Formula E Diriyah ePrix 2021

With Formula e coming back for the 2021 season, we were introduced to a familiar track, but filled with familiar and unfamiliar faces alike. The reigning champion for 2021 is Antonio Felix da Costa, joined by Techeetah.

This race summary includes both the first and second round.

Qualifying – Round One

Qualifying groups are based off the championship standings from the 2020 season, with every new rookie assigned to group four. Vandoorne sets the benchmark time of a 1:10.128, whilst everyone else bar Rowland manages to go slower. Rowland crosses the line to end group one with a 1:09.362, 0.766 seconds quicker. A lot of group one ended up backing behind each other, where if anyone made a mistake, it would affect them, hence a lot of them were over 1 second behind Rowland.

For group two, De Vries has got the fastest sectors all around, setting a 1:08.786, beating the eDAMS driver by 0.576 seconds. The rest of group two slot in after de Vries, pushing Rowland to 6th. Frijns was the only one in group two to not set a time, though that was due to the fact he had an incident in practice earlier that morning.

Wehrlein opted for the out lap, push lap, meaning there was no warm up lap, which most drivers went for. Sims sets the first lap of the group, though locks up into an entry of a corner, merely earning 8th. Wehrlein slots into 2nd with a lap one hundreth slower than de Vries. Mortara pushes the German off the second step, whilst Rast and Lynn sit behind in 4th and 5th.

Norman Nato starts his Formula E career slotting into 12th, being 0.842 seconds off de Vries’ time. Muller, Cassidy and Blomqvist all go 5th onwards, but since Camara was unable to turn into the final corner, he ended up driving towards the wall. Later, all three laps were disqualified as they improved during yellow flags, dropping them to the back.

The top 6 who entered super pole were: Mitch Evans, Alex Lynn, Rene Rast, Pascal Wehrlein, Edoardo Mortara and Nyck de Vries. Despite the short notice of super pole, his qualifying lap was hindered by him hitting one of the walls, only earning 1:09.706, where his sector three was the slowest of the session. Lynn’s car lacked the grip needed to keep on track, and only beats Evans by three tenths. Rast sets a green sector one, purple sector two and three, allowing the Audi driver to earn a 1:08.869, advancing ahead of Lynn by 0.476 seconds. Wehrlein takes provisional pole from Rast after setting a purple sector two, merely by 5 hundreths. The grid stands Wehrlein, Rast, Lynn and Evans thus far. Mortara is pushing his car to the limit, but the rear of the car is sliding a lot. The Venturi driver was only able to settle for third, behind Rast. De Vries enters the track and already is making his advances, setting purples for the entire lap, to take it by 0.664 seconds.

The grid is as follows:
1. Nyck de Vries
2. Pascal Wehrlein
3. Rene Rast
4. Edoardo Mortara
5. Alex Lynn
6. Mitch Evans
7. Andre Lotterer
8. Sam Bird
9. Maximilian Guenther
10. Oliver Rowland
11. Alexander Sims
12. Norman Nato
13. Oliver Turvey
14. Jake Dennis
15. Stoffel Vandoorne
16. Lucas di Grassi
17. Sebastien Buemi
18. Antonio Felix da Costa
19. Jean-Eric Vergne
20. Sergio Sette Camara
21. DSQ Nick Cassidy
22. DSQ Tom Blomqvist
23. DSQ Nico Muller
24. DNS Robin Frijns

Race – Round One

Rast is given an opportunity to move up into second off the line since Wehrlein went slow, but the Mahindra driver manages to keeps ahead. De Vries was therefore allowed to advance ahead with no issues. Alex Lynn and Mitch Evans went side by side into the first few corners, but Evans takes the inside to advance ahead. Lucas di Grassi advances to 15th ahead of Dennis, whilst Frijns passes Muller at the back of the grid.

Lotterer tried to defend from Bird, but the British driver passes through the German with ease, now slotting into 8th. It wasn’t the end of Bird’s attack as he passes Guenther for 7th and now he leaves the German in the arms of Lotterer. Meanwhile Sergio Sette Camara enters the pitlane to serve a drive through penalty about some regulations over the supplier of parts, dropping to the back of the grid.

