London E-Prix Preview: Two races remain, two titles up for grabs in the UK
24 July 2023
Envision Racing head to a dramatic season conclusion to Season 9 at the London E-Prix this weekend with everything still to play for…
The 2022–23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship has been an absolute cracker. With dramatic twists and turns a Hollywood script writer would struggle to match (even if they weren’t currently on strike…), it all comes down to the two final races at the unique ExCeL Centre in London.
Ahead of the season-ending double-header in the UK capital, Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy lies second in the Drivers’ Championship standings, 24 points adrift of leader Jake Dennis. But it could have been so different, had it not been for forces outside of his control, and subsequent drama last time out in Rome.
With a maximum of 54 points up for grabs in the final two races, nothing is decided just yet. Last year Cassidy claimed a top-three finish in London and, with seven visits to the podium this year including a hat-trick of victories, the Kiwi is no stranger to success in recent times.
He will be fired up to bring home every point possible at what is Envision Racing’s home track.
As well as a shot at winning a maiden Drivers’ title, Envision Racing are in a strong position in the battle for a first Teams’ Championship crown. Thanks to points bagged by Cassidy and team-mate Sébastien Buemi in testing conditions last time out in Rome, the team lead the standings heading to London with a healthy 14-point lead over Porsche.
With both drivers showing race-winning pace and a home crowd to spur them on, Envision Racing will have every incentive to go all out for glory at ExCeL London.
THE CHALLENGE IN LONDON
Formula E racing in London provides a singular challenge. Featuring a unique indoor starting grid, the pitlane, pit garages and the opening sequence of corners are all housed under the roof of ExCeL London. This tight series of corners has provided a place for much drama in recent years, and could well see some decisive action in 2023.
From the twisty start to the lap, the ultra smooth indoor surface makes way for the bumpy and abrasive great outdoors, including a slippery metal strip, as the surrounds of London’s brutalist Docklands loom into view.
The drivers will battle it out next to the River Thames, negotiating a set of chicanes and elevation changes, before the circuit opens out into a mixture of flowing turns and right right-handers.
As well as the ups and downs of this one-off challenge, the drivers also have to deal with changes in light as the outdoors makes way for the darkness and artificial lighting of the arena.
LAST TIME OUT IN ROME
The double-header in the Italian capital certainly delivered drama and a suitably gladiatorial battle between the main Drivers’ Championship title contenders Cassidy and Dennis.
In the weekend’s opening race Cassidy drove superbly, coming from ninth on the grid to end up in the wheel tracks of eventual winner and fellow New Zealander Mitch Evans. With Dennis ending up fourth, it was very much advantage Cassidy heading into the weekend’s second race, but Saturday’s race wasn’t all fun and games for Envision Racing.
Cassidy’s team-mate Buemi was fighting back from an early race issue before coming across the stricken Jaguar of Sam Bird. With nowhere to go, the Swiss driver slammed into Bird’s car, causing extensive damage to his Jaguar I-Type 6 machine, and following the inevitable red flag and lengthy clean up, just 13 cars restarted from the original 21.
After an incredible all-night repair job from the Envision Racing team, somehow Buemi not only made the grid for Sunday’s race, but also progressed to the duels in qualifying for the second consecutive day. He rewarded his team’s hard work with a stellar fifth at the flag as it was Cassidy’s turn to suffer.
Looking for the lead from Dennis on lap two, Cassidy was hit from behind by a wayward Evans. In an unfortunate and spectacular crash, the Jaguar was sent flying over the Envision Racing machine, compromising Cassidy’s race and any hope of victory.
As a result, the best the championship leader could hope for was 14th, as Dennis went on to win and retake a strong lead in the standings.
For the 2012 Summer Olympics, ExCeL London was divided into five sports halls, with capacities ranging from 5,000 to 7,000 spectators, that were used for boxing, fencing, judo, taekwondo, table tennis, weightlifting, and wrestling.
WHERE AND WHEN TO WATCH THE LONDON E-PRIX (ALL TIMES BST)
28 July: Free Practice 1 – 17:00 – 17:45
29 July: Free Practice 2 – 10:30 – 11:15
29 July: Qualifying – 12:40 – 13:55
29 July: Race – 17:03 – 18:30
30 July: Free Practice 3 – 10:30 – 11:00
30 July: Qualifying – 12:40 – 13:55
30 July: Race – 17:03 – 18:30
Cassidy goes top after a thriller in Rome
15 July 2023
Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy claimed another podium to retake the lead of the Formula E Drivers’ Championship standings at the Rome E-Prix on Saturday.
