Rounds 2 and 3 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship will take place on Friday and Saturday (27 and 28) at the CORE Diriyah E-Prix 2023. It will be the first double round of the 9th season and the only night race out of 16 on the calendar. After opening in Mexico on January 14, the new GEN3 will compete in the Middle East for the first time. With a length of 2,495 km, the Diriyah circuit is located on the outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, and follows the city’s historic walls.
They are, by the way, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With 21 corners, Diriyah is one of the drivers’ favorite circuits and also one of the most demanding circuits on the calendar to balance energy management and strong race pace. The two races will be at 2 pm, with the first broadcast on Bandsports and the second on Bandeirantes, on open TV.
Old Formula E in Diriyah
Introduced for the first time on the Formula E calendar in the fifth season of the World Electric Car Championship, Diriyah arrived in the category guaranteeing some success. It was the first Gen2 race and also Brazilian Felipe Massa’s first in the competition, after 16 years in Formula 1.
The first eprix in Diriyah was dominated by the Portuguese Antonio Félix da Costa and his BMW Andretti, who started on pole and managed to stay ahead of the others to climb the top step of the podium. Massa started on the 17th. The following year, Diriyah had his first double round, in a weekend where BMW Andretti shone again. Alexander Sims was in the race in both races and won both.
In year seven, Diriyah brought good news to the Formula E season opener, with the first night race in the division’s history. In race 1, Mercedes said the pace with the Dutchman Nyck de Vries, who did not lose a chance and won the race, Jaguar responded by dominating race 2 with Sam Bird, at the end of the first week of the British driver in the team. However, in the end, the title of the season stayed with the Dutchman from Mercedes.
Last season, the opening of the championship was again with a double cycle of Diriyah, and for the first time, the current champion of the category won in the following season: De Vries took advantage of the start of the offensive mode to win his Mercedes. his colleague, Vandoorne, and won the race.
In Race 2, De Vries started fast and even managed to stay ahead of the others for a long time. But he ended up losing to the Venturi cars of Lucas di Grassi and Edoardo Mortara, and then got worse in a position dispute with Jean-Eric Vergne, losing several positions. The win went to Mortara, with Brazilian Di Grassi third, in his first weekend with the team.
Andretti and Porsche lead in Arabia after a good performance in Mexico
Avalanche Andretti team driver Jake Dennis leads the World Drivers’ Championship after winning the first Gen3 Formula E supercar race in Mexico City after starting on the front row alongside pole sitter Lucas di Grassi (his weekend first at Mahindra Racing).
Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) finished second – the pair 11 seconds ahead of third-placed Lucas di Grassi, showing the strength of the Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 powertrain used by both teams. Even two drivers from the two teams finished the race inside the top 10, the championship goal area.
One of the favorite teams at the beginning of the season, DS PENSKE unexpectedly ended up in the middle of the field, something that few could have predicted after what the team showed during the pre-season training in Valencia, in which they were simply outplayed by. Maserati’s Maximilian Guenther MSG Racing, with DS PENSKE drivers Stoffel Vandoorne and Jean-Éric Vergne taking the top 3 at Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
In Mexico, defending champion Vandoorne and two-time champion JEV finished outside the top 10 in qualifying practice, with Vandoorne getting just four points to take 10th. Vergne also raced through the middle of the pack before miscalculating a pass and crashing into Sacha Fenestraz , finishing in only 12th place.
Neom McLaren Formula E Team driver Jake Hughes may be a legend but he showed impressive form in his first race in Formula E. He finished fifth but was fighting for the podium the whole time. It is worth noting that McLaren got the basis of the Mercedes Benz EQ, which dominated the last two Formula E Championships.
Jaguar TCS Racing is sixth in the World Team Championship standings as early technical problems forced Sam Bird to retire from the Mexico City Eprix with a broken drive shaft after leaving the track in unbeaten free practice. But no one has won more races in Saudi Arabia than Bird – his double is equaled by Nyck de Vries, who won in Years 7 and 8 – and no one has gone faster on the Diriyah Street Circuit.
This weekend in Diriyah will be important for Sam Bird for another reason: the British driver will reach the disputed number of 100 eprix, a mark that only Brazilian Lucas di Grassi has surpassed so far.
However, it is not only Bird who will reach the 100th eprix mark in the history of Formula E. Two other “veterans” will also celebrate this milestone: the only two-time champion of the category Jean-Eric Vergne and the champion. season 2’s Sébastien Buemi (Vision Racing) will also reach a historic number this weekend.
The Brazilians arrive in Diriyah looking to repeat the performances of the past
The Brazilian Lucas di Grassi has nothing to complain about in the opening stage of the 9th season of Formula E, which took place two weeks ago in Mexico City. In his first weekend with Mahindra Racing, he took a commanding position, led the early stages of the eprix and fought a fierce battle with other rivals to secure his place on the first podium of the Gen3 Era.
The three-time World Electric Car Championship champion is well aware of his car’s limitations, as Mahindra has been the team on the grid with the fewest tests to date. That is: it is still in the process of evolution, and the trend is to improve the performance, especially in terms of running speed and energy management.
Di Grassi’s record at Diriyah is impressive, with two podium finishes in seven eprix held at the Arab street circuit. Even last season, when he played for Venturi after seven years racing for Audi, he finished third in Race 2, a feat he repeated for the first time with Mahindra this year in Mexico City.
Sérgio Sette Câmara made an impressive start to the weekend in Mexico during two free practice sessions, but that was not repeated in qualifying and in the race, finishing the opening race in only 16th place.
However, despite the disappointment in his first NIO 333 race, the driver from Minas Gerais arrives in Diriyah with the memory of one of his best performances in Formula E, when in the 2nd race of the Arab eprix in the seventh year, he was able to start in third place and achieved second place during the race, which ended in fourth place, his best result in the category.
Thursday, January 26
Free Practice 1 – 11:55 am – Stream on Formula E YouTube
Friday, January 27
Second free workout – 07:55 – Stream on Formula E YouTube
Playoffs – 9:40 am – Broadcast on BandSports
1 – 2 pm Race – Broadcast on BandSports
Saturday, January 28
Free Workout 3 – 07:55 – Stream on Formula E YouTube
Playoffs – 9:40 am – Broadcast on BandSports
Race 2 – 2pm – Broadcast on Band (Open TV) by BandSports