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Buemi rewarded with valuable points after a tough day in Brazil

After a difficult qualifying session earlier in the day, Envision Racing’s Sébastien Buemi battled his way to 10th and claimed the fastest lap at the São Paulo E-Prix.

This year’s São Paulo E-Prix was always going to be a hard-fought one for the Envision Racing team, as competitors gain ground after the opening rounds of the season. After a tough qualifying session, Sébastien Buemi ended up 18th on the grid, with team-mate Robin Frijns one place ahead in 17th. After 34 laps of a race shaped by energy saving and strategy, Buemi ended his afternoon with a hard-earned top 10 result, and bagged an extra point for the fastest lap of the race.  

The former world champion drove a measured race to move up from his lowly starting position to claim what could be a vital two points in the hunt for both the Teams’ and Drivers’ titles this year.

At the start of the second ever São Paulo E-Prix it was pole-sitter Pascal Wehrlein in the Porsche who headed the pack into the first corner. Further back down the field, both Envision Racing drivers emerged unscathed from the opening sequence of turns with Frijns moving up to 15th and Buemi gaining a place.

By the fifth lap of the race, Frijns and Buemi were running line astern in 15th and 16th respectively, as up front it was Sam Bird’s turn to lead from António Félix da Costa and Mitch Evans. Two laps later a safety car was deployed to clean up some debris strewn across the first corner with da Costa leading from Wehrlein and Jean-Éric Vergne.

With the safety car back in the pitlane, Frijns held onto his 15th place with Buemi dropping to 18th. At the halfway point it was all change as Nick Cassidy dramatically crashed out, triggering a second safety car phase. After the dust settled, Buemi found he had pushed himself up into 10th place, and in the points, with Frijns back in 18th.

With the race back underway on lap 20, Bird headed the field once more. In 10th, Buemi found himself behind Maximilian Günther and ahead of Sacha Fenestraz, with the Envision Racing driver yet to use all his Attack Mode.

Buemi elected to take his final Attack Mode phase on lap 24, pushing the Swiss driver back to 12th. This proved a temporary setback as Buemi quickly regained his place in the top 10 and went about setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 26.

The safety car interventions meant that a total of three laps would be added to the initial 31, making the São Paulo E-Prix a 34-lap race. At the beginning of the 34th and final lap, Buemi remained in 10th with Fenestraz’s Nissan in hot pursuit. Could the Envision Racing man hang on to claim a valuable 10th place finish?

The answer was yes. On a sweltering day in São Paulo, Buemi claimed 10th and an unlikely point, which became two as he set the fastest lap of the day.

Up front Sam Bird claimed victory with a stunning last gasp overtake to relegate Evans to second place, with Oliver Rowland rounding out the podium.

Following his podium last time out in Saudi Arabia, it was a disappointing 19th place finish for Frijns, who suffered some technical issues that prevented him cutting through the field over the final few laps.

The Dutch driver will be looking to bounce back as the competition heads to Japan for the first ever Tokyo E-Prix in two weeks’ time.

Drivers’ standings (after Rd 4):
1. Nick Cassidy, 57pts
2. Pascal Wehrlein, 53pts
3. Mitch Evans, 39pts
4. Jean-Éric Vergne 39pts
5. Jake Dennis, 38pts

——–
9. Sébastien Buemi, 20pts
10. Robin Frijns, 19pts

Teams’ standings (after Rd 4):
1. Jaguar TCS Racing, 96pts
2. Porsche Formula E Team, 61pts
3. DS Penske, 57pts
4. McLaren, 55pts
5. Andretti Formula E, 47 pts

——–
7. Envision Racing, 39pts

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Podium hat-trick for Cassidy after thriller in Brazil

ON-SONG NICK CASSIDY FOUGHT FOR VICTORY UNTIL THE VERY END AT THE SAO PAULO E-PRIX 

For the third race in a row, Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy claimed a Formula E podium, with a second place finish at the inaugural São Paulo E-Prix.

That elusive victory proved just 0.284 seconds out of reach after a thrilling battle with the Jaguar Racing cars of eventual winner Mitch Evans, and third-place finisher Sam Bird, meaning Cassidy now sits third in the Drivers’ Championship standings, just 24 points off top spot.

Starting fifth, Cassidy once again showed he and his Envision Racing machine are a certified front-running package. Following on from a hard-fought third place in Cape Town, Cassidy ran at the front all race, pulling off seven overtakes by lap 22, and in the closing stages, refused to give in to a rapid Evans, hustling his fellow New Zealand driver all the way to the flag whilst simultaneously defending from Bird.

Further back, Cassidy’s Envision Racing team-mate Sébastien Buemi had a tough afternoon. Starting 12th, early progress was abruptly halted on lap two by an incident that left him nursing badly injured hands.

