Enough of waiting, it's time to race.
There's a World Championship Title to be assigned.
Between the dunes, and the walls of the old city of Riyadh, 24 electric cars will lighten up the night.
The first two rounds of the FIA Formula E World Championship, and the first two Night Races in FE history, are coming on February 26-27th.
I get it.
Your hype level bar is quite low right now.
The last 6 races of Formula E were disputed last summer on the grey-ish landing area of the Tempelhof Airport, in Berlin.
Most of them, dominated by the Techeetah DS of Antonio Felix Da Costa, who won the title with ease.
Not exactly super exciting!
Even i wasn't thrilled by it
A lot of time passed by, slow news months, little coverage of the Pre-Season Testing...
Than the Santiago e-Prix got pushed back due to COVID, another month of waiting..
Here we are finally....a week away from the Start of the first World Championship Season.
Drivers are getting ready for the travel & the pre-event quarantine procedures, Teams are packing up things for the Double Header.
Pit buildings are getting completed, LED lights placed along the course for the Night Event.
It's all set!
All ready for a proper Racing Weekend on a proper Formula E Street Circuit.
Crashes, Drama, powersliding on the desert dust, this could be a Classic Double Header.
Under the Night Sky of Ad-Diriyah, the Electric Circus is ready to Kick-off the season with style.
Embrace the Journey, and let the hype bar raise a little bit.
All five lights are on..
And We Go Green in Riyadh!
Since its debut in Season 5, Formula E racing in Riyadh have been often very exciting
The high temperatures, the dusty & unforgiving track, the nature of the layout always manged to produce quite a show.
If you have good memory, you'll remember the water-bomb that dropped upon the circuit during its first event.
2 out of 2 practice session cancelled due to a massive thunderstorm, Riaydh's debut in the FE calendar was dramatic.
The 24 drivers basically went into qualifying blind, with close to zero running (expect for a brief 10 minutes run behind Safety Car before quali).
It was a dramatic morning, with plenty of crashes & an unexpected grid result.
Antonio Felix Da Costa put the debutant BMW on Pole Position ahead of Jose Maria Lopez's Dragon Racing.
During the race, the two Techeetas of Vergne/Lotterer charged up the field & attacked the lead of the portoguese driver.
Vergne gained P1 with an amazing overtake around the outside of Da Costa in Turn 18, and so did Lotterer just a few laps later.
It was looking good for a Techeetah 1-2, but the Golden Pair was penalized with a Drive Through Penalty due to a technical infrignement.
Antonio Felix Da Costa managed to win the race, his first win since the Maiden Buenos Aires victory, back in Season 1 with Aguri. (2014-2015)
And it was emotional for him.
Last year, Formula E went for a Double Header in Riyadh, same as this year (but with daylight).
Since the first Free Practice, BMW looked super fast in the hands of Alexander Sims.
The englishman set the pace in quali, achieving a stunning Pole Position in front of the suprising Mercedes of Stoffel Vandoorne.
Sims looked solid in the first half of the race, but his confidence was shattered when Vandoorne & Bird started battling in the main straight.
Right behind Sims, Vandoorne closed the door to Bird & went for a very late braking.
But he got so much momentum that he overshoot the corner, passing Sims in the process.
Sims went wide as well to avoid contact,
Bird outsmarted them both and got the lead & the win!
An Amazing three-way move for victory!
Enjoy the highlights of Race 1 (Season 6)
Another Race, another Pole in Riyadh for Alexander Sims.
If the englishman looked solid in Race 1, he literally turned into a Desertmeister in Race 2.
Unbeatable pole time, unmatchable pace during the race.
The smart-looking BMW driver turned into a machine & literally dominated the whole race, achieving his first & only (so far) Formula E victory.
A Race halted by multiple Full Course Yellow & Safety Cars, a dramatic one, so a must watch!
The Ad-Diriyah Formula E circuit is one of the most technical, fast & challenging circuits on the calendar.
It was already one of the drivers favourite courses, but with this year's Night Edition it might enter into the Formula E GOTA.
A challenging 2.5 KM street circuit, with 21 corners.
The track is pretty much split in two very different parts: the first sector is fast, wide, overtaking friendly.
The second sector is completely different: reminiscent of Macau, the cars enters the Old City section from Turn 5 to Turn 14.
And it's spectacular: up, down, fast kinks with absolute zero margin for errors.
The dust on track is another element that can split the man from the boys: just a split second of distraction and you're in the wall.
Let's take a closer look at the track!
For this year's Night Double Header, there were minor but crucial tweaks!
This year, the back section is going to be even faster: Turn 10 has been transformed into a fast kink, rather than a medium speed chicane.
This means, the cars will fly into Turn 11 with much more speed.