The heat was on in the Italian capital as the 2022–23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship motored towards its climax. After a dramatic race, amid sweltering heat wave conditions, Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy raced superbly to take second, confirming his seventh visit to the podium in 2023, and retakes the lead of the Drivers’ Championship.
Cassidy started the weekend just one point shy of Jake Dennis at the summit of the Drivers’ Championship standings, and heading into Sunday’s second race of the weekend the Kiwi driver leads his British rival by five points. Coming home behind eventual winner Mitch Evans, Cassidy once again executed a superb race strategy, mixing aggression and decisive overtaking with calm energy saving.
As well as ensuring a return to the top of the Drivers’ Championship, Cassidy’s points haul places Envision Racing at the head of the Teams’ Championship going into Sunday’s Round 14.
Cassidy’s Envision Racing team-mate Sébastien Buemi enjoyed a strong qualifying. Starting fourth, the Envision Racing driver recovered from a slow start to run in eighth, looking good before slamming into Sam Bird’s stricken Jaguar, as part of an unavoidable chain reaction involving multiple cars, causing a lengthy race stoppage.
Thankfully all drivers involved emerged unscathed from the biggest accident of the year.
Both Envision Racing drivers headed out in Group B qualifying for the opening race of the weekend in Rome, and Buemi held the second fastest time throughout the opening phase. And second is where the Swiss driver would end up, as more crucially, a crash from Jake Hughes in the dying seconds ended the session prematurely, meant Cassidy would end up ninth on the grid and have no chance to make the shootout.
It was left to Buemi to take up the challenge for Envision Racing in the knock-out phase of qualifying, and he took on McLaren’s Rene Rast as track temperatures continued to rise. After a tense duel, it was Buemi who brilliantly mastered the heat and bumps in Rome to nail the final sector progress into the semi-finals.
And in the second semi-final, Buemi went up against eventual pole position-winner Evans.It was the Jaguar driver who bettered the Envision Racing machine of Buemi to hand the former Formula E champion a fourth place slot on the starting grid.
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) July 15, 2023
At the start of the weekend’s opening race, Sam Bird snatched the lead from polesitter Evans as Buemi slipped back immediately, coming to a virtual standstill halfway around the opening lap due to a wayward Maserati. This relegated Buemi to ninth, but aided team-mate Cassidy who slipped by, finding himself in sixth by the end of the opening lap, one place behind championship leader Dennis.
On lap two the first real drama occurred when championship contender Pascal Wehrlein suffered a puncture, relegating the German driver to the rear of the pack. Back up front, Bird cycled to the lead, whilst Cassidy looked to keep in touch with the top five, as Buemi recovered a place back to eighth.
A crashed Andre Lotterer brought out a safety car on lap three, closing up the pack. At the restart the two leading Jaguar cars swapped places with Evans once more assuming the lead with the two Envision Racing cars separated by the Maserati of Maximilian Günther.
Ahead of Cassidy it was all change, and by lap seven Sacha Fenestraz split the two Jaguars, taking second place, followed by Rast who took third, relegating Bird to fourth. One lap later Fenestraz took the lead as a huge crash involving the Jaguar of Bird, an unsighted Buemi and Edoardo Mortara immediately brought out the red flag, stopping the race.
With heavily damaged cars, carbon fibre shards and debris littering the circuit, a lengthy clean up was required, and when the action got back underway, Cassidy restarted in fifth, one of just 13 cars remaining from the 21 that started.
An understandably cautious Cassidy was passed by Günther on the opening lap of the restart, as Fenestraz headed the field. Cassidy’s caution made way for bravery a few corners later as Cassidy overtook Günther to claim fifth with an artful pass.
Rast became the next target for Cassidy on lap 12, and the Envision Racing driver made a brilliant move at Turn 14, to slot in behind Dennis and apply enormous pressure as Günther continued to hassle.
