The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2022-23
A new era in Formula E delivered new stars and storylines, culminating in a first British winner of the world title who saw off multiple challengers and tests. Here is our rundown of who shone brightest during the season
As in previous years, the title battle went down to the final round of the 2022-2023 Formula E Championship after another frenetic season of racing. There were no fewer than seven winners across the campaign, representing six different teams and using three different powertrains, such was the competitiveness of the championship this term.
Porsche and its customer Andretti Autosport initially emerged as the leading forces with the new Gen3 machine. Either Pascal Wehrlein or Jake Dennis seemed destined to claim a maiden Formula E title come the end of the year, such was their early dominance.
But a resurgent fightback from Jaguar and customer team Envision Racing, with Mitch Evans and Nick Cassidy respectively, set up an intriguing title dynamic as all four drivers went to the final round in London with a shot at the crown. In the end, Dennis prevailed on home soil while Envision claimed a maiden teams’ title after a dramatic conclusion to the 16-race calendar.
Following an enthralling season of racing which featured several notable performances, Autosport has picked out the top 10 Formula E drivers from the campaign.
10. Sebastien Buemi
Buemi just beats Bird for the last spot in the top 10
Photo by: Nick Dungan / Motorsport Images
Championship position: 6th
2021-2022 driver ranking: N/C
Buemi pips Sam Bird to the final spot on this list, primarily due to being more consistent across the season which proved vital in Envision’s quest to beat Jaguar to the teams’ title. The 2015-16 Formula E champion only failed to finish in the points on four occasions, having been collected by Wehrlein on the opening lap in Cape Town and eliminated in a multi-car crash triggered by Bird in Rome. Front wing damage in the second Berlin race and a puncture in the opening Jakarta contest meant he also non-scored in both.
Despite his impressive consistency Buemi incredibly only claimed one podium all year, although he was stripped of third in Hyderabad due to a time penalty for overpower usage which dropped him down the final classification. His best chance of victory came in the opening Berlin E-Prix having taken his second pole position of the year after Diriyah, but he failed to defend hard enough in the closing laps and dropped to fourth before the finish.
His single podium came in the penultimate race in London, but only after colliding with team-mate Cassidy which ended the Kiwi’s title challenge after he was forced to pit for a new front wing. Although not entirely to blame, Buemi has to take some responsibility for the incident during a season where he was convincingly put in the shade by multiple winner Cassidy.
The Formula E rookie impressed in spurts but lacked consistency
Photo by: Andreas Beil
Championship position: 16th
2021-2022 driver ranking: N/C
Essentially his rookie season having only made a very late one-off appearance for Dragon Penske at the final race in 2022, Fenestraz impressed with flashes of raw speed this term. First points of the season for the youngest full-time driver on the grid came with eighth in Diriyah before he claimed his maiden pole in Cape Town just two races later. He was on course to finish third in arguably his best showing of the year in South Africa before crashing out on the final lap when under pressure from Cassidy.
Initially he claimed another pole at Monaco but was stripped of his final duel time due to overpower usage, but still led briefly during the race and took his best finish of the year in fourth. It was a result he repeated in the second Jakarta event having challenged Evans for the final podium position in the closing stages.
Fenestraz comfortably outqualified his more experienced Nissan team-mate Norman Nato 10-6 over the season but lacked consistency and energy management in the races, which meant he finished 31 points behind in the final championship standings.
8. Jake Hughes
Hughes took advantage of McLaren's early season form and also outshone experienced team-mate Rast
Photo by: Charly Lopez / Motorsport Images
Championship position: 12th
2021-2022 driver ranking: N/C
Another rookie to the Formula E grid in 2023, Hughes hit the ground running in the opening races with some impressive results. The McLaren driver qualified third for the first round in Mexico City and mixed it with the frontrunners before finishing fifth after being mugged by Andre Lotterer on the last lap.
Eighth followed in the first Diriyah E-Prix as Hughes bagged his maiden pole in the sequel before he slipped to fifth by the flag and behind team-mate Rene Rast. Over the course of the season, though, Hughes beat his more experienced stablemate in the championship standings by eight points, but McLaren’s performance notably trailed away during the latter stages of the season.