More spectacular stuff in quali, but also much bigger chances to make a mistake there.
Expect some dramas.
Also, the barriers at Turn 18-19 has been reprofiled, making it harder for the cars to cut the corner.
Racing under the lights. A different kind of challenge?
For sure, it's going to look spectacular on TV.
The glowing Formula E Halos, plus the low carbon-impact sustainable LEDS of the circuit should make for a beautiful sight in the Race.
But, most important: the track & ambient temperature is going to be much lower compared to the previous editions.
This means: more grip, faster pace & less Tyre Deg.
Lower temperatures translates also to less battery heating. A crucial aspect in Formula E.
All in all: the drivers should be able to push the cars much more during the night race, with far less car management problems.
So..Bring it on!!
The 2021 Formula E Season lineup is the best ever to date! (we say this every season tho)
A perfect mix of young guns & older veterans: with expected low deltas between teams performances, we can dream for one hell of a season!
But who can challengethe Techeetah of Antonio Felix Da Costa?
Vergne / Da Costa
The Dream Team of Formula E.
Antonio Felix Da Costa turned into a BEAST during the Season 6 of Formula E: from Marrakesh to the Berlin's Racing Week, the portoguese scored multiple wins & incredible pole positions, dominating the field in a Lewis Hamilton-esque fashion.
He conquered the drivers championship & became a Portoguese Sport Legend: not a bad year for him.
Jean Eric Vergne, on the other hand, was soundly beaten.
The two times Formula E Champion suffered the rise of the portoguese beast, struggling to keep up the pace & getting involved in incidents most of the times.
Can he bounce back this year?
DS Techeetah is starting the season with the Season 6 Powertrain, before switching to the new Season 7 spec from the Rome e-Prix onwards.
This means, more time to develop the new powertrain, but also a bit less performance in the first few opening rounds.
A calculated risk?
Vandoorne / De Vries
Stoffel Vandoorne & Nyck De Vries finished Season 6 on a high, with a spectactular 1-2 in the last round of the Berlin's Racing Week.
Vandoorne was even in the mix for the Driver's Title Fight before the frantic Berlin's Finale.
The driver from belgium looked fast all season long, but also threw away some great races with driving mistakes, like in Mexico.
De Vries showed impressive flashes of speed, but was inconsistent during the season.
The new powertrain developed by Mercedes is a natural evolution of the previous itineration: they looked fast in testing, expecially on Race Pace & Energy Management, still not perfect in terms of reliability.
Will it be enough to challenge the impressive DS Techeetas?
Rowland / Buemi
Nissan e-Dams is confident this season: Sebastien Buemi & Oliver Rowland are a proven quality pair, and both can challenge for the title.
Similar to Techeetah DS, Nissan is going to push back the introduction of the Season 7 Powertrain till the Rome e-Prix.
However, the Nissan Powertrain looked very solid back in Berlin, so the team could still fight for the Top 5 positions coming to Riyadh.
Envision Virgin Racing
Frijns / Cassidy
Impressive pairing of drivers this year at Envision Virgin Racing.
Sam Bird left the team after 6 sesons, leaving the space to the young & promising Kiwi, Nick Cassidy.
This guy looked super fast in the Marrakesh Rookie Test, and appeared to be very solid in the Valencia Testing as well. He could be a surprise!
Robin Frijns, on the other hand,will carry on the team as the more experienced driver.
Envision Virgin Racing will use the Audi S7 Powertrain for this season.
BMW I Andretti Motorsport
Gunther / Dennis
BMW I Andretti enters their last season of Formula E with a young & fresh driver pair: Max Gunther (Aka the e-Schumacher) is ready to fight for the title, while the promising Jake Dennis wants to prove all of the talent he showed in the junior formulaes, where he fought alongside Leclerc & Verstappen.
The team sounds pretty confident about their S7 powertrain, and both of the drivers set very fast lap times in Valencia's testing.
A challenger for the title?
Audi Sport ABT Shaeffler
Di Grassi / Rast
Audi Sport is set to leave Formula E at the end of Season 7 as well: Lucas Di Grassi is one of the veterans on the grid, and would love to end his ever-lasting relationship with Audi on a high.
The new powertrain is looking very promising, super light & efficient. "The Best Audi powertrain yet" - according to Lucas Di Grassi.
Enough for the title challenge?
Alonside him we'll find the spectacular Renè Rast, a DTM legend that showed already great speed in his Berlin's outings.
Evans / Bird
Jaguar Racing welcomes the Formula E legend, Sam Bird.
The experienced englishman is set to deliver quality & consistent drives for the team, alonside Mitch Evans who is rated as one of the fastest drivers on the grid in terms of sheer speed.
A strong pair, and a promising powertrain. What's not to like?
