Just Electric

New York City E-Prix: eight in contention, only one can win…

Eight drivers head into the final weekend of FIA Formula E with a mathematical chance of taking the title. DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne is the driver in the strongest position to win the Season 5 title and retain his drivers’ championship status.

The Frenchman has a 32-point lead over nearest rival Lucas di Grassi with 58 points available over the double header in New York.

Vergne can even clinch the title on Saturday, the first race of the weekend, if di Grassi fails to outscore him by four points.

If di Grassi is… …And neither are on pole, Vergne needs… …And Vergne is on pole, Vergne needs… …And di Grassi is on pole, Vergne needs…
2nd 3rd 4th 1st
3rd 4th 5th or 6th + FL 2nd
4th 5th or 6th + FL 7th 3rd
5th 6th or 7th + FL 8th 4th
6th 7th or 8th + FL 9th or 10th+FL 5th
7th 8th or 9th + FL Champion 6th
8th 10th Champion 7th
9th Champion Champion 8th or 10th + FL
10th Champion Champion 9th

While drivers such as Daniel Abt, di Grassi’s team-mate at Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler, would need nothing short of a miracle to claim the title, di Grassi will know that anything can happen in Formula E after he overturned a 10-point deficit heading into the Montreal E-Prix in Season 3 to take the title.

While the numerical value may almost be three times as high as it was in Season 3, di Grassi will be able to use this to know it can be done.

The contenders

8 – Daniel Abt – Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler

Abt is in contention by virtue of his season-long consistency rather than his outright pace this season. The German made a step forward in Season 4, when he claimed his first victory, but has not shown that pace as much this season.

He is 55 points behind with 58 points available so short of taking the pole, fastest lap and win in both races – and everyone above him not scoring – it seems unlikely Abt will take the title.

7 – Sebastien Buemi – Nissan e.dams

It’s arguably a season of “what if?” for both Buemi and Nissan. On occasions the package has shown potential, qualifying on pole four times across the season.

But in the race it’s been a different matter and the outfit has struggled to maximise its results. Errors from drivers and teams across the season have meant Buemi is barely in the title challenge as he trails by 54 points.

Like Abt, Buemi needs a minor miracle.

6 – Robin Frijns – Envision Virgin Racing

Frijns claimed his first Formula E victory this season and has been consistently quick throughout. Three non-scores in the last three races have led to him falling down the order, and he trails Vergne by 49 points.

He doesn’t need quite as much to go his way to take the title but it seems unlikely the Dutchman will be able to in Season 5.

It is worth remembering this is his comeback season in Formula E after a year on the sidelines.

5 – Antonio Felix da Costa – BMW i Andretti Motorsport

If the world was a fairer place, both da Costa and BMW team-mate Alexander Sims would be in title contention right now. If Sims didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck at all and that is why he’s languishing down in 16th place with only three points-scoring finishes all season.

His team-mate has had luck on his side this season, though, and is in the title hunt with a deficit of 48 points as he leads Frijns by one.

Like Frijns, though, da Costa is an outside bet for the title given the deficit but given the pace BMW have shown on occasion it isn’t impossible – though very unlikely.

4 – Andre Lotterer – DS Techeetah

Like Sims, Lotterer is another one who could argue luck hasn’t been on his side this season. He scored no points in Hong Kong when he was leading after contact from Sam Bird, and he has not claimed a single win this season despite having the pace to do so.

Lotterer should be a lot closer to his team-mate than the 44 points he is but the 2012 World Endurance Champion has an outside chance of taking the title.

Like everyone in this list, though, there is also a good chance it could be over after the first race of the weekend.

3 – Mitch Evans – Jaguar Racing

This was the season Jaguar properly arrived in Formula E. After a troubled first season, a second season of progression and a maiden podium, their third season was when Jaguar returned to the top step of the podium after Evans’ fantastic duel with Lotterer in Rome.

It means the Kiwi has an outside chance of taking the title because, like Abt, he’s been consistent in a season where consistency has been key.

Evans trails Vergne by 43 points (there is a superb battle for third place in the standings going on at the same time) heading into the double-header.

2 – Lucas di Grassi – Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler

Di Grassi is in the best position to stop Vergne taking a second consecutive title, although it is also an outside chance for him too.

He can take the title fight into the final race of the season by outscoring Vergne by four points – reducing the deficit from 32 to 28 points.

This is easier said than done, however, against arguably the best driver in Formula E right now.

That said, everyone knows di Grassi is a master of getting results when the odds are against him…

1 – Jean-Eric Vergne – DS Techeetah

Vergne is the clear favourite as he heads into the final two races with a 32-point advantage over his nearest challenger.

It should, in theory, be straight forward for Vergne: don’t get outscored by four points on Saturday and if he does, use his points advantage on Sunday to take the title.

Obviously in Formula E, nothing is ever straight forward.

It is a great chance for Vergne to become the first driver in Formula E history to win two drivers’ titles and, with his current advantage over the rest of the field, you wouldn’t bet against it.

Jack Amey

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