Formula E - London E-Prix talking points: Sam Bird given chance of homecoming victory
Sam Bird looks to continue his good form, having won in Brooklyn last weekend, by kicking on at the first series of races in London since 2016. Bird should compete in both races at the weekend's double headers, with the 34-year-old Englishman given the chance for a rare Formula E win on home soil after years away.
Sam Bird (10) of Jaguar Racing team driving car during day 2 race of ABB Formula E World Championship New York E-Prix in Red Hook, Brooklyn Street Circuit. Bird won the race and secured his position at the top of the Formula E driver standings
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship returns this weekend for the 2021 Heineken London E-Prix – the first race in the city since 2016 – with action live from 14:00 BST on Channel 4 on Saturday 24 and 13:40 on Sunday 25 July.
Jaguar Racing’s British star Sam Bird goes into the weekend as the World Championship leader after an impressive lights-to-flag victory in the previous round in New York City.
Here, we take a look at some of the major World Championship talking points as the all-electric series approaches its final four races of Season 7.
Sam Bird’s win in Round 11 of the ABB New York City E-Prix marked a significant moment for the Formula E veteran in the all-electric series.
Bird started on pole position and produced a flawless race to take the lead in the ABB FIA Formula E World Drivers' Championship with just four races to go in the season.
The 34-year-old became the first driver in Formula E history to win three races at the same track, with the Brooklyn Street Circuit proving a fruitful location for the Poole driver.
Often labelled ‘the nearly man’ of Formula E, Bird now has the chance to grab the bull by the horns in the title race and position himself as the favourite in what has been a stunningly tight title race, which has featured nine different race winners from the 11 races this season.
What better time to hit form than in his first home race since 2016, at a world first indoor-outdoor track at the ExCeL London.
As Bird said just before England’s ill-fated European Championships final against Italy – it's coming home...
Da Costa & Frijns making silent headway in the title race
Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns recently said he “couldn’t care less” if he becomes the first Formula E champion to win without a race victory.
While clearly tongue-in-cheek and playful, there is a real possibility the Dutchman could do just that as he sits tied for second place in the Drivers’ standings, just five points behind Bird.
He shares the runner-up spot with DS TECHEETAH’s Antonio Felix da Costa – the reigning champion – whose podium in the last round added to an already productive title defence so far for the Portuguese driver.
Although just 13 point separates the top six drivers in the championship, the consistency shown by Frijns and Da Costa, as well as their pedigree in the series, makes the pair ideal candidates to challenge Bird.
With London being another double-header weekend, there is much to play for across the two races but be in no doubt that victory for one of these top three drivers will put them in a fantastic position going into the final races in Berlin on August 14 & 15.
Da Costa pips Evans on last lap to win Monaco E-Prix
Envision Virgin lead tight Teams’ table
Frijns’ team Envision Virgin Racing are similarly yet to win a race in Season 7 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, but that matters little when you sit top of the standings.
The Silverstone-based team – running Audi’s FE07 in 2020/21 – lead second-placed DS TECHEETAH by just two points, with British manufacturer Jaguar Racing not far behind in third.
Those three have a healthy 26-point lead over their rivals in the Teams’ World Championship but, as in the Drivers’ running, a clear favourite is yet to emerge from the pack.
With two podiums in three races for Envision Virgin driver Nick Cassidy, and Frijns second in the standings, the team seem to have the best chance with both their drivers consistently scoring points race-to-race and the former certainly the driver in form just now.
Mercedes-EQ’s sticky patch
Rewind the clock to April 24 and you would be forgiven for thinking you were watching Formula 1 with a glance at the championship standings – such was Mercedes-EQ's early dominance in Season 7.
Fast forward three months, and a look at the standings tells a very different story, with just one points-scoring race for the German manufacturer since flying out of the traps in the first three events.
Team principal Ian James said ahead of the ABB New York City E-Prix that his squad has “failed massively” in its aim to be consistent this season as they held a narrow championship lead.
Following another underwhelming weekend in the Big Apple, Mercedes now sits fifth in the standings and with their season seemingly petering out, in spite of having won three of the first five races of the season.
Another poor showing in London would likely be the nail in the coffin on their title ambitions in the team’s second season in Formula E.