Formula E | Rome E-Prix | Lessons from Rome E-Prix

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With a slight delay, there’s a lot to talk about after the double header in Rome. What are the main takeaways from the weekend? Let’s investigate.

Photo credit: Formula E Media Bank / Simon Galloway

Without futher-a-do, let’s take a look on the main points that came up after such an intense double-header in Rome.

1. Emperor of Rome strikes back

What can we really say – the Emperor of Rome strikes back with another win on Saturday. Although the second race didn’t really pan out well for Evans, his performance in Round 13 is what he got us used to in the previous years. Starting from pole ahead of his teammate Sam Bird, Evans just got the job done and brought his 4th trophy from the Italian capital, a third one in a row. Both of the Jaguars were strong once again, but we all know how the race unravelled on Saturday. Otherwise this could’ve been another double podium for the team based in Coventry, UK.

2. Walk away unscathed

Possibly the biggest accident in Formula E history, at least considering the amount of cars involved happened during Round 13 of Season 9. A chain reaction started by Sam Bird who lost his rear and crashed, it entangled several drivers such as Buemi, Mortara, Frijns, Di Grassi and Da Costa. The big shunt immediately meant a red flag, with tons of car debris flying all over the track. Fortunately for everyone, all of the drivers were left unscathed and with no injuries, and everyone made it to the grid the day after. In terms of how scary it was we’d give a solid 8 out of 10, and we’d like to not see crashes like this anymore, thank you very much.

3. Title chase until the end

After a fantastic performance during Round 13, the Kiwi from Auckland Nick Cassidy put himself back in the front of the leadership board of the championship. His crash with Evans the day after and a stellar performance from Jake Dennis of Avalanche Andretti means it’s now the Brit who’s ahead in the fight, but not all is lost for Cassidy and Envision. With 58 points to score in London, the battle for the title will go until the last remaining weekend of the season. It will be tricky though, considering how strong Dennis has previously been at his home soil. All we know it’s going to be a nerve-wrecking Round 15 and 16, and we’re 100% here for it.

4. Forever strong in Rome

Already hinted at before, but it can’t go without a notice how strong the Jaguar team is on the streets of Rome. Evans’ win in Round 13, and Bird’s P3 and podium in Round 14 perfectly illustrate their performance, considering historically it’s a track where especially Evans just gets the job done. It’s been three wins for the New Zealander, and a P5 and P3 for the Brit, there is just something about Rome that the Jags really enjoy. We’d like to see less crashes though, as both Evans and Bird now have some things on their record, at least in Season 9.

5. How about resurfacing?

A brief point, but after the dangerous incident of Round 13, many drivers have voiced their concerns about the surface of the track in Rome. After the race, both Sam Bird and Sebastien Buemi called for changes when it came to the general “smoothness” of the course and drain covers present on the streets of Rome’s business district EUR.

As Bird explained after the incident:

I hit a drain that was raised up at the wrong angle and it sent me into the wall. Scary crash. I’m glad everyone involved was OK.

They need to adjust the drains and address the smoothness of that section, it’s too quick to have drains and bumps like that, which can send you into a wall at a moment’s notice. For me it’s too much. You can get round there, and most people get round there, but it just takes one tiny little error – it’s not even really an error.

I don’t think they can change it ahead of tomorrow, but certainly for next year they need to think hard about completely redoing that area, really laying a nice smooth surface up the hill because it’s too hit and miss right now.

6. Superheroes

Another brief point on the list, but a huge round of applause to all of the teams’ staff that ensured that all of the cars involved in the Saturday’s crash made it onto the grid on Sunday. Only Sacha Fenestraz missed the free practice session on Round 14’s morning, but he made it onto the qualifying where he joined the rest of the grid. Obviously, the team’s perform week in and week out, but especially in moments like this it really has to be acknowledged how much of a strong work all of the employees do to keep the championship at this level. Huge respect.

7. Second grand slam

Obviously we had to talk about the winner of Round 14 Jake Dennis, who’s currently leading the championship fight with 24 points ahead of Envision’s Nick Cassidy. Starting the race from pole position on Sunday, Dennis done everything he could to make sure he stood on the highest stand of the podium. The Brit was able to manage his energy and successfully defend from the likes of Norman Nato and Sam Bird, and with Cassidy finishing out of points, he’s heading onto the last weekend taking place on his home soil with almost a full race win of points of advantage. The game is on, will Cassidy be capable of taking the trophy out of Dennis’ hands?

8. Nissan climbs the rankings

Last but not least, we’d like to give a mention to the absolutely fantastic performance of Norman Nato in Round 14. First P2 for the Nissan team, they have been steadily rising in the ranks throughout the entirety of Season 9. With his teammate Sacha Fenestraz mostly leading the way for the team Nato now joins him in ensuring Nissan can translate all of the hard work the team has been putting into this championship into best results. Will they be able to impress us in London in 10 days time?

We leave you now with all of these points to reflect on the great spectacle of Rome, and we’re very happy you joined us on this journey over the course of the weekend, a weekend where Pitdebrief was once again able to deliver it from live on track. We’ll do it all over again in 10 days from the corners of London’s ExCeL, for the last time this season. And we’re both sad and excited at the same time! Until then, don’t forget: enjoy the race, wherever you are. ✨