Earlier this week we began our rundown of the Top 25 Formula E Drivers from seasons one to five with Tom Dillmann, Maro Engel, Alex Lynn, Oliver Rowland and Maxi Günther being ranked in positions 25 through to 21.
Next up in part three, we’re tackling positions 15 to 11, and as always, let us know on our social channels what you think of our picks!
15. Stoffel Vandoorne
13 races for HWA, 35 points, 1 podium, 1 pole position
Getting beaten by Fernando Alonso sucks, it’s the kind of thing that absolutely snaps a driver into pieces. Getting beaten by Fernando Alonso when you know you also have a terrible car and your team is already in pieces is even worse.
Toward the end of his time with McLaren, a lot of people thought Vandoorne had lost the edge that saw him romp to the GP2 title by over 150 points. Fortunately, stepping into Mercedes’ stealth-by-HWA Formula E entry renewed any spark dimmed by his F1 frustrations and the likeable Belgian stepped up to quickly becoming a clear leader within the team.
Roundly beating Gary Paffett last season, a rookie in Formula E but also a vastly experienced multiple DTM champion, is no small feat and there were occasions when Vandoorne appeared to out-drive the ability of his car last year. Now formally a factory Mercedes driver, he’s added two more podiums to his total in a clean sweep of season six so far and looks likely to play a starring role in Formula E’s future.
14. Nelson Piquet Jr. – champion in season one
Piquet should be higher up on the list by virtue of being Formula E’s first driver champion – but he isn’t. This was arguably the Brazilian’s last challenge, having raced in just about every series under the sun. Piquet’s title-winning season had him finishing in the points in 10 out of 11 races, racking up two wins and three podiums along the way; a remarkably consistent performance.
This is particularly notable since teams ran identical powertrains and machinery during season one, which highlighted driver skill as the difference-maker.
Sadly Piquet’s highpoint came and went in Battersea Park, season one, and he failed to reach the same heights in subsequent seasons, missing out on multiple promising podium finishes and unable to repeat his championship-winning form. A trio of retirements in season five saw Piquet replaced by Alex Lynn at Jaguar mid-season, leading to his de facto exit from the series.
13. Pascal Wehrlein
12 races for Mahindra, 58 points, 1 podium, 1 pole position
Joining Formula E at the start of the Gen2 era, Wehrlein was soon at the front of the pack and demonstrating his fierce ability behind the wheel. Although he missed the first race of the season due to a contractual commitment leftover from his Mercedes’ F1 involvement, Wehrlein made a big impact during his first few races with a second-place finish in Santiago before having a win snatched from his grasp on the last corner at the next race in Mexico City – truly one of Formula E’s most astonishing race finishes.
Wehrlein arrived in Formula E with some unfinished business after a disappointing and premature end to his F1 career. He’s spoken openly of his frustration at not having had the machinery to demonstrate his true ability thus far, but now in Formula E, Wehrlein has just that and he showed some serious flashes of speed during his rookie year.
The German secured his first Formula E pole position during the Mexico City E-Prix weekend and almost claimed a second in Paris before a tyre pressure infringement meant he had to start the race from the back.
Already earmarked as a potential title winner in the future, Wehrlein is one of the brightest new talents in the championship right now and his team boss Dilbagh Gill even claimed him to be “the quickest driver Mahindra have ever had”.
12. Oliver Turvey
47 races for NIO, 93 points, 1 podium, 1 pole position
Frustratingly, Turvey’s never quite had a genuine front-running during his Formula E career, at least not for more than a race or two, and his record one podium from almost 50 races couldn’t be less representative of his sizeable talent. In fact, many experienced paddock bods (including many drivers) will tell you that Turvey’s considered one of the most underrated talents on the entire grid.
Turvey’s dedication, professionalism, and technical feedback (he studied engineering in University) are surpassed only by his speed on the track. His podium at the Mexico City E-Prix in season four was, of course, a highpoint, but equally impressive were his qualifying performances before NIO’s competitiveness began to slide.
Between seasons two and four, Turvey qualified his in the top 10 in 22 out of 25 races – a remarkable statistic given the machinery at his disposal. there are race-winning drivers in this paddock that would kill for those numbers.
11. Nick Heidfeld
Heidfeld entered Formula E with very little left to prove in his career. Already in his late 30s at the time, retirement would have been an easy option rather than adapting to a whole new championship and a different style of racing. Even at the track, he could probably have begun winding down but Heidfeld’s competitive streak put paid to that.
His most famous moment in the series is, pretty unfairly, getting punted into the air at the end of the first-ever Formula E race. But Heidfeld’s 214 points come from 26 top-ten finishes, eight of which were podiums including an intimidating season three run of back-to-back champagne finishes in Monaco, Paris and Berlin.
Thoughtful, with a sense of humour most pundits would kill for, Heidfeld’s most-talked-about statistic tends to be the length of time he’s gone without a race win. That unfairly belies a long and impressive career that saw him continue competitively into his forties, even when paired with a younger driver in the form of the highly-rated Felix Rosenqvist.
Note: The race statistics shown for each driver featured in this article are based on seasons one to five, and do not include any races from the current season (2019/20)…
Our rankings so far…
25. Tom DILLMANN
24. Maro ENGEL
23. Alex Lynn
22. Oliver Rowland
21. Maxi GÜNTHER
20. Nico PROST
19. Stéphane SARRAZIN
18. Andre Lotterer
17. Edoardo Mortara
16. Alexander Sims
15. Stoffel VANDOORNE
14. Nelson PIQUET
13. Pascal Wehrlein
12. Oliver Turvey
11. Nick HEIDFELD
Don’t miss part four of our top 25 formula e drivers feature, ranking positions 10 through to 6…