2019 Bern EPrix
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2019 Bern EPrix

2019 Swiss ePrix
Race 11 of 13 of the 2018-19 Formula E season
Bern Street Circuit.svg
Race details
Date 22 June 2019 (2019-06-22)
Official name 2019 Julius Baer Swiss E-Prix
Location Bern Street Circuit, Bern
Course Street circuit
Course length 2.668 kilometres (1.658 mi)
Distance 31 laps, 82.708 kilometres (51.392 mi)
Weather Sunny to light rain
Pole position
Driver Techeetah-DS
Time 1:18.813
Fastest lap
Driver Portugal António Félix da Costa Andretti-BMW
Time 1:21.240 on lap 27
First Techeetah-DS
Second Jaguar
Third e.Dams-Nissan

The 2019 Swiss ePrix (formally the 2019 Julius Baer Swiss E-Prix) was a Formula E electric car race on the streets of Bern, Switzerland on 22 June 2019. It was the eleventh round of the 2018-19 Formula E Championship, and was the first and only running of the event (the previous Formula E race in Switzerland was held the year before in Zürich[1]). The race was won by Techeetah driver Jean-Éric Vergne[2] after starting from pole position and leading all 31-laps. Jaguar driver Mitch Evans finished a close second, ahead of Swiss driver Sébastien Buemi who finished third for the Nissan e.Dams team.

The race was halted by a red flag on the first lap following a collision involving several cars that blocked the track. After a 40-minute delay, the race was restarted with drivers reordered back to their starting positions. These position changes led to complaints by several of the drivers who had gained positions during the first lap. Envision Virgin Racing driver Robin Frijns was the only driver who was unable to restart the race due to car damage suffered in the first lap crash.[3]

The majority of the race was held under dry conditions until the final two laps, when a heavy rain shower brought treacherous conditions to the circuit. The change in weather allowed Evans to close the gap to Vergne and stay with him to the checkered flag, but Vergne was able to hold on, ultimately crossing the line just 0.160 seconds ahead of Evans.[4]

The consequence of the final positions meant that Jean-Éric Vergne was able to expand his lead in the Drivers' Championship by 32-points over championship rival Lucas di Grassi who finished ninth.[5] The strong result for Mitch Evans moved him from sixth to third in the standings. Techeetahs' victory meant that they were able to extend their lead in the Teams' Championship by 43 points over Audi, while Virgin maintained third place with two races remaining at the double-header in New York.



In 2018, it was announced that Bern would host a round of the 2018-19 Formula E Championship. The Swiss ePrix was added as a replacement for the Zürich ePrix, which had debuted in 2018. The city of Zürich was unable to host the race again in 2019 due to other events happening that summer.[6]

A few days before the race, there was an environmental protest against the race being held. The largely peaceful protest involved several hundred protesters riding bicycles around the circuit. The protest was to raise awareness to the environmental damage caused by the trucks traveling to set up the race, as well as all the spectators who were expected to driving to the city to watch the race.[7]

Later, organizers of the race filed a criminal complaint against several protesters who allegedly vandalized the circuit. The complaint estimated that protesters caused over $400,000 in damages, which included cut TV cables, and damaged sponsorship banners that were hung around the track.[8]


The temporary 2.750 km circuit was made up of city streets in the de facto capital of Switzerland. The 14-turn[5] track wound through the Old Town portion of the city, past Rosengarten park[9] and the Bärengraben (bear-pit).[10] The narrow track was noted for its elevation changes, with almost the entire track being on an incline or decline. Jaguar Racing driver Mitch Evans said ahead of the race that he thought it was "...a real, hardcore street circuit...I think it's going to be a complete roller coaster."[11] Other challenges of the circuit that drivers noted include variations in the tarmac surface and road camber, as well as several sharp corners and chicanes. Additionally, several drivers remarked about narrowness of the circuit, and the difficulty for overtaking.[12][5] The combination of steep hills, sharp corners, and length (Bern was the second-longest track on the 2018-19 calendar) meant that managing energy with the regenerative braking would be a real test for the drivers.[13] The confined spaces in the old city also added logistical challenges for the teams. The indoor paddock area, where teams prepare the cars before the race, was located 800 meters away from the pit lane.[12] The Attack Mode activation zone was located off the racing line between turns 8 and 9, and had to be used twice during the race by each driver.[14]


