Formula E Season Review 2015/16: Part 2


? during the 2016 Formula E championship, at London, England, from July 2 to 3 - Photo Clement Luck / DPPI

After another enthralling season of Formula E, we take a look back to see how each team fared. Read part one of our review here.

Abt Schaeffler Audi Sport

Credit: Formula E, Zak Mauger LAT
Credit: Formula E

Team’s Championship: Second, 221 points

Driver’s Championship: Lucas di Grassi, Second, 153 points – Daniel Abt, Seventh, 68 points

It was a seriously impressive effort from the German team this season. Despite not having the power of Renault e.dams, or the one-lap pace of DS Virgin Racing, they managed three race wins and were a hair’s breadth away from winning the driver’s title. The narrow margin of their loss will make their disqualification in Mexico for being 1.8kg overweight even more painful, as it could have also put them in contention for the team’s championship. It was undoubtedly a low point for the team, who until then had impressed with their stunning consistency. Retaining Lucas di Grassi for next season means that there’s nothing to suggest they can’t have another title run, and if they do get more support from the VW group, they’ll be well positioned to go up against the might of Renault.

 

Venturi

Credit: Formula E, Sam Bloxham/LAT
Credit: Formula E

Team’s Championship: Sixth, 77 points

Driver’s Championship: Stephane Sarrazin, Sixth, 70 points – Mike Conway, Sixteenth, 7 points

A solid, if unspectacular season from Venturi. The team had to go through the disruption of losing marquee signing Jacques Villeneuve just three races in, with his dismissal coming as a result of some poor drives and a crash in qualifying that he would later blame on the team. Although Mike Conway was solid, it was Stephane Sarrazin who did the lion’s share of the points scoring and after some impressive qualifying performances it’s perhaps surprising that this resulted in just the one podium – a second place in Long Beach. Still, the team will be pleased to have moved up from ninth place last season, though with the improvements being promised by other teams it will be tough for them to keep up with the competition.

 

Team Aguri

Aguri 01
Credit: Formula E

Team’s Championship: Eighth, 32 points

Driver’s Championship: Antonio Felix da Costa, Thirteenth, 28 points – Ma Qing Hua, Nineteenth, 0 points

Tumultuous is probably the best word to sum up the Japanese team’s year. They fielded more drivers than any other team this season, but it was only Antonio Felix da Costa that seemed capable of dragging the car into solid points scoring positions. This was a long way from the heady heights of the race victory they secured at Buenos Aires in the opening season, and there can be no doubt that they took a backwards step in terms of pace this year. Most of the uncertainty seemed to come from the ongoing discussions about the ownership of the team, and now this has been settled you would like to think the new Techeetah team can start to rebuild, but they’ll have to do so without prized asset da Costa after he announced he was moving on.

 

DS Virgin Racing

FIA Formula E Championship 2015/16. Julius Baer Punta Del Este ePrix, Punta Del Este, Uruguay. Practice Session 2. Sam Bird (GBR), DS Virgin Racing DSV-01 Punta Del Este, Uruguay, South America. Saturday 19 December 2015 Photo: Adam Warner / LAT/FE ref: Digital Image _L5R1133
Credit: Formula E

Team’s Championship: Third, 144 points

Driver’s Championship: Sam Bird, Fourth, 88 points – Jean-Eric Vergne, Ninth, 56 points

DS Virgin Racing clearly had the one lap pace this season, but it was their race pace that often let them down. Four times this season their drivers bagged the three points for pole position, but only once did they manage to convert this into a race victory. Sam Bird’s well deserved win in Buenos Aires seemed as if it would lead to greater things, but it would prove to be his last podium as the tail end of his season turned sour. Conversely Jean-Eric Vergne has a terrible start to the season only to turn it around in the last four races, starting off with a second place in his home ePrix in Paris. There were fall outs between the Frenchman and his team though, and despite showing decent pace he’ll be at the new Techeetah team next season.

 

Mahindra Racing

2015/2016 FIA Formula E Championship. Berlin ePrix, Berlin, Germany. Saturday 21 May 2016. Nick Heidfeld (GER), Mahindra Racing M2ELECTRO Photo: Andrew Ferraro/LAT/Formula E ref: Digital Image _14P3879
Credit: Formula E

Team’s Championship: Fifth, 105 points

Driver’s Championship: Nick Heidfeld, Tenth, 53 points – Bruno Senna, Eleventh, 52 points

After a poor finish to their debut season, there were concerns about how competitive Mahindra Racing were going to be this year – but these doubts were immediately dismissed when Nick Heidfeld grabbed a well-deserved podium in Beijing. The result indicated they might be able to fight it out at the front with Renault and Abt, but it wasn’t to be as their race pace often saw them end up in the midfield. This did lead to some solid points scoring, and towards the end of the season there was cause for optimism when they managed two fastest laps in Paris and Berlin and their second podium with Bruno Senna’s second place in London. A tie-up with Magneti Marelli should start to bear fruit next year, and Heidfeld is confident that they can close the gap to those in front of them, so we can expect more progress from the Indian team in 2016/17.

 

The tenth and final team of course were Trulli Formula E, who never got off the ground this season. After parts failed to show up to the season opener, the car then failed scrutineering in Putrajaya, after which they predictably announced their withdrawal from the sport. It was a shame to see the Italian team leave, and although they rarely troubled the points scoring positions in season one they did provide some highlights, most notably Jarno Trulli’s stunning pole in Berlin.

There’s cause for optimism though, Trulli’s demise has left room for Jaguar to return to motorsport – and their resources combined with the knowledge of Williams Advanced Engineering should see them do well. It’ll be tough though, with the team already admitting that they’re on the back foot, so it will be fascinating to see how the grid shakes out in season three for Formula E.