until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula E

Cassidy and Jaguar master frenetic Berlin Formula E opener

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Jaguar driver Nick Cassidy became 2024’s first repeat winner in a typically frantic first Formula E race in Berlin, and took the championship lead in the process.

Cassidy and his team pulled off a strategic masterpiece from ninth place on the grid, running towards the back for much of the race before working their way to the front and breaking away to enable an eventual winning margin of 4.651 seconds.

Held on a brand new layout at the otherwise ever-familiar Tempelhof Airport venue, the Saturday race in particular - scheduled for a distance of two laps more than the Sunday follow-up - was widely anticipated to be another peloton-style melee, and played out in exactly that way.

It meant frantic changes of position and inevitable attrition, primarily through front wing damage and punctures, with two separate safety car periods breaking up the action.

The first one was a consequence of Joel Eriksson - the Envision Jaguar stand-in, with it fielding an all new line-up due to both its regular drivers being on World Endurance Championship duties at Spa - parking up with damage to his right rear suspension after 11 laps, as consequence of a collision with fellow stand-in Kelvin van der Linde (Abt Cupra).

The second followed just short of the 30-lap mark, as local hero Maximilian Guenther had the right endplate of his front wing nicked by Edoardo Mortara's Mahindra coming out of the hairpin-like Turn 9 - with Guenther's Maserati MSG car immediately rendered undriveable and taking him into the barriers across the track, nearly collecting McLaren's Jake Hughes in the process.

Amid all that, it had been poleman Mortara, the factory Porsches and the DS Penskes occupying the leading positions for the most part - although DS's race strategy took a hit when Stoffel Vandoorne was muscled down the order and then slowed further by a bottleneck collision between Dan Ticktum and Lucas di Grassi.

Di Grassi, who was ruled out of the race by the coming together, said he had been "t-boned", blaming ERT driver Ticktum for the incident - with the stewards concurring, handing Ticktum a five-second penalty post-race.

Because of the two safety car interruptions, the race continued in that pack style even beyond the original scheduled end point - with the 40-lap distance extended by six.

So it was lap 43 when Cassidy pulled the pin, deciding what up to then had looked a crazy-close battle for victory in an instant.

DS Penske driver Jean-Eric Vergne and Nissan's Oliver Rowland completed the podium, followed by Cassidy's Jaguar team-mate Mitch Evans, who was the sole driver not to use both of his attack modes before that second safety car stoppage - but managed to fulfil the requirement without compromising his track position.

Pascal Wehrlein and Antonio Felix da Costa ultimately had to settle for completing the top six in the works Porsches, Wehrlein ending the race with a precariously-wobbly front wing and complaining he was "completely screwed by everyone else on a Porsche powertrain".

There was discontent back his way from within the Porsche camp, with reigning champion Jake Dennis - driving for Porsche customer Andretti - blaming Da Costa for his eventual retirement after a coming together.

This had come after Dennis fought his way to the front from 20th on the grid, as his Andretti team toiled massively in qualifying.

Vandoorne finished seventh, followed by poleman Mortara, who added some extra points to his three points for pole - which had put the previously-scoreless Mahindra team on the board in this year's standings in emphatic fashion.

Sacha Fenestraz took ninth in the other Nissan, while Taylor Barnard - in his second start as the stand-in for the injured Sam Bird at McLaren - drove an impressive race to the final point in 10th.

Jordan King - standing in for De Vries at Mahindra - was the best-placed of the debutants in 12th despite having a pitstop during the race, with fellow newcomer Paul Aron - the other Envision stand-in - right behind him in 13th despite a pitstop of his own.

Race Results

PosNameCarLapsLaps LedTotal TimeFastest LapPitstopsPts
1Nick CassidyJaguar I-Type 64601h1m54.939s1m03.355s026
2Jean-Eric VergneDS E-TENSE FE23460+4.651s1m04.726s018
3Oliver RowlandNissan e-4ORCE 04460+4.915s1m04.667s015
4Mitch EvansJaguar I-Type 6460+5.340s1m04.559s012
5Pascal WehrleinPorsche 99X Electric Gen3460+5.631s1m04.762s010
6António Félix da CostaPorsche 99X Electric Gen3460+5.760s1m04.495s08
7Stoffel VandoorneDS E-TENSE FE23460+6.363s1m04.659s06
8Edoardo MortaraMahindra M9Electro460+7.221s1m04.374s07
9Sacha FenestrazNissan e-4ORCE 04460+9.592s1m04.939s02
10Taylor BarnardNissan e-4ORCE 04460+9.644s1m04.736s01
11Kelvin van der LindeMahindra M10Electro460+10.133s1m04.785s00
12Jordan KingMahindra M10Electro460+10.427s1m04.481s00
13Paul AronJaguar I-Type 6460+11.598s1m04.616s00
14Daniel TicktumERT X24460+18.270s1m05.213s00
15Jake HughesNissan e-4ORCE 04460+55.538s1m03.663s00
16Sérgio Sette CâmaraERT X24450+0.000s1m04.706s00
17Jehan DaruvalaMaserati Tipo Folgore450+0.000s1m05.266s00
18Norman NatoPorsche 99X Electric Gen3450+0.000s1m02.972s00
Lucas Di GrassiMahindra M9Electro200DNF1m06.047s00
Jake DennisPorsche 99X Electric Gen3380DNF1m04.310s00
Maximilian GüntherMaserati Tipo Folgore280DNF1m05.508s00
Joel ErikssonJaguar I-Type 690DNF1m05.574s00
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