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The highs and lows of Britain's latest world championship success

Jake Dennis became the first British driver to win the Formula E world championship, a prospect that, at times, looked bleak before a run of podiums relaunched his title attack. The Andretti Autosport driver details the behind-the-scenes story on his success

World champion Jake Dennis, Andretti Autosport celebrates on the podium

World champion Jake Dennis, Andretti Autosport celebrates on the podium

Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

Trying to express my emotions on winning the Formula E world championship is always going to be difficult. It’s not just this year, it’s so many years of hard work that have gone in to try and become the best in the world at something.

It just means the absolute world to me and the whole Andretti Autosport team. Seeing the emotions of everyone in London at the finale was something that I never expected, just how much it meant. It was an incredible feeling and it still gives me goosebumps now thinking about becoming world champion. Being the best in Formula E is something so special. I’ll definitely never forget it.

It’s hopefully something I get to experience again, but you only ever become world champion for the first time once, and I feel like nothing will ever come close to that moment.

We left Valencia after pre-season testing thinking that we had one of the slowest powertrains, we weren’t efficient at all. We were slow, we were lacking pure pace and it was a difficult off-season. I just went into it thinking this is going to be a season at the back, so to win the opening round in Mexico was just so unexpected. When that happens it becomes even sweeter.

We then left the next rounds in Saudi Arabia thinking that we’re in the best position ever, we’ve got the most efficient powertrain, everything was in our favour. Then basically from the end of January until April I didn’t score any points.

They were all flyaways and single-header races, which means you’re away from your family so much. You are still doing all the simulator work, still doing all the preparation, and to not come home with any reward was so mentally challenging. I could see the morale in the team at times being low, there’s no denying that. You could see how much they were putting in towards it and I couldn’t deliver the results that they deserved.

After a win and a pair of runner-up finishes at the start of the season, Dennis didn't score a point for the next four races

After a win and a pair of runner-up finishes at the start of the season, Dennis didn't score a point for the next four races

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images

I just kept trying to have a reset after each race, but when you do it three or four races in a row the novelty wears off pretty quickly and you think, ‘Is this really worth it?’. Thankfully Pascal Wehrlein wasn’t scoring massive points at this stage of the season and Nick Cassidy and Mitch Evans were coming back from a really rough start to the season.

PLUS: How a "complete reset" helped Dennis deliver Andretti's Formula E title

Obviously, they were winning races by this point, but I never once thought that I can’t win the championship. Every race I still felt like I could do it, I’ve got the Porsche powertrain behind me, I’ve got the team behind me to fight for race wins, I can turn this around. And that’s exactly what we did.

The level between Nick, Mitch and I has been so high this year. I felt like none of us had a day off, all of us have been working so hard to try and win this championship. Every lap, every session mattered, and I felt like whenever I delivered a good lap in qualifying, those guys were also qualifying right at the front.

That race in London felt like I had everything thrown at me. Safety cars, red flags, the overtakes which were going on, it was all just so intense. I just felt like I had 21 drivers all going up against me

They were performing, they were winning races. I was scoring podiums – but even the podiums felt like they weren’t enough.

I left Portland with a second place, a home race for the team, a huge event for us, and I was annoyed that I’d finished second. That was the sort of level that we were working towards. If you don’t win the race, it’s not good enough.

We obviously came out on top, but these boys were pushing me so hard and whoever had won would have deserved it.

That race in London felt like I had everything thrown at me. Safety cars, red flags, the overtakes which were going on, it was all just so intense. I just felt like I had 21 drivers all going up against me and it was so difficult to control what I was feeling inside of the car. I was only speaking to my engineer at that point and just felt like I was alone, I wasn’t having any support, especially from my team-mate and the other Porsche cars.

In a hectic opening race of the London finale, Dennis was able to make a vital mental reset in the red flag stoppage

In a hectic opening race of the London finale, Dennis was able to make a vital mental reset in the red flag stoppage

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

After the first red flag I spoke to my manager and just needed a reset of what was going on because the race was so intense, and he gave me good clarity, he gave me the confidence that I could do it. I just went into my driver’s room and had a moment to myself with no cameras, nobody else, just trying to control everything that was going on.

It was a good thing in terms of being able to keep my emotions in check, have a bit of a rest. I was thinking, ‘I can actually win this thing if I deliver, and I perform’, and that was the case in the end.

I am backing myself to try and win the championship again, but it’s going to be difficult. The Porsche guys and I are going to be working really hard to try and turn what has become a small performance deficit to Jaguar around and come back in Mexico in January and win this championship again.

Can Dennis defend his Formula E title next season?

Can Dennis defend his Formula E title next season?

Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images

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