Tenth in the opening London E-Prix was the only points finish Hughes enjoyed in the final six races – in contrast with seven across the first 10 races – with his season’s low point coming in qualifying for the first Rome encounter when he crashed in qualifying and was unable to make the start.
In contrast, his highlight was taking pole at Monaco, benefitting when Fenestraz was stripped of his lap despite Hughes also having his lap time deleted for cutting the Nouvelle chicane. He led briefly in the race before finishing fifth, his best result of the year. The Briton was confirmed earlier this week to be returning with McLaren in 2024.
It was largely either feast or famine for Guenther this year
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Championship position: 7th
2021-2022 driver ranking: N/C
The German was something of a dark horse over the season and on his day one of the best drivers on the grid. The only problem was those days came along all too fleetingly. A general lack of pace for the Maserati MSG squad in the opening races prevented the chance for strong results and when on course for a potential podium in Cape Town, Guenther found the barrier.
It took until the seventh round in Berlin before he got off the mark with points, demoting Buemi on the final bend to grab third which he followed up on the next day with sixth. A silly collision with Dan Ticktum in Monaco cost more points, before his best weekend of the season came in Jakarta.
Having earned a double pole, he lost out to Wehrlein and Dennis in the opening race as they managed strategy better. But with lessons learned for the sequel, Guenther took his sole victory of the season as only Dennis was able to keep him in sight.
More points came in Portland and both Rome races – another podium in the first Italian race – but his somewhat rollercoaster season ended on a low note in London as he finished outside the top 10 both times.
Vergne was set to be a title contender until DS Penske performance slipped off the pace
Photo by: DPPI
Championship position: 5th
2021-2022 driver ranking: 4th
The first driver on this list to have taken a top 10 spot in last year’s Autosport Formula E driver rankings, Vergne took the title fight to the more dominant Jaguar and Porsche powertrain users in the first half of the season. The DS Penske driver and two-time Formula E champion was at his best in Hyderabad, where despite having less energy than Cassidy behind, he somehow kept ahead in the closing stages while conserving enough power to win.
He looked on course for back-to-back wins before Antonio Felix da Costa usurped him for the lead in Cape Town two laps from home, but his run of points finishes continued for a further five races and included another rostrum in Berlin.
By this time Vergne had called for greater performance from his team but it was largely inevitable that he would slip away in the title fight against stronger packages in the final stages. The fact that he was able to beat reigning champion and team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne so convincingly over the season was a testament to his impressive performances.
5. Antonio Felix da Costa
Da Costa rarely had luck on his side, but could jump from ninth to fifth in the final standings if Porsche's appeal is successful
Photo by: Gareth Harford / Motorsport Images
Championship position: 9th
2021-2022 driver ranking: 6th
Quite possibly the unluckiest driver on the grid, da Costa generally seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time at various points of the season. However, some of that was due to starting down the grid, as the 2019-2020 Formula E champion struggled for one-lap pace – a notable weakness of the Porsche powertrain.
A first podium in Hyderabad was followed up by a win in Cape Town with possibly the overtake of the season on Vergne, but thereafter results were hard to come by. A likely podium disappeared in Sao Paulo after he cut the first corner and was forced to come to a stop, and another possible podium went missing in Berlin after he was the innocent victim in a collision with Dennis.
One more rostrum followed in Portland, but only after he lost second to Dennis on the final lap, and he was stripped of a well-earned second in London due to a technical infringement. Porsche has appealed the decision, the team and da Costa claiming the low tyre pressure was due to a slow puncture, and if the decision is successfully overturned it will lift the Portuguese to fifth in the standings.
4. Pascal Wehrlein
The German led the standings with six races to go but faded poorly to fourth overall
Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images
Championship position: 4th
2021-2022 driver ranking: 9th
At one stage of the season Wehrlein seemed almost assured of the title, such was his and Porsche’s early dominance. Remarkably, he only failed to score in just one of the 16 races when he ran into the back of Buemi on the opening lap in Cape Town.
A runner-up position in Mexico City was followed by back-to-back wins in Diriyah as the most consistent performer in the championship continued to score points after his South Africa blip. With Porsche’s early dominance fading, though, so too did the strong results.