De Vries’ lead depleted as Wehrlein advances to the rear end of the Mercedes driver, whilst there is a bit of a gap to Rast. Nyck complains of overconsumption as Wehrlein is within a second of him. The two Envision Virgin cars were the first to take their attack modes, though sitting 22nd and 23rd.

Tom Blomqvist over-regenerated during a corner, therefore he had to serve a drive through penalty, dropping him from 20th to 23rd. Meanwhile at the front, Sam Bird is sitting very close to behind Lynn and decides to send the car down the inside to overtake the Mahindra driver. Meanwhile at the front, Wehrlein hasbacked off from the Dutch leader, allowing Rast to catch up. The Audi driver now was sat within the slipstream of the Porsche car. It didn’t take him long to overtake him, so whilst Wehrlein went off racing line, he opted for the attack mode. He comes out ahead of Mortara, meaning he kept third. Similarly de Vries also took attack mode at around the same time, meaning Rast was the only one who didn’t.

The battle for the midfield continued as Lynn and Bird are fighting each other. Lynn decides to dive down the inside of the Jaguar driver and passes to retake 6th again. Rowland passes Sims in the same corner, putting the eDAMS driver into 10th.

Mortara takes his attack mode, dropping behind Evans. Though everyone ahead had no attack mode or had just ran out, so he had an advanatage over his fellow drivers. Rast decided to take his the following lap, meaning De Vries is under attack from the German. Mortara decides to take the initiative to overtake both Evans and Wehrlein, weaving between them both to take the position. Evans takes the opportunity to pass Wehrlein too for 4th.

After all the progress made, Bird tries to overtake Lynn down the inside, but the Mahindra driver closes the door to end that opporunity. Lynn ends up spinning round and since Bird couldn’t make the corner, they collide with both front wings together. Since Alex was unable to return back to the pits and stopped at an unretrievable part of the track, the safety car is deployed.

With just over 14 minutes to go, the flag waves green to resume racing. Muller and Blomqvist are the first to take attack mode in the restart. At the front, de Vries took his second attack mode, but it was bad timing as Guenther collides into the wall. The BMW driver clips the first wall to ricochet into the second, though there was only damage to the car’s chassis. Because of this, the safety car was recalled to retrieve the German’s car.

Six minutes left on the clock and the safety car comes back in once again. Mortara keeps a distance to de Vries. The following lap, he decides to take his attack mode and sat behind Rast in 3rd. The Monaco-born driver closes in and overtakes down the inside. This allowed him to regain the position and allowed Rast to sit within Evan’s grasps. It didn’t take long for him to find an opportunity to pass the Audi-powered driver, taking it down the inside and keeping the result post-exit. Vandoorne uses his fanboost to try and catch the attacking group of Rowland and Sims, though the Nissan driver gets past the Mahindra car. Sims tries to retake it the following lap, but Oliver keeps him behind, allowing Stoffel to catch up.

Rast tries to overtake Evans into the closing laps, but there was no opportunity to overtake, so he passes the line in 4th. Over the line, Buemi runs out of power, but he collides with Dennis near the finish, dropping him to 13th.

The race results are:
1. Nyck de Vries
2. Edoardo Mortara
3. Mitch Evans
4. Rene Rast
5. Pascal Wehrlein
6. Oliver Rowland
7. Alexander Sims
8. Stoffel Vandoorne
9. Lucas di Grassi
10. Oliver Turvey
11. Antonio Felix da Costa
12. Jake Dennis
13. Sebastien Buemi
14. Norman Nato
15. Jean Eric Vergne
16. Andre Lotterer
17. Robin Frijns
18. Tom Blomqvist
19. Nick Cassidy
20. Sergio Sette Camara
21. Nico Muller
22. DNF Maximilian Guenther
23. DNF Sam Bird
24. DNF Alex Lynn

Qualifying – Round Two

In a double header, there are usually another set of practices. In the morning practice, the Venturi car of Edoardo Mortara went into the final corners and ended up careering into the wall, due to a brakes failure contributed by an electronics issue. The car usually applies the rear brakes as a fail-safe in case an incident like this occurred, but since this part of the component failed, it put him into the safety road barrier. This meant all Mercedes powertrain cars were unable to compete for the qualifying session, with this being Venturi and Mercedes EQ. They were only allowed to compete once the issue has been fixed, which was found prior the race.

