We’ve already named positions 25 to 11 in our ranking of the Top 25 Formula E Drivers from seasons one to five, and today we arrive at the business end of the grid with the first half of the top ten!
10. Robin Frijns
Frijns joined Formula E back in season two with Andretti and despite having a fairly successful season, with a podium and a string of point-scoring finishes to his name, the following year proved not as fruitful. He took time away from the Formula E and put his focus to GT Racing before making an outstanding comeback for season five last year.
Partnering with Sam Bird at Envision Virgin Racing, Frijns not only became Bird’s first-ever team-mate to outscore him across a full Formula E season but he also won two races; making him one of only three drivers last season that managed to take more than one victory.
The first of his two wins last season was at the Paris E-Prix, a race which proved one of the most challenging in Formula E’s history as heavy rain showers caused even the most experienced drivers on the grid to struggle. Frijns powered through to win with one of the finest performances of his career and capped off a strong return season by adding a second victory at the New York City season finale.
The driver affectionately known as ‘custard’ while in F1 has firmly found his home in Formula E, quietly becoming one of the series’ most reliable performers.
His haul of 303 points across five seasons is bettered only by five drivers – including three of Formula E’s four drivers’ champions – and his tally of nine podiums and three wins are a testament to his ability to take opportunities when they come.
D’Ambrosio flies under the radar a bit as he’s the wrong side of thirty and doesn’t exactly ooze the star quality of a driver like Jean-Eric Vergne or Sebastien Buemi. But does any of that really matter?
He led the championship at the halfway point last season despite an average qualifying position of fifteenth. A strange statistic but one that highlights the invaluable experience he possesses along with some astute racecraft.
Formula E’s first seasons were full of Red Bull junior programme offcuts – Sebastien Buemi notably smashed the field and Jean-Eric Vergne’s public laundry-airing was headline-grabbing while da Costa was free to work in relative peace.
Encouraged into the series by BMW, he took a single race win in Buenos Aires over Formula E’s first four seasons. Da Costa’s haul of 212 points may not seem impressive compared to the highest scorers but reflects extraordinarily well on him, given that for three seasons he was in comfortably one of – if not the – worst car on the grid.
His faith in hanging on as a backmarker was rewarded with another win in BMW’s first race as a factory team at the start of season four and he went to the New York finale with an outsider’s chance at the title. Relaxed and funny out of the car, da Costa is a ballsy racer that’s genuinely thrilling to watch – and now has a title-winning car following his move to DS Techeetah.
7. Felix Rosenqvist
25 races for Mahindra, 223 points, 7 podiums, 6 pole positions, 3 wins
That Felix Rosenqvist sits this high up the list after only two seasons in Formula E, is a testament to the mark he left on the championship. Clearly talented in the junior series, Rosenqvist hadn’t had the funding to progress quickly enough up the junior series ladder to attract the attention of any F1 teams and was a relative unknown when Mahindra signed him for season three.
He began to cement his status on track with a podium in only his second race, in Marrakech, which converted into two on-track wins in Berlin, the second of which was only taken away by a time penalty for a pit lane error with his own teammate. Mahindra’s first race winner, Rosenqvist was their only driver to reach the top step until Jerome d’Ambrosio. In season four, he inherited a win in Hong Kong and won again in Marrakech to become a surprise leader of the championship a quarter of the season in.
Rosenqvist may have left for IndyCar but any Formula E team would be keen to get him back – if he came in as a relative unknown, he certainly didn’t leave as one.
6. Daniel Abt
58 races for ABT/Audi, 382 points, 10 podiums, 2 wins, 2 pole positions
Abt was just 21 when he made his debut back in 2014 and remains the fourth-youngest driver to have started a Formula E race. His teammate Lucas di Grassi was already a two-time Le Mans podium finisher with 19 Grands Prix under his belt at the time of Abt’s debut, so a fair comparison between them statistically is perhaps unfair.
Despite their contrasting experience levels, Abt has proven an extremely determined and aggressive racer, always pushing to better himself, and is one of only a few drivers on the grid who can argue to have demonstrably improved almost every year across Formula E’s first five seasons.
He doubled his points tally between seasons two and three and again in season four, becoming a winner for the first (and second) time as Audi secured their first team’s title. Abt’s reputation as a skilful and aggressive racer has been steadily growing over time and his 2018 Paris E-Prix performance is a masterclass in street circuit overtaking.
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
10. Robin FRIJNS
9. Jerome D’AMBROSIO
8. Antonio Felix da Costa
7. Felix ROSENQVIST
6. Daniel ABT
Keep your eyes peeled for the final part of our top 25 formula e drivers feature tomorrow, where we’ll be ranking the top five …