Formula E | Pitdebrief’s Half Season Top 10 Awards

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Who was the best, who was not-as-great, and which moments had an everlasting impact on our memory of this first half of the season? Let’s find out!

Photo Credit: Formula E Media Bank / LAT Images

Here we go: the first official Pitdebrief’s Half Season Top 10 Awards. The most prestigious awards in motorsports, where we discuss the best performers, worst performers and some of the most memorable moments half way though Season 9 of the Formula E World Championship. Without further-a-do, let’s get cracking!

Best performing team: Envision Racing

Revolutionary. The team that currently sits in P1 in the Championship Standings is the Best Performing Team, who would’ve thought. Well, it’s exactly that – you need to remember that Envision claimed this P1 spot only after the checkered flag has fallen in Monaco. They’ve poised a real challenge to the Porsche powered cars in the first half of the season – and we have no doubt they’ll continue to raise the bar for the remaining of the Season 9.

Their climb to the top (so far) began rocky but very fast became consistent and well executed. They started slow – a P6 and P9 in Mexico, that turned a bit in Diriyah with the first pole position and eventually P4 for Buemi in the Round 2. Round 3 was quite unlucky again – P6 and P13. The team showed its spark in Hyderabad, with the first podium for Nick Cassidy on P2 and a sad P15 for Buemi. After that, it was pure pace and delivery from Envision’s Kiwi driver – P3 in Cape Town, P2 in Sao Paulo, P5 in Berlin, followed by two wins in Berlin and Monaco.

Throughout the first half of the season, and thanks to the performance of its drivers, Envision rise up in the standings race by race. They soon enough found themselves in the Top 3, then jumped into P2 to then take P1 away from TAG Heuer Porsche and Avalanche Andretti after victorious Monaco E-Prix. Arguably, the green-and-navy team based in Silverstone performed better compared to the factory team of Jaguar TCS Racing who’s providing the team with their powertrains. Best thing is – we know this is not the last call from them, and we can’t wait to see if it will be Envision who wins the crown by the end of this season.

Best Performing Driver: Nick Cassidy

Again. Groundbreaking information, we know it. But obviously we had to put Cassidy in Best Performing Driver when his team got Best Performing Team in this first half of the season.

Despite a quite slow start into the season, over the course of the past few races Cassidy rose to the challenge and by putting in a consistent performance week in and week out, he’s managed to steadily climb to the P1 spot in the standings.

He started the season with a P9 finish in Mexico City, followed by P6 and P13 in Diriyah. Hyderabad E-Prix is where things picked up the pace for the Kiwi – as he finished in P2, followed by P3 in Cape Town, another P2 in Sao Paulo. Round 7 in Berlin seen him chase for P2 after a tough race, only to come victorious the day after in Round 8 and another victory in Monaco.

Cassidy has been impressive since his inaugural season in Formula E, and it’s fantastic to see him challenge the rest in a title fight. His performance in the first half the season, combined with some good results from his teammate Buemi helped Envision Racing to snatch P1 in the teams championship from the Porsche powered cars of TAG Heuer Porsche and Avalanche Andretti. Cassidy, know for his fun personality, is finally showing what he’s made of on track, and we’re really excited to see how the rest of the season will pan out for the Kiwi from Auckland.

Biggest Frustration: Maserati MSG Racing

Well. Since our half season Top 10 doesn’t only consist of nice things, we thought we’d discuss some of the frustrations we’ve encountered so far into Season 9. And we’ve heavy heart, the Biggest Frustration goes to Maserati MSG Racing.

Why exactly? Because we’re more than sure that the team has what it takes to fight the big players in the front. We know the car is fast, and the team does whatever they can to maximise the performance on track. Sadly, their campaign has been plagued by many errors – mostly human errors made by their drivers, which results in us being quite unhappy with how Season 9 is looking so far for Maserati. Both Gunther and Mortara found themselves in many bad situations, often misjudging certain things on track which resulted in them either crashing on their own, or sometimes crashing into others as well.

