Envision Racing look to return to the podium and score big points at the Diriyah E-Prix double-header
Season 10 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship started strongly for Envision Racing at the Mexico City E-Prix. Both drivers showed front-running pace, and at the end of the weekend, Sébastien Buemi bagged a podium and his best result for the team to date.
Buemi’s team-mate Robin Frijns ultimately had a racing return with Envision Racing to forget, crashing out of the race, but the Dutch driver showed strong pace in practice and qualifying, and will be fully focused on bringing home the points as Envision Racing heads to the Diriyah E-Prix for the second and third round of the championship.
THE NOCTURNAL CHALLENGE IN SAUDI ARABIA
This year’s Diriyah E-Prix will be the fifth time Envision Racing and Formula E have visited the 2.49km street circuit. Located on the edge of the capital Riyadh, among the ancient UNESCO World Heritage site surroundings of Diriyah, the layout is a truly unique sight where cutting edge technology and sporting competition meets the distant past.
Since its inception, the Diriyah E-Prix has formed an early season test for the teams and drivers, and has become one of the toughest challenges on the Formula E calendar.
The circuit is made up of 21 turns ranging from tight and twisty to fast and flowing. Particular challenge is the multi-turn ‘toboggan’ run where the drivers must flick from left to right between Turn 5 and Turn 14 at top speed. Although it is difficult to pass, this legendary section of track will be crucial in qualifying as some serious time can be won, or lost.
Similarly crucial is the sweeping final Turn 16. In both qualifying and the race, drivers will need to arrive and exit this section inch perfect to carry speed into the straight before braking hard for the chicane and a new lap.
To make things that bit more spectacular, the action will all be played out under the lights in the Saudi night sky, illuminated with the latest in low-power LED technology.
LAST TIME OUT IN MEXICO
Starting the season off in style 💪
— Envision Racing (@Envision_Racing) January 15, 2024
Both Buemi and Frijns showed impressive pace throughout practice and qualifying for the Mexico E-Prix, but their race day fortunes diverged significantly.
Buemi on the Podium Again
For Buemi, the race was a resounding success. Qualifying second, in the race, he secured a well-deserved second place finish, marking his second podium for Envision Racing, his fourth in Mexico, and his best result for the team to date.
This strong performance bodes well for the Diriyah E-Prix in, where Buemi will be looking to go one step further and solidify his championship challenge.
“It was obviously great to begin the season with a front-row start and a P2 finish in Mexico City,” Buemi said.
“But it’s just one race and now we are trying to work hard to prepare for this race as best we can.
“Last season we got a pole position there, my first one for the team, and we were quite fast overall – so the idea is to be building on that and hopefully I will be able to put a good week together. We know it is going to be tough but I am looking forward to it: it’s a great, challenging track and we are going to be racing at night like the last few years so I am really looking forward to it.”
Frijns’ Challenging Return
Frijns’ return to Envision Racing was unfortunately more difficult. After a promising start with strong free practice and qualifying sessions, his race ended abruptly on lap eight.
Despite the disappointment, the weekend wasn’t without glimpses of promise. Frijns endured a tough start, dropping from seventh to 15th, but he demonstrated fighting spirit throughout the race before his E-Prix-ending incident at the final corner.
Frijns has gone well in Diriyah before. In Season 7 and Season 8, the man from Maastricht ended up second, and he will be drawing on that experience this year to score big and bounce back in style.
“Diriyah has always been quite nice to me,” Frijns noted.
“I always feel quite competitive there, it’s a difficult street track; there’s a lot of S-corners and a good flow is really important there … but it’s also a track where you can easily make a mistake.
“We’ve been successful there with Envision in the past, we’ve finished on the podium twice, so we are definitely aiming for that again.
“Obviously Mexico was a bit of a disappointment so we need to score good points to get back into championship contention and hopefully the two races in Saudi we will do that.”
Drivers’ standings (after Rd 1):
1. Pascal Wehrlein, 28pts
2. Sébastien Buemi, 18pts
3. Nick Cassidy, 16pts
4. Maximilian Günther, 12pts
5. Mitch Evans, 10pts
Teams’ standings (after Rd 1):
1. Porsche Formula E Team, 28pts
2. Jaguar TCS Racing, 26pts
3. Envision Racing, 18pts
4. Maserati, 12pts
5. Penske, 12pts
DID YOU KNOW?
Nestled in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula, like a gem amidst the golden sands, lies Diriyah – the cradle of Saudi Arabia’s rich tapestry of culture and heritage, and in 1744 the first Saudi state rose under the banner of the Al-Saud dynasty.
Often hailed as the ‘Jewel of Saudi Arabia,’ this historic town is where the seeds of a mighty kingdom were first sown.
At-Turaif, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, stands as a testament to Diriyah’s glorious past. This ancient district, once the thriving heart of the first Saudi capital, is a treasure trove of mudbrick palaces, mosques, and watchtowers, silently echoing the footsteps of bygone rulers and merchants.
Follow Envision Racing HERE