Going into the race weekend, Jean-Éric Vergne was leading the drivers' championship by just six points ahead of Audi driver Lucas di Grassi. di Grassi had moved into second place in the championship after winning the previous race in Berlin, and putting him ten points clear of Vergnes' Techeetah teammate, André Lotterer. Just 21 points separated the top five drivers in the championship, including Vergne, di Grassi, and Lotterer, as well as BMW driver António Félix da Costa and Robin Frijns for Envision Virgin Racing. Of these, all but Lotterer had won a race that season. In the teams' championship, Techeetah was leading the 2017-18 champions Audi, who had overtaken Envision Virgin Racing for second place in the championship.[10]

Practice and qualifying

The Friday shakedown session, which allows drivers to get a feel for the track at a lower power levels, was delayed after the track construction wasn't finished on time. The shakedown time was also reduced to fifteen minutes. The race officials decided to give more time to construction crews to work on installing the track barriers and catch fencing.[12]

The first practice session was held Saturday morning under overcast conditions, with the Audi drivers of Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt being the first out on track. As the session progressed, the lap times improved as drivers become more comfortable on the circuit. Ultimately Jean-Éric Vergne was able to set the fastest time of 1:19.281, just 0.111 seconds ahead of his team mate, André Lotterer. Lucas di Grassi, Robin Frijns, and Mitch Evans rounded out the top five.[15] During the second free practice session, several drivers had difficulty with track limits, with Gary Paffett, Maximilian Günther, and Tom Dillmann all taking to the escape road (the latter two were investigated by race officials). In the end, Mahindra driver Pascal Wehrlein was able to set the fastest time of 1:19.118, with both Techeetah drivers, Lotterer and Vergne, finishing the session in second and third respectively.[16]

Qualifying got underway Saturday afternoon with the group stages in dry, overcast conditions.[17]Jaguar Racings' Mitch Evans set the fastest overall time with a lap of 1:18.897.[18] Along with Evans, Techeetahs' Jean-Éric Vergne, Mahindras' Pascal Wehrlein, Sébastien Buemi for Nissan e.Dams, Maximilian Günther in the Geox Dragon Racing, and Envision Virgin Racings' Sam Bird all set the top times in their respective groups, thereby advancing to the Super Pole shoot-out.[17]

Audi driver Daniel Abt qualified seventh, having missed out on advancing to the shoot-out by just 0.119 seconds. He was ahead of championship contenders André Lotterer of Techeetah and Envision Virgin Racings' Robin Frijns who weren't able to make it out of their group, and started eighth and ninth respectively.[19] Jaguar driver Alex Lynn was just a tenth of a second behind Frijns, and would round out the top ten on the grid.[20]

Mahindra Racings' Jérôme d'Ambrosio started eleventh, ahead of the Venturi of Felipe Massa, and Oliver Rowland in the Nissan e.dams who started thirteenth. Next was the Geox Dragon of José María López in fourteenth, who started ahead of the HWA teammates of Stoffel Vandoorne and Gary Paffett in fifteenth and sixteenth. Alexander Sims in the BMW Andretti car was seventeenth, ahead of Swiss driver Edoardo Mortara for Venturi.[17][21] Two of the championship contenders had disappointing qualifying laps, with second placed Audi driver Lucas di Grassi managing only to go nineteenth fastest, while António Félix da Costa, who went into the weekend in fourth, started twentieth in the BMW i Andretti. The NIO drivers of Tom Dillmann and Oliver Turvey qualified at the back of the grid, in twenty-first and twenty-second respectively.[21]

During the Super Pole shoot-out to determine the top six starting places, Vergne was able to set the fastest time of 1:18.813 seconds, allowing him to take his first pole position of the season.[20] Mitch Evans clipped the wall during his lap and ended up behind Vergne by just 0.307 seconds, but was still fast enough to prevent Swiss driver Sébastien Buemi from getting a front row starting position at his home race. Buemis' time of 1:19.164 just 0.004 seconds ahead of fourth place Wehrlein with a time of 1:19.168.[18] Maximilian Günther was able to start fifth with a time of 1:19.371, equaling his best qualifying result of the season,[19] while Sam Bird rounded out the top six with a time of 1:19.536.[18][19] In addition to starting the race from the front of the grid, Vergne was also awarded three championship points, which put him nine points ahead of Lucas di Grassi in the drivers' championship.[20]

