Formula E's best racing moments in the USA

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Formula E's best racing moments in the USA

With just one exception, Formula E has raced in America every single season since its cars first hit the track back in 2014. Season 9 saw the introduction of Portland, but each of the series' four stateside venues harbour a wealth of history that you may not have known about...

Season 1: 2015 Miami E-Prix, 14 March 2015

The first-ever Formula E race in North America produced a classic in Miami, though a potential Hollywood ending for home star Scott Speed was narrowly missed after an incredible finale.

Jean-Eric Vergne started first after claiming his second Julius Baer Pole Position in just his third Formula E race, but was forced to drop to the back after a power issue.

This left Daniel Abt on course for victory until Nico Prost and Scott Speed overtook the German driver with just two laps to go. Prost had last experienced a potential win in the Formula E’s first ever race in Beijing before his final-corner collision with Nick Heidfeld created headlines all across the world.

Nicolas-Prost-becomes-the-fifth-different-Formula-E-winner-in-as-many-races

This time, however, the Frenchman was destined for victory despite an almighty tussle with Scott Speed who, on debut, attacked with vigour through every corner. Despite the home-crowd cheering Speed on, Prost remained composed to secure his first Formula E win.

Season 1: 2015 Long Beach E-Prix, 4 April 2015

Three-weeks later, Formula E returned to America and this time the bright lights of California welcomed the championship to Long Beach.

A modified version of the Long Beach Grand Prix track was used, and it was Daniel Abt who began the race in first after a maiden pole. It didn’t last long out-front for Abt, however, after Nelson Piquet Jr. overtook Abt on the first corner of the race.

Despite the Safety Car being forced into action twice, Piquet Jr. kept the lead throughout to win, almost 35 years to the day his father won a Formula 1 race on the same circuit.

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The Brazilian would eventually go on to claim the Season 1 title, but his victory in Long Beach remained his sole Formula E win.

Season 2: 2016 Long Beach E-Prix, 2 April 2016

A year on, Antonio Felix da Costa thought he was starting first in Long Beach, but he had his time excluded due to tyre pressure issues. This led to Sam Bird earning pole by just nine thousandth of a second ahead of Lucas di Grassi.

The narrow gap between the Brit and the Brazilian ran into the race, before the typically opportunistic di Grassi finally passed Bird for the lead on lap 12. After the car swaps, Bird threatened to retake first place, before falling down the grid 11 laps later after locking up and hitting the tyres.

Di Grassi wins Long Beach

With Leonardo di Caprio watching in the grandstands, di Grassi took victory ahead of Stephane Sarrazin and Daniel Abt. The event also saw Simona de Silvestro become the first woman to claim points in Formula E after her ninth place finish.

Season 3: New York City E-Prix, 15 & 16 July 2017

Though America had proved disappointing for Sam Bird in 2016, his fairytale of New York 12 months later continues to live long in the memory. For New York City’s first motor races, tens of thousands of fans took to Red Hook across two days to watch an absolute masterclass from Bird at the Brooklyn Street Circuit.

In an odd turn of events, the Brit had almost missed the weekend due to a schedule clash. With the World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Nurburgring taking place across the same weekend, some drivers, including Formula E championship leader Sebastien Buemi, raced in Germany instead of America.

Buemi was replaced by Pierre Gasly for the Brooklyn races, while Bird’s teammate in New York City was development driver Alex Lynn, who stepped in for Jose Maria Lopez.

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It proved to be a dream start for Lynn, who became the first driver since Jean-Eric Vergne in Season 1 to claim pole in their debut qualifying session. Though Lynn’s race finished early on lap 25 due to a driveshaft failure, his teammate Bird ultimately became the first man to win a motor race in New York City.

The next day, he won again, this time after starting from pole position to make even more memories in the Big Apple.

Season 4: New York City E-Prix, 14 & 15 July 2018

It was Jean-Eric Vergne’s turn to create history in New York City a year later as he - and Formula E - said goodbye to the GEN1 era in style.

Vergne entered the final two races of the season as championship leader and 23 points ahead of nearest rival Sam Bird, but with his title rival a specialist around the streets of Brooklyn, the title was not guaranteed.

This proved especially prescient after a disastrous qualifying session for JEV who was disqualified after overpowering during his flying lap. Bird failed to capitalise however, with a disappointing 14th place in qualifying not putting the pressure on Vergne.