We thought the tables might turn for the team with Gunther’s P3 finish in Berlin Round 7, but we were quickly proven wrong. It’s almost hard to believe that a team with a car that has proven many times to have the pace to fight in the front is only 8th in the Championship Standings, ahead only of NIO 333, Mahindra (who’s also not really showing the pace they used to have, I guess something to “blame” on Gen3) and ABT Cupra, who’s had an incredibly hard start of the season.

Can and will Maserati MSG Racing redeem itself in the season part of the season? Only time will tell. But we honestly hope we won’t have to put them in the same category by the end of Season 9. Please.

Best New Venue: Cape Town, South Africa

As we’ve got a few debuts in the calendar this season, we thought we’d spotlight the best new addition to the calendar (and also pick up best old venue, but on that we will elaborate later). To us, despite fantastic races in all the new locations in Formula E calendar so far, the award had to go to Cape Town, South Africa.

It’s not only about the incredible beauty of the place – imagine racing with the background of Table Mountain – but also the remarkable spectacle Cape Town provided. Round 5 of the Formula E Championship provided us with an incredible roller coaster of a race, some absolutely FANTASTIC moves and performances by several drivers on the grid, but especially Da Costa and his charge for the win in the last laps of the race. Many of this season’s races have been very exciting and fun to watch, but in our humble opinion, Cape Town takes the crown compared to anybody else.

Fast, bumpy track and the streets of an absolutely iconic destination is an equation that screams perfect results. It’s amazing that Cape Town is here to stay in Formula E, because if this year’s E-Prix was such a success, we can’t wait to see what will happen next year. And we also hope we’ll be there to witness it live.

Best Rookie: Jake Hughes

It was a tough choice between Hughes and Fenestraz, we’re not going to lie. But obviously, Hughes performance in his first season in Formula E has been a little bit more consistent than Fenestraz (not always his fault though), so hence why the Brit from Birmingham takes the crown over the young French.

In the course of nine races so far in Season 9, Hughes scored pole position twice (!), finished in P5 in both of those races where he scored a pole position, as well as consistently brought points for himself and his team of McLaren on six out of nine occasions. Incredibly hard working week in and week out (as well as Fenestraz), Hughes is currently the stronger force of the papaya team compared to his more experienced drivers. Despite having a relatively late start in his racing career, we see the incredible potential Jake has and we know he’ll keep it out for the remaining of the season.

We asked him in Berlin what has been his toughest challenge in Formula E so far, to which he replies it’s the fluctuation of the races (You can find the whole exclusive here). But in our opinion, he’s been managing that pretty well, considering he’s having a quite successful campaign as a rookie. Maybe not AS successful as Jake Dennis a few years back, but still, incredibly impressive.

And also, if you didn’t know – Hughes is incredibly nice to chat with. Actually, both of the rookies are! We just thought we’d leave it here.

Best Old Venue: Monaco

Okay, this might seem a little strange. Berlin has provided an insane spectacle over the course of two days there, and there has been some fantastic moves, moments and overtakes in races like Mexico City or Diriyah, which are all reoccurring events on the Formula E calendar overt the course of the past few years.

But we’ve decided to go with Monaco for one particular reason – 119 overtakes on the board. Who said you can’t overtake on the streets of Monte Carlo? But in all seriousness – it’s a phrase we all hear time and time again. It’s a phrase that proves to be rather true for some other racing categories, but Formula E? No, Formula E does things it’s own way, and that’s why we love it. Although Monaco E-Prix has always been rather interesting, this year’s edition of it was definitely what gets the people going. Aside of the atmosphere filled with luxury and celebrities, it provided the most important component of a racing weekend – racing. Duh.

It all started with a phenomenal qualifying that will get its own mention later down this Top 10 list, but Saturday’s race was everything we could’ve wished for. Despite us having a fantastic time in Berlin during Round 7 and 8, it’s Monaco who takes the crown for the Best Old Venue on our list.

Best Overtake: Nick Cassidy – Berlin Round 8

Now, it might come as a surprise to some people that we’ve picked up this one. Don’t get us wrong – there have been some incredible overtakes in the first half of the season. Remarkable even, done by many drivers on the grid. But for this award, we’ve decided to go with the overtake done by Cassidy in Round 8. Which one and why?