Qualifying classification

Pos. No. Driver Team Time Gap Grid
1 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah-DS 1:18.813 - 1
2 20 New Zealand Mitch Evans Jaguar 1:19.120 +0.307 2
3 23 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi e.Dams-Nissan 1:19.164 +0.351 3
4 94 Germany Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra 1:19.168 +0.355 4
5 6 Germany Maximilian Günther Dragon-Penske 1:19.371 +0.558 5
6 2 United Kingdom Sam Bird Virgin-Audi 1:19.536 +0.723 6
7 66 Germany Daniel Abt Audi 1:19.554 - 7
8 36 Germany André Lotterer Techeetah-DS 1:19.585 +0.031 8
9 4 Netherlands Robin Frijns Virgin-Audi 1:19.591 +0.037 9
10 3 United Kingdom Alex Lynn Jaguar 1:19.608 +0.054 10
11 64 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Mahindra 1:19.613 +0.059 11
12 19 Brazil Felipe Massa Venturi 1:19.638 +0.084 12
13 22 United Kingdom Oliver Rowland e.Dams-Nissan 1:19.670 +0.116 13
14 7 Argentina José María López Dragon-Penske 1:19.714 +0.160 14
15 5 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne HWA-Venturi 1:19.719 +0.165 15
16 17 United Kingdom Gary Paffett HWA-Venturi 1:19.804 +0.250 16
17 27 United Kingdom Alexander Sims Andretti-BMW 1:19.908 +0.354 17
18 48 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara Venturi 1:20.023 +0.469 18
19 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Audi 1:20.034 +0.480 19
20 28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Andretti-BMW 1:20.081 +0.527 20
21 8 France Tom Dillmann NIO 1:20.506 +0.952 21
22 16 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey NIO 1:20.551 +0.997 22


The race got off to a chaotic start after Pascal Wehrlein was turned sideways at the first chicane after making contact with Sébastien Buemi.[23] Wehleins' car was then wedged between the barriers and the car of Maximilian Günther, thereby blocking the track and leading to a large pile-up. Robin Frijns, while attempting to avoid the wreck, was hit from behind by Jérôme d'Ambrosio and got turned into the wall on the opposite side of the track, ending his race. This event caused much of the field to be stuck behind the incident.[24] A few drivers, including Sébastien Buemi, Lucas di Grassi, Felipe Massa and António Félix da Costa, were able to snake their way through the mess, and use the escape road to continue on.

The race was promptly red-flagged in order to clear the track. This allowed teams to make repairs to their cars. Meanwhile, the race officials decided to reset the field in the order that they had started the race, as they were unable to determine the position of most of the grid when the red flag had come out. Several of drivers who made it past the blockage, and therefore gaining considerable track position, were quite upset about the decision, and got into a heated argument with race officials once they returned to pit road. Lucas di Grassi, who was fighting for the championship with the pole sitter, Jean-Éric Vergne was particularly upset, as he had made up eight places after starting nineteenth.[4] However, the reordering had been done in accordance with the regulations which stated that "in all cases the order will be taken at the last point at which it was possible to determine the position of all cars. All such cars will then be permitted to resume the race." [23] Following the 40-minute stoppage, the race was restarted behind the Safety car with all drivers (save for Frijns) lining up again.[23]

Jean-Éric Vergne (pictured in 2016) extended his championship lead with his third victory of the season.
Mitch Evans (pictured in 2020) moved to third in the championship with his second place finish.

Right from the restart, Vergne came under attack from Mitch Evans. Evans would continue to challenge for the lead most of the race, making several attempts at passing on the downhill run into turn 3. Twice during the race, Evans was able to activate his two attack mode power boosts a lap ahead of Vergne to try and get past the 2017-18 champion, but Vergne was able to defend against the passing attempts, before finally being able to get to the attack mode activation zone himself to equalize the power between their two cars.[4] During his first attempt, Evans was hindered by a local yellow flag caused by the stopped Mahhindra of Pascahl Wehrlein. Wehrlein, who retired from the race due to a technical failure, come to a halt on track just before the attack mode activation zone.[24][25] During the race, Vergnes' Techeetah team mate, André Lotterer, managed to move up the field to fourth place from his starting place in eighth.[14] The Envision Virgin Racing driver Sam Bird, made a difficult pass for fifth around the outside of the GeoX Dragon of Maximilian Günther going through the fast downhill turn three.[24]

During the final two laps, a heavy rain began to fall on the circuit, adding a new complexity to the race.[4] The rain caught out Sam Bird who spun, losing valuable time, and allowing André Lotterer to get passed for fourth.[4] Evans attempted use the wet tack to his advantage, but Vergne was able to hold on for the win, leading the top four nose-to-tail across the line.[14] Evans came second, leading Buemi in third, and Lotterer in fourth. After his spin, Sam Bird managed to hold onto fifth, ahead of Maximilian Günther in sixth. Daniel Abt, Alex Lynn, and championship contender Lucas di Grassi rounded out the top ten.[4]

