- Jaguar TCS Racing driver Mitch Evans wins historic ABB FIA Formula E World Championship race in Berlin featuring record-breaking 190 overtakes, 53 lead changes and eight different leaders
- Sam Bird takes second while Maximillian Günther claims first Formula E podium for Maserati MSG Racing in third.
- The second race in the 2023 SABIC Berlin E-Prix double-header takes place on Sunday, 23 April.
Mitch Evans and Sam Bird executed a perfect strategy in the opening race of the 2023 SABIC Berlin E-Prix double-header to secure a show-stopping one-two for team Jaguar TCS Racing on Saturday. Maximillian Günther in third put the iconic Maserati trident on the podium for the first time since returning to single-seater motorsport this season following a hiatus of more than 60 years.
In a deeply strategic yet fiercely competitive race, the capacity crowd filling the grandstands of the Tempelhof Airport Circuit witnessed 190 overtakes, 53 lead changes and eight different leaders taking charge – all breaking previous Formula E records.
Round 7 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship saw Berlin – the only-ever present city on the Formula E calendar and was the first time a German driver and team – Pascal Wehrlein and his TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E team – were both leading the points standings going into their home race.
The race was also the European debut of the GEN3 – the world’s fastest, lightest, most powerful and efficient electric race car.
Throughout the 43 laps, a record number of drivers took charge of the race as the teams’ strategies emerged, with an early surge of front-runners electing to take ATTACK MODE early on and those further back running for longer.
Dan Ticktum (NIO 333 Racing) launched into the lead in stunning style with a move around the outside of Turn 1, right by Julius Baer Polesitter Sébastien Buemi (Envision Racing), Sam Bird (Jaguar TCS Racing) and Stoffel Vandoorne (DS PENSKE).
After the lead group jumped for their second 50kW boosts, the racing settled for just three laps before Edoardo Mortara (Maserati MSG Racing) and Vandoorne pushed to the front. Glancing at the timing screens yielded a different race leader at almost every stage as positions changed almost continuously. The first of two spells under the Safety Car compounded things further with the field split by just over five seconds going into the second half of the race.
Quick-starting Ticktum had been shuffled into the top 10 until he and Vandoorne came into heavy contact, deploying the Safety Car for the second time. The Jaguar pair and Buemi then fought to fill out the top three spots after Günther had briefly taken P1 as the race headed into its closing stages. The Jaguar-powered cars went on to assert their new-found dominance and pace, with Günther looking to pick up the pieces as the front three challenged for the race lead.
Evans managed to edge second-placed Bird on the exit of the hairpin with a good run down the start/finish straight to make a lunge into Turn 1 stick for the lead on Buemi as the race headed into three added laps. The Kiwi was able to get the jump and pull away, extending a 0.750s lead with two full laps remaining as Bird hassled Buemi for second just behind in the sprint to the finish.
Bird’s incessant efforts paid off as he took the gamble to brake late in the approach to the Airplane turn and squeeze by Buemi for the second spot, sealing Jaguar TCS Racing’s first one-two in Formula E.
Günther then broke the Jaguar-power stranglehold as he fired up the inside of Buemi at the final turn to prevent a second consecutive 1-2-3 for the I-TYPE 6. The Maserati MSG Racing’s podium is the first under the Italian marque and builds nicely for the Monegasque/Italian team following an unexpectedly disappointing start to the season as they head to their two ‘home’ races in Monaco on 6 May and the Rome doubleheader on 15 and 16 July.
Mitch Evans, said: “The last race was special having us both on the podium and also with Nick, all Jaguar powertrains on the podium. At this one, it’s extra special because it’s a 1-2 for the team and a really hard race to manage. It got a bit chaotic out there. I wasn’t expecting a victory in this place. This place has haunted me for many years. So super happy to get a second win, but here it was unexpected. It’s full credit to everyone. Sam drove really well. He’s been quick all day. I was surprised to get in the front bunch so early. There was a lot of games being played out there and it was hard to manage but we got it done.”
The second race in the 2023 SABIC Berlin E-Prix double-header takes place on Sunday, 23 April.