Since its very first season, Formula E has garnered a reputation for being a championship where the drivers CAN make a difference. With 13 different drivers tasting victory in the last two seasons alone, it comes as no surprise that several of the current grid will be eyeing a first series win in 2021. We picked out six we think have a good chance of doing so…
Werhlein can consider himself a tad unlucky to be on this list given that he came (literally) within yards of victory during his debut season with Mahindra in Season 5 (2017-18). Now with Porsche, the ex-Sauber racer’s chances of reaching the top step have improved somewhat since his move, and teammate Andre Lotterer demonstrated that podiums were at least possible under the right circumstances last season. Wehrlein has shown some serious flashes of speed during his time in Formula E so far, but Mahindra’s inconsistency made it tricky for him to reach his potential aside from some stellar qualifying performances and a runner-up spot in his second-ever E-Prix. Porsche too were an inconsistent team last year, but their performance potential should be greater than Mahindra’s given their resources. It’s too early to bet your house on a Wehrlein win this season, but if you had to pick one driver from this list, he’d be a decent bet.
Like Werhlein, Lotterer has come exceptionally close to breaking his duck having finished on the podium six times so far – five of those in second place – but with close to 40 Formula E starts under his belt, he’s had considerably more chances than his new teammate to do so. Having only joined Porsche at the start of last season, Lotterer has spent the majority of his Formula E career in a frontrunning, championship-winning car so to be winless at this stage is a record he’ll be keen to shake off quickly. In Lotterer’s defence, his team-mate at Techeetah just happened to be arguably the series’ best ever, so a clean break with Porsche was understandably too good for the three-time Le Mans winner to turn down. At 39 (13 years Wehrlein’s elder) he’ll fancy his chances of taking Porsche’s maiden Formula E win, but in a straight fight, his younger teammate probably has the edge in terms of raw speed
Following brief spells with DS Virgin (2016-18) and Jaguar (2018-19), Lynn gets a deserved full season shot with Mahindra for 2021 having been another driver, like Rast, to have impressed in Berlin. While regular points and a first Formula E podium seem reasonable targets for now, a first Formula E win will be his long-term aim even if that does seem a step too far right now. That’s not to say Lynn doesn’t have the ability, it’s more a reflection of where his Mahindra team are at the moment. The last two seasons have been difficult, and it may prove to be next season and beyond when the full dividends of their restructure and investment come to fruition. For Lynn, he’ll just be keen for now to prove he deserves a long-term stay this time as career stability is something he’s lacked in recent years.
Rast, like Cassidy, is another driver to have racked up an impressive recent win record in other categories. The German won close to a third of the races he started in DTM over a four year period, as impressive a ratio as you’ll find anywhere, and his performances during August’s Berlin season finale were eye-catching to say the least. Rast has shown sufficient pace so far to suggest a win could happen, but Audi’s underwhelming qualifying often left teammate Lucas di Grassi starting too far back for that to be possible last season. A fourth-place finish in Diriyah was a strong start to Rast’s first full season and at the very least he’ll look to build on that with a second podium finish in the upcoming races.
Envision Virgin’s new signing has won plenty of races in recent years, but he’s already made it clear that he’s setting modest targets for his maiden Formula E season. Anyone who has seen the Kiwi race during his time in Japan will know he’s exceptionally quick, and his track record there made him an attractive option when a replacement for Sam Bird was required. Cassidy’s new teammate, Robin Frijns, demonstrated the potential of their package with pole and a second-place finish in Diriyah, while Cassidy himself impressed with a run to finish sixth in Race 2 (even though he later lost it due to an Attack Mode infringement). The front of the grid is as competitive as ever this season, so a win for Cassidy is clearly an outside bet early on, but as his confidence builds there’s every chance he could spring a surprise later in the campaign.
It’s tricky to properly assess Dennis’ chances this season for a few reasons. Firstly, we’ve not seen much of him so far as he’s only two races into his Formula E career and he was taken out rather violently by Wehrlein in the second of those. Secondly, BMW’s impending exit (which leaves Dennis’ future unclear) means this season could end up being a transitional period for the team. Neither he nor teammate Max Günther scored in Diriyah, and they were the only team not to do so which doesn’t bode well. BMW Andretti’s form was notably inconsistent last season and that can be a tricky environment for a Formula E newcomer to be in. Having said that, Dennis is highly rated and has raced and beaten several current F1 drivers on his way up through the junior categories. A win might well come, but BMW will need to rediscover their performance peaks from last year for him to do so.