With 10 laps remaining, the battle at the front really came to the boil as Dennis hit the lead from Fenestraz, Evans and Cassidy. On lap 17, Cassidy claimed third at Turn 4, setting about new second place man Evans as the top three closed up.
Entering the final five laps, Evans headed Dennis with Cassidy just about keeping touch in third and pulling away from Günther. As Evans and Cassidy took late-race Attack Mode phases, Dennis assumed the lead, only to be re-passed by Evans as Cassidy closed in and snatched second from Dennis. With two laps added to the initial 25-lap distance, Cassidy set about chasing fellow New Zealander Evans as Dennis slipped further down the field.
At the chequered flag it was Evans who triumphed, with Cassidy close behind in second place. Günther completed the podium with Dennis holding on to fourth, losing his championship lead to the Envision Racing driver.
“At the start of the race I didn’t expect to be on the podium,” revealed Cassidy. “We had a quick car, and more than anything I was disappointed with qualifying as we had a good shot to make it into the duels, but that was what it was, and we started ninth and had a good race. I felt at the end of the race Mitch was a bit stronger than me, but it is a good result and we will regroup tonight, look at where we are and we will go again tomorrow.”
Another back-to-back victory? Envision Racing eye up more success at the Rome E-Prix
11 July 2023
A crucial double-header in Italy awaits Nick Cassidy and Envision Racing as the battle for both Formula E championship titles heats up.
The inaugural Portland E-Prix was one to remember for Envision Racing, and in particular Nick Cassidy. Following a difficult double-header weekend in Indonesia for the Jakarta E-Prix, the Kiwi racer bounced back in style to claim his third victory of the year as Formula E competed in the Pacific Northwest for the first time.
The second career victory on US soil for Cassidy proved to be a vital one. Heading into a two-race weekend for the Rome E-Prix, and with just four races remaining in 2023, the Envision Racing driver sits just one point behind Jake Dennis. Coupled with this, Envision Racing are only six points adrift of Teams’ Championship leaders Porsche.
The gladiatorial battle is on in the Eternal City.
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) June 29, 2023
Once again this season, Cassidy proved he is a master of the overtake. Starting in 10th, the Berlin and Monaco E-Prix victor executed a supremely measured race plan to add a West Coast triumph to his New York City E-Prix scalp from 2022.
The racing was close and at times chaotic in Portland, and both Cassidy and Envision Racing team-mate Sébastien Buemi will be hoping for a less eventful weekend, back on European soil, and on a familiar layout.
Buemi certainly knows his way around the streets surrounding the Colosseum, and the Swiss driver has regularly graced the top 10 in the Italian capital, with a best result of fifth achieved in Season 5. Cassidy made waves in Rome during his debut season, claiming a sensational pole position after just his fourth Formula E qualifying session back in 2021.
Will Cassidy be seeking a front row start this time, or would he rather fight from the mid pack?
THE CHALLENGE IN ROME
Making up Rounds 13 and 14 of the 2022–23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, this year’s race will make up the fifth time the Rome E-Prix has been staged. The first race was hosted in Season 4, with no event held during the COVID-19 pandemic affected season in 2020.
The Circuito Cittadino dell’EUR has become a favourite amongst the Formula E paddock. Featuring one of the longest layouts on the calendar, the layout is packed with varying undulations and elevation changes which can have a major impact on how teams and drivers approach both qualifying, and the race strategy. Add to this iconic landmarks and buildings such as the Piazza G. Marconi and the imposing Piazzale delle Naziono Unite, and you have a stage for both great racing and iconic scenery.
The long straights and tight corners mean that overtaking is going to happen in both races come rain or shine. As witnessed in the previous races this year, leading the early stages in a GEN3 car is not the most ideal thing, and picking the right time to lead the pack will be crucial in determining the winner in 2023. It also means that a front row qualifying slot isn’t make or break for a big points haul in Rome.
Envision Racing have form in Italy, with pole positions and podiums in the record books. With the momentum from Cassidy’s victory in Portland, and a resurgent Sébastien Buemi, all roads could be leading to another big points haul this weekend as the battle for the top heats up in Formula E.
LAST TIME OUT IN PORTLAND
The very first Portland E-Prix had it all, and Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy showed why he is one of the coolest, and fastest, cats in Formula E.
