In part four of our Formula E Season 6 driver ratings, we’re rating the drivers from JAGUAR RACING and PORSCHE…
- JAGUAR RACING
Mitch Evans 🇳🇿
7th in the championship with 71 points
Leaving Marrakesh, Mitch Evans trailed Antonio Felix da Costa by just 11 points and looked every inch a challenger for the drivers’ title following his best ever start to a Formula E season.
He’d finished third in Santiago after leading the opening half of the race from pole before scoring a brilliant win at the next race in Mexico City. In Marrakesh, Evans calved his way through the field from last place to sixth after a qualifying mixup (which Evans was furious about, it should be said) left him with insufficient time to set a quick lap in group qualifying.
One or two operational hiccups aside, Evans finally appeared to have a package worthy of his ability and the potential was plain to see. But as so often proved to be the case with this Jaguar team, they sadly failed to deliver on that potential and Evans added just 15 further points to his total across the six races in Berlin.
So what went wrong? This question was put to Evans in one of the post-race press conferences. His response: “I’d love to know. We’re not too sure right now, we’re all a bit lost.”
Having started from an average position of 9.8 in the opening five races, that average dropped to P15 across the final six. He failed to score at all in the opening Berlin doubleheader, and could achieve no better than seventh place (twice) in the final four. By season’s end, Evans was left confused and dejected after seeing his shot at the title fizzle out without even a glimmer of fight.
The painfully disappointing end shouldn’t distract from how brilliantly Evans was earlier in the season. He predictably demolished Jaguar’s new signing James Calado, scoring points in seven of 11 races as he contributed 88% of the British team’s overall points tally.
Once again, Evans has shown himself to be one of the brightest talents on the grid – year in, year out – and this season has been no exception. The stakes will be raised when Bird enters the fold, but he’ll be fuelled by the disappointment of this season and few will bet against him bouncing back.
James Calado 🇬🇧
19th in the championship with 10 points
With the benefit of hindsight, Jaguar’s decision to go with rookie James Calado over the vastly more experienced (in Formula E terms) Alex Lynn probably wasn’t the right call. That’s not to diminish the 2017 WEC GTE champion’s talents behind the wheel, but as we’ve seen countless times before, even ex-F1 and LMP1 drivers tend to find this a very tricky series to master.
The fact is, Formula E is a results business more than ever now and Calado’s cause wasn’t helped by the predictably strong form of his team-mate – especially during the first part of the season. What Calado really needed was time, mileage, and maybe a team-mate not considered to be one of the best on the grid.
Calado’s main weakness in those early rounds could be found in qualifying rather than the races themselves, with his lowly starting positions often leaving him with a difficult task to score major points.
To his credit, he managed to bag some points in Diriyah Race 2 and in Santiago, and he averaged an impressive 4.4 positions gained per race over the course of the season (the third best on the grid) but the COVID enforced lockdown ended any hopes he had of building momentum from that.
In Berlin, things went from bad to worse. He picked up a crippling 60-place grid penalty for a powertrain change ahead of Race 1 and a drive-through penalty in Race 2 for a battery infringement (Jaguar’s fault, not his). His misery was compounded fully in Race 3 when taken out by Sergio Sette Camara.
Calado deserves praise for the professionalism he displayed in Berlin – something the team were impressed with and appreciated in light of the problems he faced. His final tally of 10 points is respectable given the number of hurdles he had to negotiate this season, and perhaps it could have all worked out very differently had he been afforded more time.
Tom Blomqvist 🇬🇧
19th in the championship with 10 points
It’s tricky to rate Tom Blomqvist given that he only made two appearances as stand-in for Calado, but on the face of it, he probably surprised the Jaguar team (and possibly himself) by his competitiveness given this was his first Formula E appearance for two years and his first outing in the Jaguar was FP1 for Berlin Race 5.
Like Rast, he benefitted from qualifying in Group 1 due to the late nature of his entry into the championship and he used that to great effect. He out-qualifying the highly rated Evans both times, bagging a quite remarkable superpole appearance in the first of those and a solid 12th in the other.
That alone was something Calado had failed to do all season despite also spending the majority of it qualifying from Group 1. While he didn’t quite have the pace to convert his strong starting positions into points, Blomqvist’s performances were more than respectable given the limited preparation available to him.
André Lotterer 🇩🇪
8th in the championship with 71 points
I was tempted to leave Andre Lotterer’s appraisal to Inside Electric co-founder / Lotterer superfan Hazel Southwell, but I felt it important that this remained a balanced review.
Many thought Lotterer had taken an enormous risk leaving champions DS Techeetah to join a team completely new to the championship, even if that team was one with a rich motorsport heritage like Porsche.
The records show Lotterer finished eighth for the third consecutive season, and while that hardly represents progress, it probably was a “better” eighth place than the previous two.He was unlikely to have achieved the results Antonio Felix da Costa managed had he stayed with Techeetah and his role was also likely to have remained a supporting one to Vergne.
This season, Lotterer can at least say he’s played a prominent role in putting Porsche firmly on the map in Formula E, and having contributed 89% of their points he’s probably saved them from a fair amount of embarrassment too.
A podium at the open round was something that few – not least Porsche themselves – expected to happen, and led the team to revise their targets for the remainder of the season. His pole lap in Mexico City was sensational, and although that ultimately ended with a DNF, he followed that up with 3rd on the grid in Marrakesh and again in the opening Berlin race to confirm Porsche’s qualifying pace was no fluke.
With a respectable 25 points bagged from the opening five rounds, Lotterer was one of Formula E’s top performers after the restart, scoring almost double that amount in Berlin. He demonstrated smart energy management and some clinical overtakes to place second in the opening race, and came narrowly close to another podium in Race 5 before being outmuscled by compatriot Rene Rast on the final lap.
There’s no getting around it; Lotterer demolished Neel Jani. His nine points-scoring results gave him a 71-8 advantage over his team-mate and his record of eight top 10 starts was bettered only by three drivers. He’ll have an altogether tougher challenge next season in the form of Pascal Wehrlein, but if Porsche can keep up their late-season momentum, theirs might be one of the closest team-mate battles on the grid.
Neel Jani 🇨🇭
20th in the championship with 8 points
It’s difficult to say much about Jani’s season other than it was a huge disappointment. Jani was the first driver to be announced by Porsche a full 11 months before their debut, and to his credit, he contributed enormously by doing the bulk of the testing and development leading up to that. Sady though, Jani’s driving style just didn’t gel with the Gen2 Formula E car come race day and he struggled all season to get on Lotterer’s pace.
Qualifying was often the crux of the issue for Jani, and it took him until the final two races in Berlin – by which point his departure was confirmed – to start a race inside the top 10. In fact, if you exclude Jani’s final two races, his average qualifying over the course of those first nine races was the third worst on the grid.
There’s little point in making this a Jani-bashing article, and it’s not our intention for it to be. There were some highlights, notably in those final two races which gave him the chance to depart the paddock with a degree of respectability.
His qualifying for Berlin Race 5 was unexpectedly superb and good enough for a place in superpole. While he didn’t quite have the pace to make a podium place stick in the race, sixth place was a credible result given the struggles he’d faced. He secured another top eight qualifying for his final Porsche appearance, and while points ultimately weren’t to follow, he can at least head into the off-season knowing that his future with Porsche is secure, even if his time in Formula E is now ultimately at an end.