Post Race

On the podium, Swiss driver Sébastien Buemi was able to celebrate his home race with his son, who he brought onto the podium with him.[5]

After the race, several drivers were handed penalties for infractions during the race. André Lotterer, who finished fourth, was given a 22-second penalty, thereby dropping him to fourteenth.[26] The Techeetah driver was given the penalty for ignoring a red light when exiting the pit lane following the first lap crash. There was confusion between Lotterer and his team about what the race officials wanted him to do. He had brought his car back to the pit lane before the officals asked all teams to line up on the start-finish straight while they worked on clearing the track. Lotterer confirmed several times with his team several times that he should exit the pit lane and rejoin the rest of the grid. Lotterer was critical of the decision, calling it "extremly harsh".[27]

André Lotterer (pictured in 2013) was handed a 22-second penalty after the race.

In addition to the Lotterer penality, the Dragon Racing driver of José María López, who had finished thirteenth, was disqualified for exceeding the maximum power limit. Edoardo Mortara was penalized for a collision with Alexander Sims, and was given a five-place grid penality at the following race in New York. Felix da Costa was handed a five-second time penalty for not slowing enough for the full-course yellow, but it kept his 12th place finish.[27]

Several drivers expressed their displeasure at the way the grid was reset following the red flag. di Grassi, who had managed to make it past the track blockage, described the reorder as "super unfair". Felipe Massa, who also gained positions following the crash, called the decision "totally unacceptable". Massa criticized the fact that cars who were heavily damaged were allowed to be repaired and restart the race in their original positions, ahead of cars that were able to avoid the pile-up and didn't need repairs.[28] Sam Bird commented that the first corner chicane was an "accident waiting to happen" given the narrowness of the circuit, as well as the brakes and tires not being up to temperature on the first lap.[29]

The consequence of the race meant Vergne extended his lead in the Drivers' Championship to 32 points over Lucas di Grassi going into the final events in New York.[26] With 87 points, Evans's second place finish jumped him from sixth to third in the standings. As a result of his penalty, André Lotterer dropped to fourth in the standings, 44 points behind his teammate Vergne.[27] Techeetah retained first in the Teams' Championship with 216 points, 43 points ahead of Audi. Vigrin, e.Dams and Mahindra maintained third, fourth and fifth respectively.[30]

It was announced prior to the event that the Swiss ePrix would be left off the calendar for the 2019-20 season.[31][32] A report by the city government following the race was generally positive, but identified several issues with the event, including lack of access to local homes and businesses, disruption to public transit, and lack of communication to residents.[33] In January 2020, it was announced that the company that organized the race had gone bankrupt.[34]



Pos. No. Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 25 France Jean-Éric Vergne Techeetah-DS 31 1:25:26.873 1 25+34
2 20 New Zealand Mitch Evans Jaguar 31 +0.160 2 18
3 23 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi e.Dams-Nissan 31 +0.720 3 15
4 2 United Kingdom Sam Bird Virgin-Audi 31 +2.996 6 12+15
5 6 Germany Maximilian Günther Dragon-Penske 31 +4.625 5 10
6 66 Germany Daniel Abt Audi 31 +6.930 7 8
7 3 United Kingdom Alex Lynn Jaguar 31 +9.972 10 6
8 19 Brazil Felipe Massa Venturi 31 +12.310 12 4
9 11 Brazil Lucas di Grassi Audi 31 +13.073 19 2
10 5 Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne HWA-Venturi 31 +13.386 15 1
11 27 United Kingdom Alexander Sims Andretti-BMW 31 +14.714 17
12 28 Portugal António Félix da Costa Andretti-BMW 31 +18.9171 20
13 64 Belgium Jérôme d'Ambrosio Mahindra 31 +21.872 11
14 36 Germany André Lotterer Techeetah-DS 31 +23.1062 8
15 8 France Tom Dillmann NIO 31 +40.084 21
16 16 United Kingdom Oliver Turvey NIO 31 +46.622 22
17 17 United Kingdom Gary Paffett HWA-Venturi 31 +1:22.512 16
Ret 22 United Kingdom Oliver Rowland e.Dams-Nissan 21 Suspension 13
Ret 94 Germany Pascal Wehrlein Mahindra 11 Technical 4
Ret 48 Switzerland Edoardo Mortara Venturi 5 Brakes 18
Ret 4 Netherlands Robin Frijns Virgin-Audi 0 Collision 9
DSQ 7 Argentina José María López Dragon-Penske 31 Power usage3 14


  • ^1  - António Félix da Costa received 5-second time penalty for speeding under Full Course Yellow.
  • ^2  - André Lotterer received a drive through penalty converted into a 22-second time penalty for ignoring pit exit light.
  • ^3  - José María López originally finished thirteenth, but was disqualified for exceeding power usage over 200 kW.
  • ^4  - Pole position.
  • ^5  - Fastest lap.

