• Thank you! Double World Champions as they bow out

As sparks fly into sky above Seoul’s Olympic Stadium and confetti rains down on the podium, Stoffel Vandoorne, Nyck de Vries and the entire Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team are in celebratory mood, enjoying the spectacle in the middle of it all. The debut of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship on the streets of South Korea’s capital could hardly have ended better for them.

It was already pretty obvious in the run-up to the last race weekend of Season 8 that the finale to the all-electric racing series was going to be epic, as Sunday would mark the running of the 100th Formula E race in its eight-year history and also see the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team contest their last E-Prix before bowing out from the racing series after three successful seasons. Members of the team based in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart could not have wished for a more fitting end.

Last race decides both World Championships

The first race on the new street circuit around and partly through the stadium constructed for the 1988 Olympics took place on Saturday. Stoffel Vandoorne went into the penultimate round of the season as the leader in the Drivers’ Classification, and Mercedes-EQ were also at the head of the table in the Team Championship. However, things were looking anything but ideal for Race 1 initially. Stoffel qualified seventh on the grid in tricky weather conditions while Nyck took P15.

stoffel vandoorne standing in the sun

“From a team’s perspective though, today we made life more difficult for ourselves than maybe it needed to be,” said Team Principal Ian James. “Especially during the qualifying session, we didn’t get things quite where we’d like them to be.”

But Stoffel made the best of the situation. He maintained his position at the start and gained two places as the race progressed to ultimately cross the finish line in P5 and score crucial points in both championships. “I think we as a team were perhaps not quite perfect, but still, we managed to stay out of trouble in the circumstances with all the incidents and score some vital points,” said Stoffel after crossing the finish line.

stoffel vandoorne sitting in his new silver arrow 02 with his helmet on

Nyck didn’t even see the chequered flag after being caught up in an incident involving no fewer than seven cars on the opening lap. “The conditions were very tricky with little grip and poor visibility before turns 20 and 21,” he said afterwards. What happened next was the accident that ended his race prematurely – but luckily for all concerned, no one was injured. “Fortunately, the halo protected me in the accident,” said Nyck. “Everything happened like in slow motion. I’m okay, but of course, that was the worst possible way to end my race. The most important thing is that everyone is okay.”

nyck de vries sitting ins his silver arrow 02 with his helmet on

Nail-biting finale

Saturday’s result meant that both World Championships would be decided in the final race of the season on Sunday. Qualifying went a little better for Stoffel this time and he secured P4 on the grid and Nyck booked P12.

Both drivers were able to hold their positions at the start. While Stoffel stayed with the front-runners, Nyck fought his way up into the points before being forced to retire his damaged car in the pits after contact with another car. That cost him the chance of securing any more points towards the win in the Team Championship.

stoffel vandoorne and nyck de vries walking through the pitlane

In the interim, Stoffel gained a position and was on course to take a podium all the way to the chequered flag. Jake Dennis was handed a time penalty, which served to bump Stoffel up into second place. And so, he not only secured his 15th podium finish in Formula E but also won the Drivers’ World Championship title in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship for the first time in his career!

“Wow, I’m speechless. It’s fantastic – the whole season has just been great”, said Stoffel. “It’s an incredible feeling when you think about what we’ve achieved together this year. Thank you to the whole team for making this possible. The car was superb again today, and everyone in the team deserves this success. We have accomplished something very special together.”

Stoffel’s title rival Mitch Evans ended the season as runner-up with a 33-point deficit. “Mitch gave everything right up until the end – he was always there,” said Stoffel, giving the Jaguar driver his due. “But in the end, consistency was the deciding factor: he won more races than I did, but I had the most podiums.” Eight in total this season. Also, Stoffel was an absolute model of consistency in Season 8. He finished in the points in 15 of this season’s 16 races. Only in Mexico did he just miss out, coming home in P11 – and only because another driver made him spin in a fight for P5 as the race was reaching its conclusion.

stoffel vandoorne leaving for the track in his mercedes-eq silver arrow 02

“As a team, we have achieved a level of consistency that has never been seen before in Formula E. I am incredibly proud of my team and our performance this season,” said Stoffel, summing up the racing year. “It’s the perfect way to end the season, to be on the podium in the last race of the season, the 100th E-Prix in the history of the series, and to win both world championship titles.”

“I am very happy for the whole team,” said Nyck. “Congratulations to Stoffel, who’s had a fantastic season. He’s been very consistent and deserves the title. The team has done a great job over the years, and we couldn’t have asked for a better end to our journey together than this final result. I am super happy that we have managed to win both world championship titles in each of the past two seasons. That’s a remarkable achievement in such a fiercely competitive race series.”

THANK YOU!

And thus ends the journey of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team in the all-electric racing series after three seasons that saw the team take seven wins and 23 podium finishes from 42 races while winning two double World Championship titles in a row.

the team celebrating after the race

“When the Mercedes-Benz board made the decision to enter Formula E four years ago, we didn’t know how it would turn out,” said Team Principal Ian James. “Now we are sitting here and have won both world championship titles for the second time in a row. This success we’ve had together in Formula E is just phenomenal. Congratulations to all the women and men at Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart. I have to admit, this is an emotional moment for me.”

The team’s sheer dedication, determination and work ethic have enabled them to achieve success. “I’ve never seen anything like it before, but that’s what leads to results like this,” said James.

ian james hugging a colleague after the victory

However, these are not the only successes notched up by Mercedes-EQ during their time in Formula E. “An incredible achievement for an incredible team; and on top of that a 1-2 in the team championship for Mercedes powered cars,” said Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO of the Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team. “That really shows the strength in depth of our racing organisations.”

the season trophies

And yes, in point of fact, with a 24-point deficit in Season 8, second place in the Team Championship went to Venturi Racing, who also use Mercedes powertrains and won the final round in Seoul with Edoardo Mortara. This was the eighth win of the season for the Mercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02 – the most achieved by any car. And just recently in Season 7, the works team and Venturi Racing took five wins with the car – more than any other outfit.

“Mercedes-EQ are leaving the series on a high, and with plenty of fantastic memories,” said Toto Wolff. “It has definitely been a fun ride. Formula E – it was great to have met you!”

the team celebrating after their last race

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