It all came down to the last braking of the port chicane, the only “special FE” bend (see box), when Da Costa attacked the Jaguar de Mitch Evans, in delicacy with his energy. “I really tried everything during the last laps,” said “DAC” just after the finish. “But I have to admit that Robin (Frijns) and Mitch (Evans) were super fair and I like that mentality. We should start a business together, I’m sure they would be great partners! Robin Frijns, the new leader of the championship after his second place, also seemed to have liked the atmosphere. “It was fun to fight on the track with Mitch and Tonio from start to finish,” said the Envision Virgin Racing driver. ” It was difficult but in the end everything went well, the last five laps were crazy. Overall, after the fiasco in Valence (see AUTOhebdo n ° 2309 of April 28), it is true that Monaco gave the series some color with an interesting race, which saw a large number of overtaking and changes of leader for this first on the long version of the circuit. “I think this track is better suited to FE than to F1,” says Jean-Eric Vergne. There are a lot more overtaking, and the spectacle was there. “
Qualifications with twists and turns
After two free practice sessions won by the Jaguars of Sam Bird et Mitch Evans, at noon, for the qualifications, the outside temperature is 20 ° C (and 32 ° C on the track). It is ideal for batteries as well as for tires. Group 1 suffers as always from a slightly greener track. Moreover, three pilots from group 2 –Vergne, Wehrlein and Rowland- immediately reach the top 6. Da Costa and Cassidy do the same from group 3, then the session of the last sextet will be disrupted by the exit of the track. Sette Câmara. The red flag was activated, then when the car was cleared, Sebastien buemi and Tom Blomqvist, embarrassed, will be allowed to do a quick lap again. Without success: Frijns, Evans, Günther, Da Costa, Vergne and Rowland are in super pole position. Rowland does an honest lap, immediately improved by JEV. It was then that Da Costa would make better use of the potential of his DS Techeetah to settle on provisional pole. Günther won’t do better, and Mitch Evans takes all the risks. It brushes against the walls, but that won’t be enough. Frijns, best time in qualifying groups, will also fail. Pole position then went to Da Costa, for 12 thousandths of a second. ” After the pole in Valencia and the frustration generated by the race, I’m happy to put my car in the lead, commented the DS driver Techeetah just after his performance. In addition, starting on pole here is even more of an advantage than elsewhere. So, now we have to believe it. »And he will be right …
A lively race
Da Costa made a successful start and took the lead. The Grand Hôtel hairpin, which many feared, generates a little friction. Sims will pay the price and quit. After a few laps, Da Costa will be dispossessed of his leading position by Frijns, then will be overtaken by Evans and Vergne, his teammate. A sort of routine sets in, each following their own energy strategy. But since an E-Prix only lasts 45 minutes plus a lap, the action doesn’t take long to return. Günther joins in the debates, and weapon passes are numerous. The modes Attack help the show and encourage overtaking. In the second part of the race, Rast hits a wall and gives up. It will be the only intervention of the safety car, for six minutes. In the recovery, it is Evans who even the debates. But he has to manage his energy, and Da Costa wants to be urgent. It was then that the DS Techeetah rider played his game on the braking of the chicane in the port, on the last lap. He attacks Evans, blocks his wheels, but stays on the track and passes. He takes off to the finish line. Frijns, who took advantage of Evans cutting the chicane for the second time at the E-Prix, finished just ahead of the New Zealand driver. Vergne, who could have hoped for better, finished 4th, ahead of Günther, Rowland, Bird and Cassidy. Lynn and Di Grassi complete the top 10. Robin Frijns takes the lead in the championship, which now sees 10 drivers in less than 30 points, the maximum to be won in a race. The next two rounds of Formula E will take place in Puebla (Mexico) on June 19 and 20 on a permanent circuit.
Antonio Félix da Costa, DS Techeetah driver
“I hope you can come here every year rather than every two years”
Was the overtaking Evans on the last lap a gamble or was it part of your race plan?
It was a gamble. I knew my limits to trigger my braking, I did it at the right time and it was just right. I blocked the wheels a bit but I was able to keep my line. It was impeccable.
What are your impressions of this new circuit?
I really like ! I think continuing to use the small track would have been a mistake. Everyone agrees that the cars are not at all ridiculous here, that there is speed and that the energy management makes it possible to put on a show. Hope you can come here every year rather than every two years.
Was the energy management complicated?
Objectively, it was necessary to be solid on this point. And curiously, we are close to what we had done in Valence! The track is long, we had a lot of little racing facts, I started in front… We also had a few laps behind the safety car, but the comparison will end there. The big difference is that here we have shown the best of Formula E, that the race can be spectacular and fun. It was a very good demonstration, which I hope will make Valencia forget.
