12 Jan 19

Marrakesh analysis: d'Ambrosio top, 'idiot' JEV causes chaos & Brazilian backlash

BMW suffer a disastrous moment of madness 

"We got ourselves into a situation and it's my mistake," admits BMW i Andretti Motorsport's Antonio Felix da Costa in the painful aftermath of seeing a certain victory and one-two BMW finish slip away. 

"He attacked me, I defended and I failed on defending. I should have just realised that my race was over -I cost him places. 

After the Portuguese driver clinched the win in the season opener in Saudi Arabia, another win and one-two finish looked certain after the BMW's broke away from the rest of the pack midway through the race. Leading by a comfortable margin, Sims made a break for the top step of the podium, only to be met by a challenge from his teammate. One that would cost them both a spot on the podium.  

"I was just hungry and I really, really wanted to win today. It's been two years of really hard work and I wanted to win this race so badly - it bit me back. Hard. 

"I want to lay all my cards on the table, take the blame for this and move on. 

"We would have taken the win. For sure. For me, I wanted to win badly but now, standing here with nothing - a second place would have been amazing. Lesson learnt." 

D'Ambrosio fights to the front of the championship

"The race was really hard fought," says Mahindra Racing's Jerome d'Ambrosio, visibly relieved and overwhelmed with emotion after reaching the top of the podium for the first time in his Formula E career. His two other victories in the series had been handed to him following disqualifications. 

"Coming from P10, it wasn’t expected."

"When I saw a couple of opportunities, I pushed for a couple of laps, made a couple of positions and managed to keep it. 

"Winning this race means a lot for us for all of the hard work we’ve done over the past few weeks. We keep on working hard, we keep on improving all the time." 

Adding another 25 points to the 15 he collected after his third-place finish in Saudi Arabia, means the Belgian driver is leading the championship, 12 points ahead of da Costa and DS Techeetah's Jean-Eric Vergne. Considering d'Ambrosio finished 14th overall last season, he's already trumped the measly 28 points he accrued over the course of the 2017/18 season in just two races. Impressive, yes. Expected, certainly not. But, then again, this is Formula E - anything can happen.  

jerome d'ambrosio celebrates in the pit lane at the marrakesh e-prix
After third in Saudi and a win in Marrakesh, d'Ambrosio leads the championship having already accumulated more points in two races than he did all of last season.

Brazilian backlash

During the Saudi showdown, just a few weeks ago, we saw Panasonic Jaguar Racing's Nelson Piquet Jn and Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler exchange blows as well as bodywork, reigniting one of the series oldest rivalries. But no one expected fellow Brazilian Felipe Massa to wade into the fray.

Following an albeit slightly suspect move from the former Formula One ace, during Practice 2, Nelson Piquet Jn. didn't waste any time in labelling him an "amateur". Strong words indeed but it didn't end there. Following up after the race, the Massa gave as good as he got.

Formula E ain't easy - fresh faces yet to make an impact 

With HWA's drivers - Stoffel Vandoorne and reigning DTM Champion Gary Paffet - enduring a dismal day of racing, Venturi's, Felipe Massa labelled an 'amateur' and Mahindra's Pascal Wehrlein retiring from the race after just 10 seconds on track, Formula E is no walk in the park. With one of the best driver line ups in the world, the all-electric street racing championship proves once again to be a tough series to master with some of the most highly qualified new entrants yet still yet to score a single point.   

Marrakesh race city icon

See the full team and driver standings after the Marrakesh E-Prix

Envision Virgin Racing hand it to the manufacturers

With a grand total of eight global car brands on the grid and two more on the way next season (Porsche and Mercedes), Formula E isn't short of manufacturer might. But for all that, Envision Virgin Racing - one of the few non-manufacturer teams in the championship - still managed to show them the ropes, occupying two places on the podium in Marrakesh. Despite both drivers sustaining damage before the race after NIO's Tom Dillmann ran into the back of them in the pitlane after Qualifying, Frijns and Bird fought well, keeping clear of the chaos to secure second and third. After Marrakesh, the team sit fourth in the standings behind DS Techeeath, BMW i and Mahindra Racing - it's all still to play for in Formula E.

robin frijns at the marrakesh e-prix
Despite both Envision cars sustaining damage after a shunt before the race and no manufacturer-backing, the Virgin Racing squad snatched up two places on the podium. 

'Idiot' JEV causes chaos in his 'biggest mistake in Formula E' but isn't sorry 

"I was an idiot," says the Frenchman moments after the race in which he spun in the opening seconds, causing chaos as the repercussions of his overambition rippled through the pack on Turn 1. 

"You always try to go for the gap and to be aggressive but I guess I was a bit too much.

"I say I was an idiot because it was completely unnecessary - I had the pace to win easily today. I gained 16 seconds, overtaking 15 cars after that. 

"I'm not going to apologise for trying, that's for sure. When you stop trying, you start to go backwards. That's part of the game and its part of motorsport. 

"I guess that was the biggest mistake I've done in Formula E but to still finish fifth is OK, I guess. 

"I will not change anything for Santiago. I am who I am - everybody knows me. I don't wait to overtake and I'm not going to change that," he says with a knowing smile.