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.
— Envision Racing (@Envision_Racing) July 17, 2023
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.
Drivers’ standings (after Rd 14):
1. Jake Dennis, 195pts
2. Nick Cassidy, 171pts
3. Mitch Evans, 151pts
4. Pascal Wehrlein, 146pts
5. Jean-Éric Vergne, 107pts
8. Sébastien Buemi, 82pts
Teams’ standings (after Rd 14):
1. Envision Racing, 253pts
2. Porsche Formula E Team, 239pts
3. Jaguar Racing, 228pts
4. Avalanche Andretti, 218pts
5. DS Penske, 15pts
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