|2019 Diriyah E-Prix I|
Diriyah's street circuit remained unchanged for the 2019/20 season.
|Date||22 November 2019|
|Official Name||2019 SAUDIA Diriyah E-Prix|
|Location||Ad Diriyah Street Circuit, Ad Diriyah, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia|
|Lap length||2.495 km (1.550 mi)|
|Distance||34 laps / 84.830 km (52.711 mi)|
|Support Race||2019 Diriyah eTrophy Race 1|
|Pole Sitter||Alexander Sims|
|Team||BMW i Andretti Motorsport|
|Fastest Lap||1:13.947 on lap 22|
|Sam Bird||André Lotterer||Stoffel Vandoorne|
|Winner Team||Envision Virgin Racing|
|2019 New York City E-Prix II||2019 Diriyah E-Prix II|
The 2019 Diriyah E-Prix I, officially advertised as the 2019 SAUDIA Diriyah E-Prix I (2019 بطولة الدرعية الإلكترونية in Arabic), was the opening round of the 2019/20 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, staged at the Ad Diriyah Street Circuit in Ad Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on 22 November 2019. The race saw Jean-Éric Vergne and DS Techeetah open their title defence, after a summer of changes to the field and rules.
Ahead of the race the major interest would lay in the arrival of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz to the FE family, with the latter also supplying Venturi. There would also be some new faces among the drivers, with Brendon Hartley, Nico Müller, James Calado and Nyck de Vries getting their debuts.
Qualifying for the opening round saw Alexander Sims sweep to pole position in Super Pole, finding three quarters of a second on his group stage time. He beat Mercedes pilots Stoffel Vandoorne and de Vries, Edoardo Mortara of Venturi, Sam Bird in his Virgin run Audi and Jérôme d'Ambrosio of Mahindra Racing.
The start of the race would see pole sitter Sims make a strong start, sweeping to the inside of the track to block a dive from Vandoorne. Indeed, it was a surprisingly clean start throughout the entire 23 car field, with Müller missing out due to accident damage.
The early stages saw the top three, Sims, Vandoorne and de Vries, ease clear, while Bird tried to find a way past Mortara. Further down, Jean-Éric Vergne slowly picked his way back towards the top ten, while Sébastien Buemi became the first retirement, stopping on track with an issue.
After a quiet opening third of the race Bird would finally make a move stick on Mortara, using Attack Mode to dive past the Swiss racer, before charging off after the lead trio. He duly latched onto the back of de Vries as the Dutchman armed his Attack Mode boost, as did Vandoorne, while Mortara soon found himself behind André Lotterer and Oliver Rowland.
Bird would have to wait until his second use of Attack Mode to take third from de Vries, before launching himself into an attack on Vandoorne. However, as Bird made a lunge, Vandoorne made an attack of his own on Sims for the lead, and duly elbowed his way past the BMW-Andretti, albeit with Bird also slipping through.
A lap later and Bird was through to claim the lead, sweeping past Vandoorne into the turn eighteen/nineteen chicane. Behind, Sims began to tumble down the order, meaning Lotterer emerged in third and would harass Vandoorne as time began to run out.
Vandoorne would delay his second Attack Mode activation until the final minutes, dropping behind Lotterer as he did so, only for his advantage to wiped out by the BMW Qualcomm i8 safety car. Indeed, a big accident for Daniel Abt had left bits of Audi littered across turns five and six, and would require a three minute clean-up.
The race resumed with enough time for two laps, although there would be no major changes to the order at the head of the field. Bird hence claimed victory ahead of Lotterer and Vandoorne, while Rowland and Robin Frijns completed the top five.
The ABB FIA Formula E Championship would open its sixth campaign on increasingly familiar soil, with the Ad Diriyah Street Circuit returning for a second straight season as the season opener. Furthermore, Ad Diriyah had been selected to host a second race the following day, with the circuit receiving some minor alterations for the new season. These included some minor re-profiling of the majority of the corners and improving drainage, relocating the pitlane entry, and moving the Attack Mode activation point to the turn 18/19 chicane.
Away from the Ad Diriyah circuit itself, however, there had been some fairly major changes to the field and FE as a whole over the summer.
There was a move by the FIA and Formula E to make energy consumption a major factor in the 2019/20 Championship, with a change in the rules and regulations to challenge drivers further in terms of their energy use. The primary change was an alteration to the safety car and FCY rules, with the FIA granting permission to the race director to deduct 1% of each driver's available energy when the race was neutralised. This would partially counter each driver's ability to conserve energy under those conditions, and was seen as an alternative to increasing the race distance/time limit.
