Sims has the race pace in Bern E-Prix but is denied points

Alexander Sims finished 11th in the final European round of the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, held in Bern, Switzerland, on 22 June 2019. The BMW i Andretti Motorsport driver showed excellent race pace during the Bern E-Prix but a challenging qualifying session and receiving contact during the opening stages of the race meant he was unable to add points to his championship tally.

Around the 14-turn street circuit in the Swiss capital, Sims set a fastest lap time of 1:19.908 during Qualifying in his BMW iFE.18 race car. Both he and his team-mate António Félix da Costa both struggled to set a time indicative of their race pace, with Sims securing a 17th-place grid position.

Despite a troubled start, during the race it was another story, with the BMW duo demonstrating excellent pace. Sims had a clean start off the line before a major incident in the first chicane triggered a number of collisions on the tight track, causing the race to be temporarily halted. Having avoided the incidents, Sims inherited a place from a retiring Robin Frijns to restart the race 16th after a lengthy stoppage.

With the race back underway, a late-braking Edoardo Mortara locked up into Turn 7 and collided with Sims, knocking him down the order to 20th place. Mortara was forced to retire and was dealt a five-place grid penalty for the next race in New York.

With only superficial damage, Sims resumed his charge and began picking off his opponents ahead, passing fellow Brits Oliver Turvey and Gary Paffett, along with Tom Dillmann and Jérôme d’Ambrosio, who’d been sparring ahead. Running in 15th, Sims was putting in excellent lap times in the #27 BMW iFE.18, setting the fastest lap in the closing third of the race, an accolade that his team-mate António Félix da Costa was just able to scoop in the closing laps. With fast consistent running, Sims crossed the line in 14th place with his final classification improving to 11th following post-race penalties for other entrants.

“We had good race pace – the car felt quick and we were making good forward progress during the race. It was surprising how different things were between qualifying and the race,” says Sims. “Unfortunately, qualifying dictates so much and the final result was scuppered by this; we need to understand why we weren’t able to realise our potential, especially given the qualifying performance in Berlin. It was a shame to start so far back on a track that’s narrow with overtaking very difficult. Being hit by another car in the opening laps didn’t help and cost some positions; given the race pace and forward momentum, if it weren’t for the incident, we could have been fighting for points. The car felt strong and I hope we can take that race feel into the final event of the season.”

The final two rounds of the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship take place as a double-header in New York City, USA, on 13-14 July 2019.

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