Formula E’s title-deciding Berlin E-Prix has been red-flagged after a heavy startline crash involving pre-race championship favourite Mitch Evans and fellow title contender Edoardo Mortara.
Evans looked well-placed to snatch the title in the 12-way decider when he qualified third, six places clear of the next-best championship protagonist.
But Evans’s Jaguar failed to get off on the grid as the race began, and was collected by Mortara’s Venturi Mercedes.
"𝗘𝗩𝗔𝗡𝗦 𝗗𝗢𝗘𝗦𝗡'𝗧 𝗠𝗢𝗩𝗘!" 😳😳
The race has now been red flagged 🟥 pic.twitter.com/Ir23ufIhL9
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) August 15, 2021
Second in the championship coming into the race, Mortara had been coming through from 11th on the grid.
Both Mortara and Evans were able to get out of their cars unaided. Evans returned to the Jaguar garage straight away while Mortara will have precautionary checks in the medical centre but is reported by Venturi to be “OK”.
“We seemed to have some sort of failure after the launch,” said Evans.
“It went and then I had an alarm and the car basically just stopped.
“Then obviously Edo had nowhere to go. I feel for him as well.
“It was over before it even started. It just wasn’t meant to be this year.
“I’m gutted for the whole team, for myself, to not even get a run at it is tough.
“We’ve never had that issue before. It’s going to take a while for the pain to ease.”
The main contenders in the title fight when the race restarts were set to be Mercedes’ championship leader Nyck de Vries and BMW driver Jake Dennis.
Dennis was ninth on the original grid and four points behind 13th-place qualifier de Vries.
De Vries only just made it through the crash unscathed, he and Antonio Felix da Costa (another of the 13 drivers with a title shot at the start of the race) squeezing through between Evans’s car and the pitwall as the impact happened.
But Dennis then crashed at the first corner after the restart, giving de Vries a relatively clear shot at wrapping up the title.