Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns goes from 8th to 4th as team-mate Cassidy bags vital points from way back on the grid
Robin Frijns pulled off one of the overtakes of the year in a dramatic London E-Prix to claim fourth place in Round 13 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship with team-mate Nick Cassidy fighting into the points to push Envision Racing back to the top of the Team’s Championship standings.
After a relatively calm first race in London on Saturday, there was controversy at the front of the field and the race was punctuated by multiple contact and damaged cars. Despite this, Frijns kept his customary calm to keep out of trouble and end up near the front when it mattered, mixing aggression with race craft and making a stunning pass around the outside of turn one late in the race.
“It was a pretty hectic race, in turn one I clipped the inside kerb and damaged my front wing and was scared it might’ve broken off,” admitted Frijns after the race. “After that it was quite solid, I had a big fight with Pascal (Wehrlein) and kept moving forwards. In the end I just couldn’t quite manage to overtake Mitch (Evans) but I am definitely happy with fourth place.”
Frijns’ team-mate Cassidy showed why he has emerged as a Formula E front-runner in 2021 and capped a strong performance in London by moving up from 18th on the grid to 7th at the finish. Like his fellow Envision Racing stablemate, Cassidy sealed his afternoon with a stunning overtake and once again proved he never knows when to give up.
“Mixed feelings about today, I feel like it’s one that got away from me,” said Cassidy, “but I went from 18th to seventh in the race which confirmed the pace that we had in practice and proved that we should have been starting further up the grid. Important that we got good points for the team, and Robin scored as well which is great, so overall a good day for the team.”
Following a frustrating qualifying session for Saturday’s Round 12 of the championship, Envision Racing’s Frijns ended Q1 for Round 13 second fastest, and by the time qualification was complete, Frijns ended up a promising eighth with many championship rivals starting near the rear of the field.
At the start of the race, the Dutch driver maintained his grid position as the cars squeezed through the opening sequence of turns that lead from the indoor section of the circuit located in the ExCeL London exhibition centre and out into daylight of London’s Victoria Docks.
Frijns soon found himself behind the Porsche of Pascal Wehrlein and the action throughout the top 10 was frantic and close with plenty of contact between the cars, the most serious occurring between René Rast and Sébastien Buemi which brought out the first safety car of the weekend.
As the race entered the final 30 minutes another of Frijns’ title rivals António Félix da Costa crashed out, triggering a second safety car phase followed by huge drama at the restart as Oliver Rowland and Stoffel Vandoorne collided handing Nyck de Vries the lead and promoting Frijns to seventh.
In the chaos, Frijns’ Envision team-mate Cassidy had moved up to 11th place and within striking distance of the points scoring positions, and with just over 13 minutes remaining pulled off a measured pass on Sérgio Sette Câmara under braking for turn one to put himself in the points.
As the clouds gathered overhead, Frijns provided the fireworks on the track. One lap after Cassidy’s bold move Frijns matched his team-mate’s heroics with an audacious pass around the outside of Maximilian Günther at turn one to take fifth place and set about the Jaguar of Mitch Evans.
The Envision Racing driver managed to get by Evans as the Kiwi driver took his second Attack Mode only to be re-passed just as race leader Lucas di Grassi was handed a drive through penalty for taking the lead of the race under the safety car by taking a pit lane shortcut.
Di Grassi elected to stay out instead of serving his penalty and started the final lap in first, followed by Alex Lynn and de Vries with Evans leading home Frijns, only for it all to change on the last lap. Di Grassi was given the black flag and eliminated from the results, promoting Frijns to fourth and move up to second in the Driver’s Championship standings, just six points behind new leader and compatriot de Vries.
For Envision Racing’s Managing Director Sylvain Filippi there was plenty to smile about as his team now heads into the final two races of the season in Berlin seven points ahead of nearest challengers, the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team.
“I don’t even know where to start,” exclaimed Filippi after Round 13. “It was a race full of action and we showed really tremendous race pace with both drivers making great progress through the field, and Robin taking fourth place is a great result considering he had to qualify in group one.”
“Nick did an incredible job to climb through the field to seventh, so overall, fantastic drives from both of our guys. We got a little bit unlucky with the Attack Mode and safety car periods, but I am really happy and we are taking the championship down to the wire in Berlin which is very exciting for the fans and the sport in general.”
Drivers’ standings (after Rd 13):
1. Nyck de Vries 95pts
2. Robin Frijns, 89pts
3. Sam Bird, 81pts
4. Jake Dennis, 80pts
5. António Félix da Costa, 80pts
7. Nick Cassidy, 76pts
Teams’ standings (after Rd 13):
1. Envision Racing, 165pts
2. Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team, 158pts
3. Jaguar Racing, 156pts
4. DS Techeetah, 148pts
5 BMW i Andretti Motorsport, 142pts