The 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship will crown a champion in the shadow of the Big Apple on Sunday. With a 32-point head start, DS Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne is well-paced to defend his crown from last season. But the New York City ePrix is a double-header, and with eight drivers retaining a mathematical chance at surpassing the Frenchman, anything can happen.
Vergne, second place Lucas di Grassi, third overall Mitch Evans and fourth-placed Andre Lotterer all agreed that none could remember another time in their careers when they came into a title finale with eight drivers still in contention. In a championship that took nine rounds to find its first two-time winner, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Not coincidentally, Vergne became the first two-time winner of Season 5 in Monaco, and went on to win again in Bern, Switzerland leading up to the New York finale.
Di Grassi scored the win at the round in between in Berlin, standing the best chance to take the fight to Vergne, but Antonio Felix da Costa, Robin Frijns, Sebastian Buemi and Daniel Abt are all still in the running.
Indeed, Vergne foreshadowed just how challenging his title defense would be prior to the start of the season when he surmised the everyone was looking very competitive during the pre-season test.
“Everybody is looking competitive,” said the Frenchman back in October 2018. “I expect this season to be very tough and tight. I think everyone is a threat — but mainly myself.”
Trying to avoid that internal challenge as much as possible, Vergne said he’d categorically forbidden himself from thinking about winning a second-straight title. Instead, he’ll simply focus on winning Saturday’s race, making the rest academic.