-Prix Round 5', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/04/2021), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2021/april/valencia-e-prix-round-5-qualifying-report-vandoorne-pole, (Accessed 24/04/2021)
- 'ROUND 5 & 6 - VALENCIA E-PRIX 23 - 25 APRIL 2021', results.fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/04/2021), https://fe-noticeboard.s3.amazonaws.com/06_2020-21/04_R05%20Valencia/ABB%20FIA%20Formula%20E%20World%20Championship/057_Doc%2057%20-%20Decision%20No.%2017.pdf#pdfjs.action=download, (Accessed 24/04/2021)
- 'Mercedes-EQ's Nyck de Vries wins crazy DHL Valencia E-Prix Round 5, fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/04/2021), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2021/april/valencia-e-prix-round-5-report-de-vries, (Accessed 24/04/2021)
- Sam Smith, 'FORMULA E’S VERSION OF VALENCIA TRACK LAYOUT REVEALED', the-race.com, (The Race, 02/04/2021), https://the-race.com/formula-e/formula-es-version-of-valencia-track-layout-revealed/, (Accessed 17/04/2021)
- Rachit Thukral, 'NIO 333 latest team to sign up for Formula E's Gen3 era', autosport.com, (Motorsport Network, 22/04/2021), https://www.autosport.com/formula-e/news/nio-333-latest-team-to-sign-up-for-formula-es-gen3-era/6397548/, (Accessed 22/04/2021)
- 'ROUND 5 & 6 - VALENCIA E-PRIX 23 - 25 APRIL 2021: Decision No. 2', results.fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 22/04/2021), https://results.fiaformulae.com/en/noticeboard#page=1&zoom=auto,-129,842, (Accessed 23/04/2021)
- 'Formula E and FIA reveal full calendar for 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 22/04/2021), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2021/april/full-2020-2021-calendar-update, (Accessed 22/04/2021)
- 'Entry list confirmed for 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 11/12/2020), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2020/december/2020-21-formula-e-confirmed-entry-list-fia, (Accessed 11/02/2021)
- 'ROUND 5 & 6 - VALENCIA E-PRIX 23 - 25 APRIL 2021: Qualifying Groups - ROUND 5', results.fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 25/04/2021), https://fe-noticeboard.s3.amazonaws.com/06_2020-21/05_R05%20Valencia/ABB%20FIA%20Formula%20E%20World%20Championship/033_Doc%2033%20-%20Qualifying%20Groups.pdf#pdfjs.action=download, (Accessed 25/04/2021)
- Cite error: Invalid
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- 'ROUND 5 & 6 - VALENCIA E-PRIX 23 - 25 APRIL 2021: Decision No. 32', results.fiaformuale.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/04/2021), https://fe-noticeboard.s3.amazonaws.com/06_2020-21/04_R05%20Valencia/ABB%20FIA%20Formula%20E%20World%20Championship/094_Doc%2094%20-%20Decision%20No.%2032.pdf, (Accessed 24/04/2021)
- 'ROUND 5 & 6 - VALENCIA E-PRIX 23 - 25 APRIL 2021: Fan Boost - Round 5', results.fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 24/04/2021), https://fe-noticeboard.s3.amazonaws.com/06_2020-21/04_R05%20Valencia/ABB%20FIA%20Formula%20E%20World%20Championship/069_Doc%2069%20-%20Bulletin%20No.%205.pdf#pdfjs.action=download, (Accessed 24/04/2021)
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|2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship|
|Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler • BMW i Andretti Motorsport • Dragon/Penske Autosport • DS Techeetah • Envision Virgin Racing • Jaguar Racing • Mahindra Racing • Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team • NIO 333 FE Team • Nissan e.Dams • ROKiT Venturi Racing • TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team|
|Audi • BMW • DS • Jaguar • Mahindra & Mahindra • Mercedes-Benz • NIO • Nissan • Penske • Porsche|
|Audi e-tron FE07 • BMW iFE.21 • DS E-Tense FE20 • DS E-Tense FE 21 • Jaguar I-Type V • Mahindra M7Electro • Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 • NIO 333 FE 001 • Nissan IM02 • Nissan IM03 • Penske EV-4 • Penske EV-5 • Porsche 99X Electric|
|4 Robin Frijns • 5 Stoffel Vandoorne • 6 Nico Müller/Joel Eriksson • 7 Sérgio Sette Câmara • 8 Oliver Turvey • 10 Sam Bird • 11 Lucas di Grassi • 13 António Félix da Costa • 17 Nyck de Vries • 20 Mitch Evans • 22 Oliver Rowland • 23 Sébastien Buemi • 25 Jean-Éric Vergne • 27 Jake Dennis • 28 Maximilian Günther • 29 Alexander Sims • 33 René Rast • 36 André Lotterer • 48 Edoardo Mortara • 71 Norman Nato • 88 Tom Blomqvist • 94 Alex Lynn • 99 Pascal Wehrlein|
|Diriyah I • Diriyah II • Rome I • Rome II • Valencia I • Valencia II • Monaco • Puebla I • Puebla II • New York City I • New York City II • London I • London II • Berlin I • Berlin II|
|Marrakesh E-Prix • Mexico City E-Prix • Paris E-Prix • Santiago E-Prix • Sanya E-Prix • Seoul E-Prix|
|2019/20 • 2021/22|