Wehrlein still led the championship until the season's halfway point despite the downturn in form and he moved back to the top of the standings with victory in Jakarta, his third win of the season giving renewed hope for a title challenge. But he never stood on the rostrum again in the final six races and although he entered the London decider still with a shot of the title, any realistic thoughts of the championship had faded long ago.
3. Mitch Evans
Collisions, both caused by himself or rivals, denied Evans enough momentum for a stronger title attack
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images
Championship position: 3rd
2021-2022 driver ranking: 2nd
While Wehrlein’s campaign began in almost perfect fashion, the opposite was true for Evans. Although there were three points finishes on the bounce, they were in the lower reaches of the top 10. Then came Hyderabad, where the Jaguar driver had taken pole before he was dramatically eliminated by team-mate Bird. Incredibly, the same was to happen again later in the season during the first Jakarta race, with both incidents costing the Kiwi a stronger tilt at the title.
Heading to Sao Paulo for the sixth race of the year, Evans was already 66 points off the lead in the championship but wins in Brazil and then next time out in Berlin whittled that gap down, as did further podiums in Monaco and the second Jakarta race. He won the opening race in Rome having dominated at the venue 12 months earlier and was in the mix the following day with fellow rivals Cassidy and Dennis before his infamous collision with the former.
Evans bounced back from the subsequent grid penalty in the opening London race to win and make Dennis work for the title, but he missed out on the crown at the final round for the third year in a row. What could have been but for the Rome collision with Cassidy?
2. Jake Dennis
11 podiums in 16 races was an impressive success rate, but two wins in that tally mean he misses out on top spot in this ranking
Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images
Championship position: 1st
2021-2022 driver ranking: 5th
Eleven podiums were the backbone to Dennis’s campaign and ultimately key to his title success despite an infamous run of four races without scoring any points. The Andretti Autosport driver turned around pre-season struggles to win convincingly in Mexico City before challenging Wehrlein until the line in the Diriyah double-header.
Then began a series of misfortunes, which included being eliminated by Ticktum in Sao Paulo and Rast in Hyderabad, a drive-through penalty in Cape Town for tyre pressures being too low and he collected da Costa in Berlin.
A runner-up finish in the second Berlin race broke the hoodoo and set Dennis on a run of five podium finishes on the bounce, the break in the sequence coming in the opening Rome race when his Andretti team miscalculated the number of laps left. He still finished fourth, though, and when title rivals Cassidy and Evans collided the next day, Dennis secured a lights-to-flag victory to put the title in reach ahead of London.
That he was able to take the fight to, and beat, the more dominant Jaguar powertrain drivers in the latter part of the season, in direct contrast to fellow Porsche user and title rival Wehrlein, only underlined his impressive season.
1. Nick Cassidy
Cassidy's season-ending drive cemented his top spot in this list, in a season when fate could have made him champion
Photo by: Sam Bagnall / Motorsport Images
Championship position: 2nd
2021-2022 driver ranking: 10th
Cassidy snags the top spot on this list for the way he bounced back in the London finale, where he obliterated his rivals without putting a wheel wrong in wet and treacherous conditions. All this just 24 hours after possibly his lowest moment in motorsport, when an almost certain victory and realistic chance of the title was lost in a collision with team-mate Buemi. His wet virtuoso performance also guaranteed Envision the teams’ title on his final outing with the squad when it would have been all too easy to let events from previous day get the better of him.
The championship challenger had to wait until just before the halfway point of the season and the second Berlin race before standing on the top step of the podium, having finished second in Hyderabad and Sao Paulo as well as third in Cape Town. He continued his strong run of form with an impressive win in Monaco which put him to the top of the standings, before a small blip in Jakarta when he lost his front wing in a collision with Wehrlein.
He handled the frenetic racing in Portland brilliantly to take his third win, each coming from eighth or lower on the grid to showcase Cassidy’s excellent race craft and energy management. Was the innocent victim in his Rome collision with future Jaguar team-mate Evans, without which Cassidy could well have walked away as the 2022-2023 Formula E champion.
Stepping up to the factory Jaguar team next season, can Cassidy go one better?
Photo by: Nick Dungan / Motorsport Images
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