Well, the overtake that eventually led him to win the E-Prix that day. Why? Because of how unexpected it was, a sentiment echoed by many drivers on the grid that day. Basically, it became apparent to everyone and their mom after Round 7 that holding the position of the leader in Berlin is an extremely dangerous task. The slipstream behind does it’s magic and it’s very hard to be the driver in the front, punching the hole in the air for the rest of the pack to follow, especially, if your car is not the best when it comes to energy efficiency. But as it happened, the efficiency was something that Cassidy didn’t really have to worry about – and that rather “risky” move in the eyes of many meant he stood on the highest step of the podium that day.

As we mentioned, multiple drivers said the same thing about this overtake. Jake Dennis during the press conference after that race said himself that it was a move not many drivers on the grid could “afford”. For Cassidy – this risk proved rewarding.

Worst Crash: Cape Town Qualifying Bird & Mortara

Just like in the case of Biggest Frustration, the Worst Crash award is definitely not a nice category to have. Obviously, we wouldn’t put it in if we didn’t know that the drivers walked away with no injuries whatsoever. That’s why we will keep this one short.

In our opinion, probably the Worst Crash that we’ve seen so far this season has been the incident between Mortara and Bird during the Group Stage of Qualifying in Cape Town E-Prix. The crash occurred in the last seconds of Group B’s outing on track, and it was Mortara who first put it into the wall. Right behind him was Bird, who seeing the crash in front of him bails out and also puts it into the wall, his car hitting Mortara’s car after it bounces back from the barriers.

Fortunately the drivers escaped without a scuff, but that crash meant Bird wasn’t able to start the race that day, as the time between the race and the qualifying was too short for the team to repair the car. Hopefully no more crashes like this in the remaining of the season, ok?

Most Thrilling Duel: Fenestaz Vs Hughes in Monaco

There is no need for a long explanation on why this Final Duel in Monaco deserved the crown. First of all, it was two Rookies facing each other in the FINAL duel, which meant that one of them will walk away with a Pole Position. Second, the qualifying pace of Nissan powered cars meant a front row lock up for Nissan, with Fenenstraz, Hughes and Nato lining up on the first 3 places on the grid for that race.

Eventually, Fenestraz was demoted from the Pole Position, which meant that Hughes would start in Monaco from P1, followed by the two factory team Nissan’s of Fenestraz and Nato.

Norman crossed the line in P18, but Fenestraz managed a P4 finish, with Hughes just behind him in P5.

Definitely a weekend that Nissan would like to remember, and hopefully do it again at some stage later in the season! Qualifying proves to be strong for them, with their race pace not that far behind, and it hopefully we’ll see both Hughes and Fenestraz more often in Top 5 in the next few races.

Best Fan Engagement: Race Against Climate Change – Envision Racing

We thought we’d spotlight something that might not be as related to the race component on the first glance, but something that definitely made us happy.

We decided to give the Best Fan Engagement award to Envision Raving and their Race Against Climate Change Campaign that you can find on all of their social media accounts. Especially two things stood to us the most – their Waste to Race campaign as well as their Earth Day Appreciation campaign.

Waste to Race was launched by Envision to explain why we need to reuse and recycle electrical waste, especially aiming to show how children and young people can get involved. Children and young people between the ages of 9 and 21 have the opportunity to construct their own miniature racing car using electronic waste. The competition allows participants to showcase their design ideas globally and potentially win a sustainably produced laptop, along with various prizes from Envision Racing and Formula E.

The Earth Day Appreciation Campaign is directly related to Envision’s Race Against Climate Change – a campaign where “together with the team” you, me and everyone else can make a pledge, that will be then matched by the team with a tree planted. During Earth Day the team made a compilation of videos from some of the people that decided to make a pledge, which, in our opinion, is a fantastic way to further engage with your audience. Not to mention that so far, Over 165,000 have already signed a pledge with the team! And you can do it too, by heading to the teams website and clicking on Race Against Climate Change tab. Easy.

Do you agree with our Half Season Top 10? What would you change, what would you keep and what categories would you like to see in the future? Let us know in the comments bellow, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll be back soon for the Jakarta E-Prix – and until then, don’t forget: enjoy the race, wherever you are ✨