In 2023 nobody has matched the New Zealand racer in his ability to pull off decisive and sometimes audacious overtakes when it matters. Whether it be fighting back to claim vital points in his championship charge, or securing E-Prix wins in Monaco and Berlin, the Envision Racing driver left Portland in championship contention.
‘Driver of the Race’ Cassidy started his afternoon in the picturesque surrounds of Oregon state six points adrift of Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein as the battle for the win went right down to the final lap. Staring 10th, Cassidy surged to the front, intermittently leading throughout the early phase of the race, saving energy, tyres and composure until the final lap, where he fended off new championship leader Jake Dennis to make it a hat-trick of win in 2023 and remain a bonafide title contender as the season approaches its climax.
Underlining the pace of the Jaguar-powered Envision Racing machine, team-mate Sébastien Buemi showed his grit and speed. The Swiss driver battled back from the lower reaches of the pack to end up fifth at the flag to bolster his team’s title challenge, and he will look to score big in Rome as well as help Cassidy’s quest for the Drivers’ Championship.
A stunning display saw Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy claim his third win of the season at the inaugural Portland E-Prix as both championships are up for grabs.
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship did its thing in the Pacific Northwest for the first time on Saturday for the Portland E-Prix, and Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy did his thing, winning for the third time in 2023 to reignite his, and Envision Racing’s, championship challenge.
Cassidy began his afternoon in Oregon sitting in third place in the Drivers’ Championship standings, six points adrift of Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein. Despite starting the first ever Portland E-Prix in 10th, Cassidy judged his race to perfection, overtaking left, right and centre, mixing speed and strategy, to end up at the front when it mattered in a frantic E-Prix.
The Portland International Raceway is no stranger to dramatic motorsport battles. The fast and flowing circuit offered a different challenge from the more familiar street-circuit layouts, but proved a welcome home for the GEN3 Formula E machinery.
Amid the chaotic, sometimes three-wide pack racing in Portland, Cassidy’s team-mate Sébastien Buemi enjoyed a rewarding afternoon. The Swiss driver started back in 16th, but kept out of trouble and saved energy well to cap his best result since April’s Berlin E-Prix, claiming fifth in North America.
Cassidy started the inaugural Portland E-Prix in 10th place, for the third race in a row. The Envision Racing Driver made immediate progress, and as up front polesitter Jake Dennis held the lead, Cassidy found himself in fifth by the beginning of lap two of 28.
From the opening laps it quickly became clear patience, and a strict energy saving strategy would be key to success in Portland. By lap three, Cassidy tentatively cycled to the lead, relegating Dennis to second, with Rene Rast holding third. On lap four, Cassidy became the first of the frontrunners to take an Attack Mode phase, dropping to fourth.
It's a clean start for everyone here but it's Nick Cassidy who's made the biggest impact early on!
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) June 25, 2023
One lap later the first safety car was triggered by the stricken Mahindra of Roberto Merhi, with the restart coming on lap seven and Norman Nato heading the pack. As several of the leading drivers including Cassidy took Attack Mode, further back, Envision Racing’s Buemi managed to make ground, moving up to 12th.
Back at the front it was a calculated tussle, with drivers giving themselves plenty of racing room as the positions swapped in anticipation of a late-race squabble for the win. As Cassidy took the lead on lap 10, a sizeable crash for Nico Müller brought out another safety car phase.
With the heavily damaged Abt removed from the circuit, racing resumed on lap 16 with Nato heading the field to the green flag, and Cassidy fending off Maximilian Günther, before somewhat reluctantly retaking the lead on lap 18. Cassidy managed to artfully lead whilst also saving energy, putting him in a strong position for the closing laps.
By lap 20, the whole pack was playing a waiting game and saving energy, with Cassidy somehow remaining at the head of the field, finally being passed by António Félix da Costa two laps later.
For the first time the pack racing formation was broken, as da Costa pulled away from Cassidy, with Günther holding third, as it was announced that due to the earlier safety car phases, four laps would be added to the initial 28-lap race duration.
Cassidy retook the lead at the beginning of lap 27, passing da Costa at the final turn as Dennis moved into third. Third became second for Dennis as the race entered its final four laps and the battle for victory was well and truly on with Cassidy up front.
Da Costa passed Cassidy at the end of lap 29, only to be repassed by the Envision Racing man a few hundred metres later as incredibly, Buemi found himself in fourth and in with a shot for a podium.