TAG Heuer Porsche
Lotterer / Wehrlein
Tag Heuer Porsche is going full german this season: superstar Pascal Wehrlein joins Andrè Lotterer for the Season 7 campaign.
Two of the best FE drivers around: despite some technical troubles in testing, the Porsche powertrain showed great pace over one lap, and some of the highest Top Speeds ever recorded in Formula E (exceeding 250 km/h).
Will this be Porsche's title-winning super weapon?
Sims / Lynn
AKA Team Britain.
This team is so british that even its livery resembles an english flag: obviously, two englishman drivers behind the wheel. Alex Lynn is joining the team after a very promising appearence in the Berlin's Racing Week. Lynn is one of the fastest drivers around in terms of single lap pace. Can he become a Energy-management beast as well? Alexander Sims is simply one of the smartest guys in the paddock: also, a very good & versatile driver.
He showed great flashes of speed, consistency & perfect energy management last season with BMW, and he's a Riyadh's specialist with two pole positions & one victory.
Nato / Mortara
This year, Venturi has gone for a low-key approach: both in terms of social media activity & in terms of livery. A bland black-white car.
BUT the teams seems to have extracted the full potential of the Mercedes Powetrain in testing: both drivers set very fast times in quali & Race conditions.
At the wheel: Norman Nato & Edoardo Mortara, two solid yet unspectacular drivers that could bring a lot of points for the team this year.
Dragon Penske Autosport
Sette Camara / Muller
One of the best liveries on the grid, a vibrant Red-White combination, a welcomed change after years of visual black/white dullness.
They'll start the season with a one year old Penske powertrain, but that didn't seem to slow them down in testing: young brazilian Sergio Sette Camara joins the team after an impressive debut during the Berlin's Racing Week.
Alongside him, Swissman Nico Muller has been confirmed.
After a few seasons of struggle, will this be a new starting point thanks to a young & fresh driver lineup?
Turvey / Blomqvist
NIO is ready to bounce back!
After a streak of disastrous seasons, the Chinese Manufacturer went through a major internal reconstruction this year.
New pepole, new ideas, renewed enthusiasm.
And it paid off apparently: Oliver Turvey was fast in testing, often to be seen in the Top 10 of the standings.
He also expressed very positive words towards the new powertrain.
The experienced englishman will be joined by Tom Blomqvist, who appeared previously during Season 4 with Andretti.
Blomqvist impressed everyone in Berlin, where he raced for Jaguar, replacing James Calado: the english driver scored a Super Pole placement & a point finishing position.
Enough to grant him a seat with NIO 333. A team that appears to be solid this year. A surprise?
Than here it s a Spotter Guide for ya
The Valencia Pre-Season Testing took place in November at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo.
All the 24 cars & 12 teams took place in what it was a three-day long collective event, with two days of free practice & one day of Race Simulation.
The fastest lap (also a new FE record) has been set by Max Gunther (BMW) in1'11''760
Oh, thanks for the remainder that I actually have an ES Player subscription. (It was the deal of the century, buying a 1 year sub just before the pandemic hit at least they extended it by almost half a year)
Only just found this thread, but what an OP! Well played sir! I am so looking forward to this season. In typical FE style noone can really say for sure who the main contenders are and that adds such variety and excitement to it all in a way most other series don't. This season realistically NIO could be top of the charts having been bottom for the last 3!
If the latter, there were two women racing last year in the supporting Jaguar unsuitable for racing SUV series.
If in general, yes, but who is qualified to be there on merit?
I would give Jamie Chadwick a run-out on the slightly dodgy basis that she beat Pietro Fittipaldi in Asian F3 a couple of years ago, and for that matter ran Nikita Mazepin quite close too. Simona de Silvestro would do a decent job too, although she didn't set the e-world on fire during her year at Andretti, when she was generally off teammate Robin Frijns' pace.
...that's Dragon Penske Autosport running Penske Autosport's new (and final) Gen2 powertrain that will feature Bosch components (as opposed to various other suppliers of previous seasons)...
..whilst also laying the groundwork for Dragon Penske Autosport (or whatever they call themselves by then) to run a fully Bosch designed powertrain in Gen3... still entered through Penske Autosport or with Bosch as an official Gen3 manufacturer? A Penske-Bosch? A Bosch-Penske? A Bosch?
I have to say, Nick Cassidy's racing resume looks incredible
This guy is absolutely one to watch, as this is going to be pretty much his first full "European" season.
I reckon Cassidy is the real deal. It is only F1's peculiar blinkered vision that has meant he wasn't picked up there. Red Bull ought to have snapped him up after seeing him trouncing their juniors in Superformula, but no, he hasn't followed the hallowed path to F1 and must be consigned to the outer darkness. Or FE in this case. I expect him to challenge ths year and win FE next year.