As de Vries and Mortara were unable to compete, it left four drivers in group one. At the front, Wehrlein had a big gap behind, whilst, Rowland, Evans and Rast all went out late. Oliver just crosses the line in time, but Mitch and Rene misses out for qualifying. Wehrlein sets the first time of 1:09.601, but with no rubber laid on track, he was at a much unfair disadvantage to Rowland, who beats him by 0.803 seconds.

Sims’ car looked like it lacked a lot of grip, only able to achieve 2nd. Da Costa sets the fastest sector one, but despite locking up into the final corner, he takes pole from Rowland by almost two tenths. Lucas di Grassi sets the fastest sector two but also slides out on the final sector to sit 4th. For Oliver Turvey, it was a day to remember as he sets a 1:08.424, being the fastest in the entire session thus far.

Buemi leads the group session, but Vergne originally sets the first fastest sector, but is immediately beaten by Frijns. Buemi and Vergne fail to pass Turvey on pole, only settling for 3rd and 2nd respectively, meanwhile Turvey’s teammate Tom Blomqvist goes faster. However, this didn’t last for long as Frijns easily sets the pole lap with a 1:07.810, beating the NIO driver by 0.557 seconds.

Guenther starts the session for group four. There were no purple sectors set, but Muller ends up in 4th, but Camara pushes him down to end up 2nd. Guenther only managed 9th, until Bird and Lynn pushes him further down the grid. Cassidy ends up 11th, ahead of Max.

The drivers who made it into superpole are: Nico Muller, Oliver Turvey, Sam Bird, Tom Blomqvist, Sergio Sette Camara and Robin Frijns. Unfortunately for Nico, he went wide into the dust, increasing his lap time to only set a 1:09.060. Turvey had a bit of a minor slide to manage a 1:08.439, putting him on provisional pole. Plus he managed to also set a purple on sector three. Bird was very close to Turvey throughout his whole lap, but manages to take it from the Briton by 0.034 seconds. Blomqvist only manages to achieve 3rd, sitting behind by 0.293 seconds. Sette Camara is pushing his Dragon car to the limit, hitting every apex to the corner, setting the fastest sector three to take provisional pole from Bird with a 1:08.178. Frijns, like Camara, isn’t holding back as he practically drifts along the corners, setting the fastest sector one and three to claim his first ever pole position in Formula E.

The grid is as follows:
1. Robin Frijns
2. Sergio Sette Camara
3. Sam Bird
4. Oliver Turvey
5. Tom Blomqvist
6. Nico Muller
7. Jean Eric Vergne
8. Sebastien Buemi
9. Alex Lynn
10. Antonio Felix da Costa
11. Nick Cassidy
12. Maximilain Guenther
13. Oliver Rowland
14. Alexander Sims
15. Lucas di Grassi
16. Pascal Wehrlein
17. Jake Dennis
18. Mitch Evans
19. Rene Rast
20. DNS Nyck de Vries
21. DNS Edoardo Mortara
22. DNS Stoffel Vandoorne
23. DNS Norman Nato
24. DNS Andre Lotterer

Race – Round Two

Sergio Sette Camara loses out to Bird at the beginning after a slow start, whilst Frijns starts to extend his lead at the frnt. Da Costa tried to overtake Muller, but couldn’t get past him and had to avoid the wall. Sims tried to go around Rowland for 13th, but the Briton kept ahead.

Antonio makes his moves to 8th as he passes around Buemi. Behind Sims and Jake Dennis are fighting for 14th, with the Mahindra driver being ahead. Robin and Sam start producing a gap to behind of Camara. Vandoorne takes his stop and go penalty, dropping him to the back of the grid. Meanwhile behind, Blomqvist loses out to both Techeetahs of Vergne and da Costa. At the same time, Cassidy tries to overtake Buemi through the inside, but misses out on the Swiss driver.