The final lap started with Cassidy up front. Could the Envision Racing driver hold on for a third win of the year? The answer was yes, as the Berlin and Monaco winner resisted a resurgent Dennis to take the chequered flag and end up just one point off the lead of the Drivers’ Championship.
Behind Cassidy, Buemi sealed a superb fifth place to bag vital points for the Teams’ Championship, putting Envision Racing just four points adrift of Porsche as the team heads back to Europe for the final four races of the season.
“We’ve had a good run in America over the last couple of years, and I love racing here,” said Cassidy.
“That race was fun, it was so close and the battle with both da Costa and Jake was pretty intense. Credit to Envision Racing, what a car, what a powertrain, it allowed us to move up the field and fight at the front and get the win.”
It seemed that in both of the weekend’s races nobody wanted to lead, preferring to play a waiting game. This wasn’t Cassidy’s plan for a Sunday afternoon drive. The Envision Racing driver combined canny energy saving with supreme speed and defensive driving, hitting the front for the final 10 laps, and withstanding a strong challenge from Jake Dennis to claim a well-deserved victory.
Crucially, the result propels Cassidy to within four points of the Drivers’ Championship summit, and helps consolidate Envision Racing’s second place in the Teams’ Championship standings.
For Cassidy’s team-mate Sébastien Buemi, there was little to celebrate on Sunday afternoon in the German capital. Despite a strong qualifying performance and a solid opening phase to the race, any hopes of big points came to an end with front wing damage.
The Swiss driver will look to get back on track next time out on the streets of Monaco.
Drivers were faced with a wet track following a period of heavy rain in the German capital for the second qualifying session of the weekend. Under grey skies, for the second consecutive day, both Envision Racing pilots went out on the slippery concrete in the same qualifying group, and both Buemi and Cassidy made it through to the duels, with the former topping the time sheets.
In a repeat of qualifying for the opening race of the weekend, both drivers were paired together for the quarter-final duel. With the rain increasing, this time Cassidy beat his team-mate in another close battle to make it into the semi-finals.
Cassidy’s joy was short-lived. The New Zealander’s winning lap time was cancelled due to an overuse of power, handing a consecutive semi-final appearance to Buemi, who would face-off against the ABT of Robin Frijns. And it was Frijns who prevailed, meaning that Buemi would start Sunday’s race in third, with Cassidy starting eighth.
The rain which impacted qualifying for part two of the Berlin E-Prix had been replaced by a dry track, sunny skies and a light wind. When the lights went out to start round eight of the 2022–23 Formula E World Championship, Buemi held onto third position behind the two ABT cars as the field funnelled around the opening corners.
Buemi hit the lead as the ABT duo elected to take an early Attack Mode on lap four, followed by Jean-Éric Vergne. Buemi decided he didn’t want to lead so early on, and activated his first Attack Mode on lap five, dropping to fifth as team-mate Cassidy held ninth position in the opening laps.
By quarter distance, on lap 10, Buemi found himself in sixth, having taken a second Attack Mode with Cassidy just behind. This order didn’t last long as the Kiwi diver made his way around Buemi.
One lap later, Cassidy was up to fifth, followed by Buemi in sixth. The Envision Racing pair followed closely by the two Jaguar Racing machines. Cassidy soon escaped from both his team-mate’s attentions, moving up to third on lap 12.
By the next lap it was all change, with Cassidy and Buemi battling each other, with the latter moving into fourth, with Cassidy dropping to sixth. In what was proving to be a manic squabble amongst the top 10 cars, Buemi emerged at the head of the pack, pursued by championship leader Pascal Wehrlein.
In an E-Prix more closely resembling an IndyCar oval race with the sheer number of lead and position changes, it was Wehrlein to the front on lap 17, with the two Envision Racing cars, headed by Buemi, following in second and third place.
At the halfway point, Envision Racing were running line astern with Cassidy in sixth and Buemi in fifth, amid the chaotic position changes and jockeying for position throughout the top 10. That formation flying didn’t last as Buemi succumbed to front wing damage, forcing the Envision Racing driver to pit.
As Buemi exited, Cassidy pulled off a superb move at the Attack Mode hairpin to leap from fifth to third on lap 24. Third soon became second, and by the end of the lap, Cassidy was leading from Wehrlein.