But the Swiss driver used all his experience to battle back to 10th at the flag, showing that both Envision Racing cars have pace while bagging a vital point for the team, and helping consolidate second place in the Teams’ standings as Formula E heads back to Europe for the Berlin E-Prix double-header.

QUALIFYING 

Once again, come qualifying time, both Envision Racing drivers showed good pace. Going out on track first in Group A, Cassidy ended up second quickest, again confirming a place in the head-to-head phase. Buemi had to settle for sixth quickest in the second qualifying group, ensuring a starting slot of 12th on the grid.

For Cassidy, In the knockout phase of qualifying, there was to be no repeat of the semi-final appearance enjoyed last time out in Cape Town. The Envision Racing driver was bettered by Edoardo Mortara, and had to settle for fifth place on the starting grid.

THE RACE

Cassidy executed a perfect start, immediately moving up from fifth to fourth as the pack edited the tight opening chicane, with team-mate Buemi also making progress, moving up two places from 12th to 10th.

Buemi’s move through the pack was halted after a coming together Maximilian Günther on lap two, relegating the Envision Racing driver to the rear of the field as he also dealt with painful injuries. Up front, pole position-winner Stoffel Vandoorne maintained his place at the head of the field throughout the opening laps, followed by António Félix da Costa and Evans, who found himself under some serious pressure from compatriot Cassidy.

Cassidy made his way into third place, passing da Costa on lap eight, just as a safety car was deployed to allow for the removal of Sacha Fenestraz’s stricken car. With the stationary Nissan safely off the track, racing resumed on lap 12, as Cassidy set about overhauling the Jaguar of Evans.

With racing back underway, da Costa quickly retook third place from Cassidy as the pack settled back into the rhythm of the race. By lap 13, da Costa was up into second, passing Evans as Cassidy followed suit, with a brave move, to run in the top three once again.

On lap 14 Cassidy powered into the lead on the pit straight, passing two cars, before taking his first Attack Mode of the race, and crucially re-emerging in second place. It wasn’t long until Cassidy was back in the lead, passing Vandoorne to take the initiative as the race hit the halfway mark.

With Cassidy and Envision Racing at the front, a second safety car was triggered by a stationary Jake Dennis. When racing resumed on lap 18, Cassidy headed the pack, with da Costa hot on his heels and Vandoorne in third.

Third became first for Vandoorne as Cassidy and Jean-Éric Vergne took Attack Mode. Now in third place, Cassidy soon found himself back at the front as Vandoorne and Evans took their respective Attack Mode phase. On lap 20, Evans snatched the lead from Cassidy, setting the fastest lap and looking to put daylight between his Jaguar and the Envision Racing machine.    

Evans took another Attack Mode phase on lap 24, allowing Cassidy to lead once more. Behind, a mistake from da Costa relegated the Porsche driver down to seventh. Up front, Cassidy managed to pull a gap of over a second back to Evans.

With the closing laps approaching, the battle between the Kiwi racers was on. Evans managed to cut the gap to Cassidy as the race duration was extended by four laps due to the earlier safety car periods. Behind Evans, his Jaguar team-mate Sam Bird looked to join the fight for the win. At the front, with the four added laps left to run it suddenly became a three-way battle for the lead. Evans grabbed the initiative at turn three, relegating Cassidy to second. 

Despite Evans’ ominous pace, the Envision Racing driver refused to give up, and by the start of the final lap, Cassidy remained close to leader Evans whilst defending from a resurgent Bird in third. It all went down to the wire as a super aggressive Cassidy couldn’t quite get around Evans, but managed to defend from Bird to secure a stunning second place and ensuring three Jaguar-powered cars lock out the podium in Brazil. 

Whilst Cassidy scored a third consecutive podium, his Envision Racing team-mate Buemi fought back to score points with a 10th place finish.

“Before the race I said that I would be super happy with a podium finish,” said Cassidy after the race.

“That was Formula E at its best, so much fun from a driver’s point of view, and I hope it was a good watch for the fans. It was a pretty strategic race, and to finish with Jaguar-powered cars one, two and three is pretty cool.

“I knew to get the win I would have to do something pretty special to beat Mitch (Evans), but that would have been a big risk in terms of losing out and ending up third.”

Drivers’ standings (after Rd 6):
1. Pascal Wehrlein, 86pts
2. Jake Dennis, 62pts
3. Nick Cassidy, 61pts
4. Jean-Éric Vergne, 60pts
5. António Félix da Costa, 58pts
7. Sébastien Buemi, 42pts

Teams’ standings (after Rd 6):
1. Porsche Formula E Team, 144pts
2. Envision Racing, 103pts
3. Jaguar Racing, 83pts
4. DS Penske, 82pts
5. Avalanche Andretti, 80pts

 

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Envision Racing all set for success as Formula E arrives in Brazil

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