DS and the Prince
HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco took the wheel of a 360 hp DS 9 E-TENSE 4X4 between practice and qualifying. DS Automobiles was also a partner of EVER Monaco, where the sovereign had already taken the wheel of a 225 hp version between the Palace and the exhibition.
Discussions have been initiated so that the race becomes annual and not every two years. This raises the question of the organization of the Historic GP, already scheduled for next year, but it should be noted that in 2021, complicated by the health crisis, Monaco will already organize three races …
Following the Valence debacle (see AUTOhebdo n ° 2309 of April 28) it was decided that no energy deduction following the intervention of the safety car could take place after the 40th minute of the race. This will allow everyone to finish normally …
Back to the future
So that the lap times are not directly comparable between Formula 1 and Formula E, the FIA had asked the Automobile-Club de Monaco to create changes to the track. Two had been validated: the Sainte-Dévote bend, which was to return to its original configuration (1929), and the port chicane, just after the tunnel, which was to be accentuated. But, in the simulator, the teams realized that the pit exit lane was too close to the rope point. At the start of last week, the FIA therefore sent a request back to the ACM to put the corner back in F1 configuration. The chicane of the port was then the only difference with the usual circuit, approaching its 3338 m (3318 for the FE). “It’s no use, they would have done better to leave the circuit as it was, regrets Jean-Eric Vergne, DS Techeetah driver. This is also the opinion of many pilots questioned elsewhere. Next time maybe ?
Qualifications (super pole for the first 6):
1. F. Da Costa (DS Techeetah) 1’31”317
2. R. Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing) 1’31’’329
3. M. Evans (Jaguar Racing) 1’31’’368
4. J.E. Vergne (DS Techeetah) 1’31’’376
5. M. Günther (BMW i Andretti) 1’31’’817
6. O. Rowland (Nissan-e.dams) 1’31”850
7. N. Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing) 1’31’’853
8. P. Wehrlein (Tag Heuer Porsche) 1’31”900
9. A. Lynn (Mahindra Racing) 1’31’’952
10. N. Born (Rokit Venturi Racing) 1’31”964
11. R. Rast (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler) 1’32”125
12. A. Sims (Mahindra Racing) 1’32’’146
13. S. Buemi (Nissan e.dams) 1’32”209
14. J. Dennis (BMW I Andretti) 1’32’’247
15. S. Vandoorne (Mercedes EQ) 1’32’’277
16. S. Bird (Jaguar Racing) 1’32’’281
17. L. Di Grassi (Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler) 1’32”303
18. E. Mortara (Rokit Venturi Racing) 1’32 ” 329
19. A. Lotterer (Tag Heuer Porsche Motorsport) 1’32”339
20. N. Müller (Dragon/Penske Racing) 1’32’’344
21. T. Blomqvist (NIO 333) 1’32”630
22. O. Turvey (NIO 333 Racing) 1’32’’633
23. N. de Vries (Mercedes EQ) 1’33”070.
Unclassified: S. Sette Câmara (Dragon / Penske Autosport)
1. AF Da Costa in 47’20”697
2. R. Frijns at 2”648
3. M. Evans at 2”872
4. JE Vergne à 3”120
5. M. Günther à 3’’270
6. O. Rowland à 3”865
7. S. Bird à 4’’150
8. N. Cassidy at 4”852
9. A. Lynn à 5’’799
10. L. Di Grassi at 6”225 MT
11. JE Vergne 1’34”697
FanBoost: Vandoorne, Da Costa, Bird, De Vries, Vergne
Championships after seven races
Pilotes : 1. R. Frijns 62, 2. N. De Vries 57, 3. M. Evans 54, 4. A.F. Da Costa 54, 5. S. Bird 49, M. Evans 54, 6. S. Vandoorne 48, 7. J.E. Vergne 46, 8. R. Rast 39, 9. O. Rowland 35, 10. J. Dennis 33, 11. E. Mortara 32, 12. P. Wehrlein 32, 13. N. Müller 30, 14. A. Sims 24, 15. A. Lynn 23, 16. M. Günther 22, 17. N. Cassidy 19, 18. A. Lotterer, 19. L. Di Grassi 14,
20. O. Turvey 13, 21. S. Sette Câmara 12, 22. S. Buemi 11, 23. N. Nato 11, 24. T. Blomqvist 5
Equipes : 1. Mercedes-Benz EQ 105 Pts, 2. Jaguar Racing 103, 3. DS Techeetah 98, 4. Envision Virgin Racing 81, 5. BMW i Andretti Motorsport 55 6. Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler 53, 7. Tag Heuer Porsche Motorsport 50, 8. Mahindra Racing 47, 9. Nissan e.dams 46, 10. Rokit Venturi Racing 43, Dragon/Penske Autosport 42, 11. 12. NIO 333 Racing 18