With relative calm established for the first time all afternoon, Cassidy, with 17 overtakes in the bag, maintained the lead from Jake Dennis and Vergne, as the race approached the final 10 laps.
Entering the final five laps of the E-Prix, Cassidy came under increasing pressure from Dennis, as the top six closed up once more. Crucially, with three laps remaining, Dennis carried one per cent more energy than Cassidy. But could the British driver break the Envision Racing man’s resistance?
The answer was no, and Cassidy managed to hold on to score a stunning victory on the concrete in Berlin to truly establish himself as a championship contender, as the team look towards the glamour of Monte Carlo for the Monaco E-Prix, and another race win.
“I knew that I would be in the fight for the win, I’ve been in the fight for the last five races,” said Cassidy.
“We had a great opportunity in the first race as well, but I made a mistake, and today we really made it count. The team have given me an opportunity to win pretty much every weekend and as a driver that’s a dream.”
Double points as Cassidy pulls off fight-back to finish fourth after Buemi grabs record pole
22 April 2023
ENVISION RACING EMERGED FROM A DRAMATIC OPENING RACE IN BERLIN WITH A SOLID POINTS HAUL AND FRONT-RUNNING PACE
In qualifying for the Berlin E-Prix, Envision Racing’s Sébastien Buemi made history and beat them all, scoring a record breaking 16th career pole position, more than any other driver in the history of the series.
In the race, the Swiss driver ran at the front until the final laps, being forced to settle for fourth, after losing out on a podium in a near photo finish.
For Buemi’s team-mate Nick Cassidy it was a case of what might have been. Fresh from a podium finish last time out in Brazil, the New Zealander recovered from a mid-race pit-stop to repair damage to come from last to fifth at the flag, and recover some vital championship points to ensure he sits second in the Drivers’ Championship standings ahead of the weekend’s second race.
Both Envision Racing drivers hit the track in qualifying Group A and immediately showed strong pace. Running near the top of the times throughout the opening session, Buemi ended up second with Cassidy third, ensuring that both would make another appearance in the knock-out phase of qualifying.
After a brief pause, it was time for the duels. The first quarter final consisted of an all Envision Racing battle, with Buemi taking on Cassidy. After a hotly contested lap, it was Buemi who emerged quickest, and subsequently progressed to the semi-finals, beating Cassidy in a close battle, meaning the Kiwi racer would have to settle for a solid sixth.
In the first semi-final, Buemi took on reigning champion Stoffel Vandoorne. After a tight head-to-head, the Envision Racing driver triumphed, proving to be quicker than the DS Penske driver, ensuring a front row start and his second final appearance this season.
The final saw an all-Jaguar-powered draw as Buemi took on Sam Bird. The Swiss driver immediately established his authority in the early part of his lap, surging to a second pole position of the season.
On the baking hot concrete apron of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport, under Berlin’s bright blue skies, Buemi lost out to a rapid-starting Dan Ticktum, relegating the polesitter to second, as Cassidy followed his team-mate, losing one position, and dropping to seventh on the opening lap.
Buemi elected to take an early Attack Mode on lap five, dropping to fourth, as Bird cycled to the lead ahead of Jake Dennis and Ticktum. One lap later it was all change as Bird took his first Attack Mode of the afternoon, allowing Buemi to retake second place.
By lap eight, Buemi found himself in fourth, behind Vandoorne, the man he beat in qualifying. Further back, Cassidy found himself in a multi-car battle with the likes of Pascal Wehrlein and the two McLarens.
In what was shaping up to be a thrilling Berlin E-Prix, the Maserati of Edoardo Mortara briefly led on lap 12, losing out to Dennis, before a safety car was called to clear up debris from a collision between Rene Rast and Sérgio Sette Câmara. With the pace slowed, Buemi held third, the Envision Racing driver clearly adopting a waiting game in the first half of the race.
By the halfway point of the E-Prix it all started to come together for Envision Racing. Buemi found himself in the lead, whilst Cassidy made his way up from 11th to seventh, seemingly with damage.
As Buemi lost the lead to Mitch Evans a four-car coming together, featuring early-race leader Ticktum, Vaandorne, Norman Nato and Rast, triggered a second safety car. Significantly, as the race was neutralised, Cassidy was forced to pit to deal with some damage, dropping the Kiwi to the back of the pack.