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Indeed, it took the Frenchman just 17 laps to pass Bird, before eventually finishing in fifth place. Though it was Lucas di Grassi who took the overall race win ahead of teammate Daniel Abt, all eyes were on Vergne, who clinched his maiden Formula E championship on Bastille Day, France’s national holiday.

The next day, hours after France clinched their second football World Cup title, Vergne completed a dream weekend by lifting his own championship trophy after winning the final race of the season.

Season 5: New York City E-Prix, 13 & 14 July 2019

Winning the Formula E championship in NYC was so nice, JEV had to do it twice! Vergne led the championship by 32 points heading into Brooklyn, leaving any potential rivals praying for two zero point races from the Frenchman to have any chance.

It all seemed so serene initially for Vergne who had won the previous race in Bern. Brooklyn proved different however, and though he qualified 10th, he never looked fully comfortable in the race. With two laps left, Vergne was ninth and on course to claim a second Drivers' title, before a collision with Felipe Massa saw the championship hopeful eventually finish 15th and out of the points.

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The race win went to Sebastien Buemi - his 13th, and last in Formula E to this date, leaving it all to play for the next afternoon.

Though JEV’s lead had been cut to 22 points, he would still win the title if he finished sixth or higher, and after qualifying 12th, one place behind nearest rival Lucas di Grassi, drove a typically smart race to claim the points he needed to become champion once again, this time becoming the first champion of the GEN2 era.

Season 7: New York City E-Prix, 10 & 11 July 2021

After a break in Season 6 due to the truncated COVID-hit season, Formula E returned to Red Hook for the fourth time in 2021. Unlike the previous two visits, this was not the season-finale, and instead the 10th and 11th rounds of a fiercely-competitive season.

In the first race of the weekend, Maximilian Guenther rose from fourth to first to earn Andretti their historic first Formula E win in America. Guenther took the lead from third with seven minutes to go after Nick Cassidy and Jean-Eric Vergne nudged while battling for first.

Bird wins in New York City

Race two saw a familiar face leading from the front, with Sam Bird on pole for the Jaguar team. The Brit would go on to achieve a perfect day, winning by over four seconds ahead of Nick Cassidy and achieving the fastest lap of the race.

Banking the maximum 29 points from the day, Bird became the first man to win three times in New York City, and took the lead of the Season 7 championship.

Season 8: New York City E-Prix, 16 & 17 July 2022

After narrowly missing out on victory in his last visit to New York City, Nick Cassidy finally achieved his first Formula E win last year - in the most bizarre circumstances.

The final 10 minutes saw torrential rain hit Brooklyn, resulting in a late-race shunt involving a number of drivers - including the race leaders - which brought things to an early close under the Red Flag.

Despite both Nick Cassidy and Lucas di Grassi ending their E-Prix in the barriers, the pair still found themselves on the podium alongside Robin Frijns in third. With the race ending under a Red Flag, article 41.9 of the race regulations stated that if the race can't be resumed, the results are taken at the end of the penultimate lap prior to the lap during which the signal to suspend the race was given, which reinstated all three to the podium.

Da Costa wins in New York City

After the unexpected ending of Saturday, Sunday proved to be much more straightforward, with Antonio Felix da Costa standing top of the podium after a lights-to-flag victory.

Season 9: Portland E-Prix, 24 June 2023

For Season 9 and the new GEN3 era, Formula E blazed a trail to Portland, Oregon and a visit to the Portland International Raceway. The permanent circuit has been a regular on the Indycar calendar, and welcomed all-electric racing with open arms and high-speeds.

it was a record-breaking debut on the Formula E calendar, the first dropping in qualifying as the fastest lap in history was recorded by rapid rookie Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan) before Jake Dennis (Andretti) went 0.001s quicker to take the record away from him.

The 28-lap race was a hive of activity with overtakes galore (a record-breaking 403 on-track passes to be precise), with drivers looking to capitalise on the slipstreaming around this flowing circuit and not give away any vital energy in the opening quarters of the race.

The pin dropped in the final five laps, as Nick Cassidy (Envision) hit the front of the field after working his way through the pack from 10th on the grid. The New Zealander gapped the field ever so slightly, and despite Dennis' hard-charging efforts to launch by Antonio Felix da Costa (TAG Heuer Porsche), it was just enough of a lead for the Envision driver to cross the line first and pick up a second victory in the United States.

With Season 10 just around the corner, Formula E returns to Portland for double the fun in 2024 as the Portland International Raceway will host two races on  Saturday 29 June and Sunday 30 June.