ENVISION RACING’S CHARGERS BOTH SCORED POINTS IN THE SEASON-OPENING MEXICO CITY E-PRIX AND ARE HUNGRY FOR MORE IN SAUDI ARABIA
The new, faster and more efficient era of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship kicked off in style in Mexico with some heated battles, and plenty of tension at the historic Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, located just outside the sprawling capital city.
In his debut for the team, former Formula E champion Sébastien Buemi enjoyed a solid race, qualifying seventh and ending up one better at the chequered flag, claiming sixth, and with it, eight points.
Not too far behind the Swiss ace was his team-mate Nick Cassidy. The Kiwi enjoyed strong late-race pace, powering his Jaguar I-Type 6 from 12th on the grid to ninth, continuing his top 10 finishing streak from the back end of last season.
TIME TO FOCUS ON THE STREETS
For the last three seasons the streets of Diriyah have provided the setting for the opening round of the Formula E season. This year it will host rounds two and three of the 2022–23 Formula E World Championship, and it is a stark change from the wide open spaces of the season’s curtain raiser in Mexico.
Typifying the diversity of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the Diriyah Street Circuit, located just outside the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, offers a tough and unforgiving challenge.
It is also a race for night owls, and night vision will be key. The bright blue skies of Mexico City will be replaced by darkness come race time, with floodlights illuminating the path the drivers must take to ascend to victory, and they will have to do it not once, but twice at the first double-header event of the year.
This means, with one race on the Friday and another on the Saturday, there are big points up for grabs in Saudi Arabia.
The route of the 2.495km, 21-turn circuit runs alongside the city’s historic and spectacular walls, which are designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. There won’t be any time for Buemi of Cassidy to do any sightseeing, as the high speed sections require absolute razor sharp focus.
In fact, the Diriyah Street Circuit is regarded by the drivers as one of the toughest challenges on the 16-race calendar. Fast and bumpy, it’s probably the closest any of them get to a bobsleigh run, but master the snaking sequence of corners between Turn 6 and Turn 10 with a mix of speed and calculated precision, and huge amounts of time can be found.
100 NOT OUT FOR BUEMI
Envision Racing’s new signing Sébastien Buemi is, put simply, a legend of motorsport, and the ex-Formula one racing, multi-Le Mans 24 Hour winning driver will be notching up a notable milestone under the lights of the Diriyah Street Circuit.
Champion of Formula E’s second season back in 2015-16, Buemi will start his 100th series race in Saudi Arabia, joining rivals Lucas di Grassi, Jean-Éric Vergne and Jaguar Racing’s Sam Bird in clocking up a century of starts.
DID YOU KNOW…?
Saudi Arabia might be the 13th largest country in the world, but it isn’t a place to go if you fancy seeing any rivers. That’s because there aren’t any. Or any natural lakes for that matter.
With zero permanent or natural rivers, 95% of the country is considered a desert or semidesert, and under two percent of the country’s land is arable. To make up for the lack of rivers, there is plenty of coastline on the Persian Gulf and Red Sea.
WHERE AND WHEN TO WATCH
The weekend’s opening practice session for the 2023 Diriyah E-Prix gets underway at 18:00 local time, so that is 15.00 BST, on Thursday 26 January.
The second chance for the drivers to get to grips with the circuit before qualifying follows at 10.30 BST on Friday, with Qualifying getting underway from 12:40 BST.
The gloves come off at 17:00hrs BST when round two of the season gets underway.
On Saturday, free practice three gets underway at 10:30 BST on Saturday with Qualifying next up at 12:40 BST, with the final race of the weekend at 17:00 BST
Keep up to date with EnvisIon Racing’s fortunes at the Diriyah E-Prix HERE