At the restart, on lap 23, Buemi quickly snatched the lead from Evans, who in turn was passed by Maximilian Günther, who then passed the leading Envision Racing machine to hit the front. It was all change two laps later as Buemi dropped to fourth, then fifth, but remained in the hunt with strong energy figures.
By lap 27 it was a Jaguar-powered top three, with Evans leading Bird and Buemi, as for the first time in the weekend’s opening race, the field started to spread out slightly. A lap later that order was shuffled as Buemi cycled to the lead once more and pulled away from Bird. Approaching the final 10 laps it was Bird’s turn to lead from Buemi as the focus on remaining energy intensified.
As the race entered its closing laps, Buemi’s quest for the victory also intensified. The Envision Racing man started feigning to overtake leader Bird, and eventually made his move for the lead on lap 36, successfully claiming the lead ahead of the two Jaguar cars. Whilst all eyes were on Buemi, his team-mate Cassidy was driving superbly, recovering from his earlier mishap to run in ninth with vital championship points on the cards.
With three laps added to the initial 40-lap race distance it was all to play for in a four-car battle for the win. Starting lap 40, Buemi was forced to defend from Bird, and then from Evans as the Jaguars swapped places and held each other up, allowing Günther to join the fight.
Evans quickly surged into the lead, passing Buemi and placing him in the crosshairs of team-mate Bird. By the time the final lap came around, Buemi was under intense pressure from Bird, forcing the Envision Racing driver to call upon all his defensive driving experience.
Buemi’s valiant defence ended on the final lap, as Bird snatched second. In what proved to be a frustrating lap for the pole-sitter, Buemi was passed by Günther on the line to end up fourth. As Evans made it two wins in a row ahead of Bird and Günther, Cassidy capped an incredible comeback drive to end up fifth and will look to a less frantic second race of the weekend to underline his title challenge.
Envision Racing all set for success as Formula E arrives in Brazil
20 March 2023
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.
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 Friday24 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
ANOTHER PODIUM FOR CASSIDY BUT IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH MORE IN SOUTH AFRICA
25 February 2023
ENVISION RACING’S NICK CASSIDY CLAIMED 3RD AT THE CAPE TOWN E-PRIX AS THE TEAM LEAP UP TO 2ND IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
Throughout the two days of the inaugural Cape Town E-Prix, Envision Racing, and in particular Nick Cassidy, looked to be among the favourites for victory come race day.
From qualifying third to leading the early phase of the race, Cassidy continued Envision Racing’s early season promise. At the end of a dramatic and memorable first time out in South Africa, took a well-deserved third place, in a race where the two championship leaders failed to score any points, throwing the battle for both the Drivers’ and Teams’ titles wide open.
The result gives Cassidy his second consecutive podium, following a stellar performance last time out at the Hyderabad E-Prix, however for team-mate Sébastien Buemi, the bad luck would continue.
Having cruelly been denied a podium finish in India, Buemi fought back from a practice crash to make the qualifying duels, qualify seventh, and in the E-Prix looked good to join Cassidy in fighting for the top three, if not victory.
These hopes were seriously dented by a wayward Pascal Wehrlein, who smashed into the Swiss driver on just the second lap of the race, forcing him to turn in a calm and measured drive to power from 15th to fifth at the flag.
It was big drama from the start of the very first Cape Town E-Prix weekend for Envision Racing. In free practice one, Buemi crashed heavily, necessitating a heroic repair job from the team, and in the second practice session, team-mate Cassidy posted the fastest time, underlining the pace of the Jaguar I-Type 6.
Heading out in qualifying Group A, Cassidy loitered near the top of the timings. With a couple of minutes remaining, the Kiwi set the fastest time, ending up second at the session’s close to get a chance to fight it out in the duels.
Playing catch-up, Buemi shrugged off his practice woes, and during the opening minutes of Group B qualifying showed good pace. So good in fact, that the Envision Racing driver clocked the third quickest time, once again progressing alongside team-mate Cassidy, as the session ended prematurely following a nasty collision between Edoardo Mortara and Sam Bird.