Standings after the race

  • Notes: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.


  1. ^ Kalinauckas, Alex. "Bern announced as Formula E's 2018/19 calendar Swiss venue". Autosport.com. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ "Formula E: Vergne closes in on Formula E title". 22 June 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ "Lucas di Grassi: Bern Formula E red flag reset call "super-unfair"". 25 June 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Swiss E-Prix: Vergne beats Evans as dramatic pile-up stops race". 22 June 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d "Bern analysis: 'Crazy' track creates 'chaos' as Vergne closes win, di Grassi still 'fights for the title' ahead of grand finale". 23 June 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ Kalinauckas, Alex (12 October 2018). "Bern announced as Formula E's 2018/19 calendar Swiss venue". Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ Anex, Anthony (20 June 2019). "Environmental protestors object to Bern Formula E race". Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ Flauraud, Valentin (28 June 2019). "Criminal complaint to be filed against Swiss Formula E protestors". Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ "Government report outlines criticisms of Bern Formula E race". 20 September 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Bern Formula E: Six talking points ahead of the second Julius Baer Swiss ePrix". 21 June 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ "Vergne sets the pace on 'rollercoaster' track in Bern practice". 22 June 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ a b c "Unfinished Bern Formula E track forces shakedown delay". 21 June 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  13. ^ Masefield, Fraser (20 June 2019). "Bern e-Prix preview - title up for grabs approaching penultimate race venue". Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ a b c "Vergne victorious in frantic battle for Bern ahead of Championship finale". 22 June 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  15. ^ Smith, Topher (22 June 2019). "VERGNE SETS THE PACE IN BERN FIRST PRACTICE". Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ O'Keefe, Conrad (22 June 2019). "WEHRLEIN ON A ROLL IN SECOND BERN PRACTICE". Retrieved 2020.
  17. ^ a b c Smith, Topher (22 June 2019). "VERGNE ON POLE IN BERN WHILE RIVALS FALTER". Retrieved 2020.
  18. ^ a b c Larkam, Lewis (22 June 2019). "Formula E Swiss E-Prix - Qualifying Results". Retrieved 2020.
  19. ^ a b c Kalinauckas, Alex (22 June 2019). "Swiss E-Prix: Vergne charges to pole, di Grassi 19th". Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ a b c Larkam, Lewis (22 June 2019). "Formula E championship leader Vergne takes pole for Swiss E-Prix". Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ a b "Vergne clinches Julius Baer Pole Position in the battle for Bern, disaster for di Grassi". 22 June 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ "R11 Qualifying" (PDF). Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ a b c Larkam, Lewis (22 June 2019). "Vergne resists Evans for victory in red-flagged Swiss E-Prix". Retrieved 2020.
  24. ^ a b c O'Keefe, Conrad (22 June 2019). "VERGNE MAKES POETIC HISTORY WITH BERN VICTORY". Retrieved 2020.
  25. ^ Hesse, Björn (23 June 2019). "Formula E: Jean-Eric Vergne victorious in Berne". Retrieved 2020.
  26. ^ a b Gittings, Paul (23 June 2019). "Bern E-Prix: Jean Eric-Vergne closes on second straight title after Swiss success". Retrieved 2020.
  27. ^ a b c Errington, Tom (22 June 2019). "Lotterer stripped of fourth place by "extremely harsh" penalty". Retrieved 2020.
  28. ^ Kalinauckas, Alex (25 June 2019). "Lucas di Grassi: Bern Formula E red flag reset call "super-unfair"". Retrieved 2020.
  29. ^ Errington (23 June 2019). "Eight-car Bern pile-up an "accident waiting to happen" - Bird". Retrieved 2020.
  30. ^ Dow, Jameson (10 July 2019). "Formula E will crown its champion this weekend at the New York ePrix". Retrieved 2020.
  31. ^ Kalinauckas, Alex (14 June 2019). "Formula E unveils 2019/20 calendar with earlier start date". Retrieved 2020.
  32. ^ Anex, Anthony (15 June 2019). "No Formula E race in Switzerland next season". Retrieved 2020.
  33. ^ "Government report outlines criticisms of Bern Formula E race". 20 September 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  34. ^ "Organiser of Swiss Formula E race goes bust". 22 January 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  35. ^ "R11 Race" (PDF). Retrieved 2019.
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