SÉBASTIEN BUEMI AND NICK CASSIDY WILL LOOK TO FIGHT AT THE FRONT ONCE AGAIN AS THEY HEAD TO SOUTH AMERICA FOR THE INAUGURAL SAO PAULO E-PRIX
When it comes to motorsport, Brazil has produced some of the greatest drivers of all time. Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet, Emerson Fittipaldi and Rubens Barrichello are just a few that have become household names at the highest level of the sport. It is fitting therefore, that after a gap of five years, the world’s fastest all-electric racing series heads to a continent with a passion for high-speed, wheel-to-wheel action.
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship was scheduled to go to Brazil for the Rio de Janeiro E-Prix, way back in Season 1, however this never happened due to technical and logistical reasons. Fast forward to 2023, and this season’s E-Prix in São Paulo will mark the third consecutive event to be held on a brand new circuit, following on from the Hyderabad E-Prix. and the last race in Cape Town, South Africa.
With Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy sitting fifth in the Drivers’ Championship standings, just two points ahead of team-mate Sébastien Buemi, and the team holding a superb second place in the Team’s Championship order, the upcoming visit to São Paulo could prove to be a happy hunting ground. Both Cassidy and Buemi are within contention for the title after five races so far in 2023, and Envision Racing sit 32 points behind Porsche, totally focused on closing that gap.
THE CHALLENGE IN BRAZIL
The São Paulo Street Circuit measures out at 2.96km, with 11 turns in total, and is partially made up of the layout which hosted IndyCar competition until a decade ago. It comprises three long straights which will test the top speed capabilities of the new GEN3 Formula E machines.
As well as some anticipated high speeds on the São Paulo streets, the drivers will have to negotiate a couple of tricky chicanes, as well as a good mix of tight, 90 degree turns, a tight hairpin and some sweeping corners.
Envision Racing’s Buemi will be hoping for a similar result to one he scored in South America back in 2015. The Swiss driver won the Punta del Este ePrix that year, and with the form and pace shown by the team so far this in 2023, Buemi will be amongst the favourites for victory in São Paulo.
Key to success for both Envision Racing drivers will be getting to grips with the circuit as quickly as possible in the weekend’s opening practice session, and if the performances displayed at new circuits in India and South Africa are anything to go by, there’s going to be very little to worry about on that score.
LAST TIME OUT IN SOUTH AFRICA
What a weekend it was in South Africa.
The first ever Cape Town E-Prix was certainly one to remember. Buemi did well to recover from a sizeable accident in the first practice session of the weekend and make it into the qualifying duels. Come race day did even better to come back and finish fifth after being punted off and spun around on the opening lap by championship leader Pascal Wehrlein.
For Buemi’s team-mate, the Cape Town E-Prix provided a platform to stake his claim as a Formula E front-runner and championship contender. Once again in 2023, the green Jaguar-powered Envision Racing machine excelled in qualifying as Cassidy joined Buemi in the knock-out phase of, making it into the semi-finals and lining up a stellar third on the grid.
In the race, Cassidy held the lead during the opening stages, and showed that he and Envision Racing had the pace to challenge for the victory. The Kiwi driver’s hard work paid off on the last lap, as sitting in fourth, Cassidy took advantage of a mistake by third place man Sacha Fenestra to clinch his second consecutive podium.
After being cruelly denied a third place finish at the Hyderabad E-Prix due to a post-race penalty, Buemi did extremely well to draw on his speed and years of experience to come from last on the opening lap, to end up fifth at the flag.
Drivers standings (after Rd 5):
1. Pascal Wehrlein, 80pts
2. Jake Dennis, 62pts
3. Jean-Éric Vergne, 50pts
4. António Félix da Costa, 46pts
5. Nick Cassidy, 43pts
6. Sébastien Buemi, 41pts
Team standings (after Rd 5):
1. Porsche Formula E Team, 126pts
2. Envision Racing, 84pts
3. Avalanche Andretti, 80pts
4. McLaren Formula E Team, 66pts
5. DS Penske, 61pts
DID YOU KNOW?
It’s safe to say that the continent of South America contains some pretty big cities. However, none are bigger than the home of this weekend’s E-Prix.
That’s because São Paulo is the most populous city in the Americas, the western hemisphere and also the southern hemisphere. Among its more than 12 million inhabitants includes approximately 1.6 million Japanese-Brazilians living in São Paulo, making it the largest concentration of individuals of Japanese descent outside of Japan.
WHEN AND WHERE TO WATCH THE SÃO PAULO E-PRIX (All times GMT)
Free Practice 1 Friday 24 March – 19:25 – 20:15
Free Practice 2 Saturday 25 March – 10:25 – 11:15
Qualifying Saturday 25 March – 12:40 – 13:55
E-Prix Saturday 25 March 17:03 – 18:30
Follow Envision Racing at the Cape Town E-Prix and throughout the 2022–23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship HERE