In the first quarter final Cassidy faced off against championship leader Wehrlein, dominating the German driver and making it into the semi finals for the first time in 2023. Buemi followed Cassidy out in the third quarter final, taking on Mitch Evans. What started as a tight battle ended when Buemi tapped the wall at turn 7, meaning the Envision Racing driver would end up seventh on the grid.
For Cassidy, it was the semi finals. The opposition, Sacha Fenestraz in the Nissan. Despite catching a rapid Fenestraz in the second half of the lap, Cassidy couldn’t beat the evential pole-position winner to progress into the final, but nevertheless secured a superb third on the grid.
Cassidy made a lightning start, briefly overhauling second-place driver Maximilian Günther, but being forced to settle for third as the cars snaked through the opening sequence of turns.
There was huge drama on the second lap as Buemi, starting seventh and looking to fight his way to the front, was brutally taken out by an out-of-control Wehrlein at turn 10. The collision forced the Porsche driver into retirement, and Buemi down the order to 15th place, triggering a safety car.
Following a three-lap clean-up operation it was game on again, with Günther leading pole-sitter Fenestraz and Cassidy as the race settled down into a waiting game amongst the 15 remaining cars.
By lap eight, Cassidy found himself under pressure from the sole Jaguar of Evans. A lap later, Cassidy slipped into second place, and looked strong, as Fenestraz took his first Attack Mode.
Second place became first as leader Günther took his initial Attack Mode on lap 10, and crucially, the Maserati driver found himself in a close-quarter battle with Fenestraz, allowing Cassidy to pull away and lead a race for the first time this season.
Cassidy elected to take his first Attack Mode phase on lap 14, maintaining his place at the front of the field ahead of Fenestraz and Günther. By the halfway point, the battle was on as Fenestraz keenly pursued leader Cassidy.
On lap 21, Günther’s hopes of victory ended with a crash, promoting António Félix da Costa to third and leading to a full-course yellow. As the race got back underway Cassidy held his lead from new second place man da Costa, with just 1.5 seconds covering the top six cars.
Da Costa used all his skill and experience to pass Cassidy on lap 24 with an artful move, pushing the Envision Racing driver to second, which soon became third as Jean-Éric Vergne took second to set about chasing down da Costa.
As Cassidy moved backwards, team-mate Buemi surged forwards. Recovering from his early-race misfortune, the Envision Racing driver held eighth approaching the closing laps with seventh place and Stoffel Vandoorne in sight.
On lap 28, the Hyderabad E-Prix winner Vergne snatched the lead as da Costa took a late Attack Mode. For Cassidy the focus was now on holding third place and resisting the challenge of Fenestraz.
Two laps later, and with little to choose between remaining battery power, Cassidy lost out to the Nissan of Fenestraz, as the leading duo of Vergne and da Costa pulled away. As the race entered the final two additional laps, da Costa repeated the breathtaking move he pulled earlier in the race on Cassidy to lead from Vergne.
On the final lap, behind the fireworks at the front, Cassidy dramatically retook third as Fenestraz spun at turn 7, meaning the Envision Racing driver just had to fend off Rene Rast in the McLaren to take a second podium on the bounce. Cassidy successfully held on to take a well deserved podium as da Costa triumphed ahead of Vergne.
“I think we have to be happy with the result today,” said Cassidy. “Whenever you finish third in Formula E you have to be happy and I have to walk away with a smile. Part of me thinks we should have won that race, and the full-course yellow really hurt us and it changed the energy of the race, but that’s motorsport.”
Behind Cassidy, Buemi did exceptionally well to battle back to a brilliant fifth to score vital points for his championship hunt and the Team’s Championship standings. That first victory of the year continues to elude Envision Racing, but the team have shown to be genuine frontrunners, as they head to another new track in Brazil for the Sao Paulo E-Prix.
“What a weekend it has been in Cape Town, a fantastic track and a fantastic venue,” said Sylvain Filippi, Director & CTO at Envision Racing. “It all started with quite a challenge following Seb’s crash in practice, and the team did a brilliant job to rebuild the car overnight. As soon as we overcame that we were fast all weekend with both cars reaching the duels in qualifying.
“In the race, Seb was unlucky to be tagged, but put in an amazing recovery drive, and Nick finishing on the podium again, plus two cars in the top five is a fantastic result.”