Felix Rosenqvist bowed out of the 2017-18 ABB FIA Formula E Championship with a top five finish at the New York City E-Prix finale, on a weekend which also saw him take the spoils for fastest race lap.
Rosenqvist did not enjoy the best of starts in the Big Apple, coming home 14th in the opening race of the double-header meeting after his Mahindra Racing car stopped on track and required a full power reset. The Swede could take small consolation from setting the fastest lap of the race, however, most importantly lending hope of better things to come on Sunday.
The paddock woke up to rainy skies on the final day of the season, with Sunday morning free practice marking the highly rare occasion of a fully wet Formula E session. The 2.3 km Red Hook track, located in Brooklyn, dried up in time for the race however, with Rosenqvist starting from ninth on the grid but making swift progress to run seventh on the opening lap.
He later went on to overtake both Jaguar cars of Nelson Piquet Jr. and Mitch Evans (the latter during the pit stop phases thanks to a rapid car swap), snatching fifth.
Rosenqvist then maintained his position across the line, bringing his second season of Formula E racing to a top five finish.
The two New York races were won by Lucas di Grassi (Audi) and Jean-Eric Vergne (Techeetah) respectively, with Vergne also sealing the title in front of the spectacular Manhattan skyline.
“This weekend actually sums up the entire season quite well,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It’s been up and down. We were right on the pace from time to time, not least during the second half of the first race when I set the fastest lap, but not consistently enough. We couldn’t get the tyres into the right operating window, and that hurt us in both qualifying and the races. At the end of the day P5 was probably the maximum we could achieve here, so I’m pretty pleased to have brought that home.”
Rosenqvist’s 2017-18 Formula E CV includes two race wins, three pole positions and two fastest laps. He ends up sixth in the overall drivers’ standings on 96 points, with Mahindra Racing team-mate Nick Heidfeld in 11th (42 points). The combined efforts of the two hand Mahindra Racing fourth place in the teams’ championship.
Rosenqvist’s two victories came in Hong Kong and Marrakesh. He has also retired from two races – Mexico City and Rome – while in the lead.
“It’s been a season of mixed feelings and results,” Rosenqvist sums up. “It started off fantastically, winning two of the first three races, and while we struggled a bit during the second half of the season, I’m still happy with my own performance in most of the races. We proved that we can be as fast as anyone in this field, and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone at Mahindra Racing. It’s been hard work for everyone, but we’ve always won and lost together as a team and we can be proud of the way we went about our racing.”
Felix Rosenqvist will now redirect his attention to the remaining part of the Japanese Super GT season, where round five is set to take place at Fuji Speedway on August 4-5.
RESULTS (top five)
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
New York City E-Prix (USA)
Race 1 – Saturday
1: Lucas di Grassi (BRA), 43 laps
2: Daniel Abt (GER), +0.965s
3: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), +2.583s
4: Tom Dillmann (FRA), +4.090s
5: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), +4.679s
14: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +35.452s
Race 2 – Sunday
1: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 43 laps
2: Lucas di Grassi (BRA), +0.508s
3: Daniel Abt (GER), +1.287s
4: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), +1.780s
5: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), +12.146s
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (top six)
ABB FIA Formula E Championship
After 12/12 races
1: Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA), 198 p.
2: Lucas di Grassi (BRA), 144 p.
3: Sam Bird (GBR), 143 p.
4: Sébastien Buemi (CHE), 125 p.
5: Daniel Abt (GER), 120 p.
6: Felix Rosenqvist (SWE), 96 p.