Vergne decides to take his first attack mode, dropping behind his teammate. Turvey and Muller retaliate from the drivers with attack mode behind by taking theirs. Turvey keeps 4th, but Muller loses out to Vergne, dropping to 6th.

At the front, Frijns takes his attack mode, dropping him behind Bird, who hasn’t taken the extra boost of power. In the midfield, a battle is brewing with Rowland, Guenther, di Grassi, Sims and more. Guenther has the advantage over Rowland with attack mode, but was yet to make a move on the British driver.

Robin Frijns passes Bird with attack mode, so the Jaguar driver decides to take attack mode, though misses out to Camara, dropping him to 3rd. Behind, Cassidy dives diwn the inside of Blomqvist, pushing him to 9th, whilst Rowland tries to pass Guenther for 11th, but is unable to overtake the German. Rene Rast manages to overtake Mitch Evans, whilst Dennis stops at the pitlane entry. A battle between him and Wehrlein put him into the wall, bringing out the full course yellow flag.

With 20 minutes left to go on the clock, the flag turns green. Da Costa and Vergne make their way up to 3rd and 4th, whilst the battle continued at the front. Since Frijns’ had attack mode, he passes Bird for first once again, though the British driver had another boost to take. Sam Bird tries to attack the Dutch driver around the outside, but the Envision driver manages to hold him off. This allowed the Techeetah cars to close in, creating a train for the top four. Da Costa tries to attack Bird in a corner that isn’t used for overtaking and loses out to his teammate, meaning they’re going side by side. They come close together into the corner, nearly careering Vergne into the wall, but both manage to get through the corner. Vergne takes the position ahead of Da Costa, though had lost a significant amount of time to the two front runners, allowing Sette Camara to be close. Meanwhile ahead, Bird gets infront of Frijns for the lead of the race.

Bird takes his second attack mode and easily retakes the lead from Frijns again. Behind, da Costa activates his fanboost to advance ahead of Sette Camara. Meanwhile, Cassidy has been on the rear of the Brazilian’s car, attempting to get 5th from him.

Buemi, Guenther, Evans and Lynn were all involved in two separate incidents during the same straight/corner. Due to the severity/complications of the incidents – like where the cars are and the debris – the safety car was called and then later red flagged. Buemi tried to dive down the inside of Guenther, but since the German locked up, Buemi ended up careering into the back of his car, which retired them two. Behind them, Evans and lynn were fighting each other for position. Evans squeezed Lynn into the barriers as a defence, but as they were travelling high speed into the final corners, Lynn went airborne and his car flipped. His upside down Mahindra went careering into the safety road, before promptly hitting a safety barrier. Alex was taken to hospital and was later confirmed to be okay and is able to drive for Rome.

Because of the early finish, drivers who did not take their second attack mode were penalised. This pushed Vergne and Rast down with a 24 second penalty. Cassidy was also given a penalty for speeding under full course yellow and Guenther picks up a five place grid drop for causing a collision with Blomqvist.

The race results are:
1. Sam Bird
2. Robin Frijns
3. Antonio Felix da Costa
4. Sergio Sette Camara
5. Nico Muller
6. Oliver Turvey
7. Oliver Rowland
8. Lucas di Grassi
9. Nyck de Vries
10. Pascal Wehrlein
11. Andre Lotterer
12. PENALISED Jean-Eric Vergne
13. Stoffel Vandoorne
14. PENALISED Nick Cassidy
15. Alexander Sims
16. Norman Nato
17. PENALISED Rene Rast
18. Tom Blomqvist
19. DNF Sebastien Buemi
20. DNF Maximilian Guenther
21. DNF Mitch Evans
22. DNF Alex Lynn
23. DNF Jake Dennis
24. DNS Edoardo Mortara

We’ll be back on Wednesday for a Race Review, with what we thought of our predictions, highlights, lowlights, underrated drivers and so on. Check on our social medias to see how you can be included in these posts!