A further change would be applied to the Attack Mode boost system, which increased the amount of additional power available during the period to 35 kW from 25 kW in 2018/19. There was also a provision made to allow the number of available Attack Mode boosts to vary between each race, having been largely restricted to two activations of four minutes in 2018/19.
Pre-season was all about the arrival of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz into the series, with the two German manufacturers throwing considerable weight at their FE programmes ahead of their debuts. However, the two manufacturers would have drastically different approaches to the series, with Mercedes having used HWA Racelab in 2018/19 to obtain a season's worth of experience with customer powertrains. Porsche, meanwhile, would obtain the signature of their former WEC factory driver André Lotterer to partner Neel Jani, bringing driver experience to their new car, the Porsche 99X Electric.
Mercedes' maiden season would see them hire Stoffel Vandoorne from HWA, having taken over HWA's entry, while also hiring 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship Champion Nyck de Vries to partner the Belgian. The Mercedes squad had also secured their first customer team, with the freshly renamed Venturi Racing team buying two Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 01s instead of building their own powertrains as they had done since 2015/16. Otherwise the Venturi squad would appear as they had in 2018/19, with factory Mercedes GT driver Edoardo Mortara partnering ex-F1 ace Felipe Massa for the season.
Elsewhere, FE stalwarts Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler were unchanged ahead of the new season, once again fielding Lucas di Grassi and Daniel Abt. Furthermore, they would also supply Envision Virgin Racing with powertrains for a second season, with factory Audi driver Robin Frijns partnering Sam Bird in the team for another campaign. A fourth Audi factory driver would also get a shot in FE, with Nico Müller joining non-Audi customers GEOX Dragon.
Completing the German quartet would be BMW i Andretti Motorsport, who had a quiet summer following their maiden campaign in 2018/19. They would, however, lose their lead driver António Félix da Costa after the Portuguese ace left their factory roster of drivers, although they did opt to retain Alexander Sims after his mixed maiden campaign. The Bavarian squad would also sign Maximilian Günther as the German racer was a free agent, having impressed in his two-part rookie season in 2018/19.
Nissan e.Dams would have a tricky summer, for the Japanese manufacturer's twin motor layout was banned after the 2018/19 season, meaning they had to develop a new powertrain concept for 2019/20. Furthermore, the death of DAMS boss Jean-Paul Driot in August 2019 had caused major structural changes, with his sons Gregory and Oliver taking over the team on the eve of the Valencia Test. Driver-wise, however, the Nissan-e.Dams alliance was unchanged, with Sébastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland retained for a second consecutive season, although Buemi would miss one race due to his WEC commitments.
Over at DS Techeetah, meanwhile, there would only be one major change, with the squad having to find a replacement driver for Lotterer. They duly secured the signature of da Costa from BMW to partner defending Champion Jean-Éric Vergne, creating one of the strongest driver line-ups on the grid. da Costa's relatively late arrival meant that Vergne had completed most of the testing of the DS E-Tense FE 20, with da Costa only getting time in the car shortly before the Valencia test.
Elsewhere, Jaguar would have a busy summer developing their lightest ever powertrain, the I-Type IV, in their bid to continue their climb up the Championship table. Their line-up would be led by Mitch Evans once again, the highly rated New Zealander having been approached by other teams, while Alex Lynn was dropped from the team after completing the previous season with the squad. In his place Jaguar would sign Ferrari WEC driver James Calado, with the Brit set to make his public FE debut at the Valencia Test.
Mahindra Racing, meanwhile, would start the new season unchanged at a surface level, with Jérôme d'Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein retained as drivers, while Nick Heidfeld retained his test/reserve role. However, the would be major modifications internally, with the Mahindra squad signing a deal with ZF to co-develop their powertrains, replacing their five-year association with Magneti Marelli. There would also be some staff structure changes in a bid to find more consistency over a race weekend, having endured another mixed campaign in 2018/19.
GEOX Dragon would arrive in Valencia with another new driver line-up, with the aforementioned Müller partnered by another rookie in the form of former Porsche WEC factory driver Brendon Hartley. Hartley and Müller's contributions were likely to be all the more interesting given their associations with Porsche and Audi respectively, having both developed the powertrains of Dragon's rivals ahead of the new season. Otherwise the Dragon team was unchanged, with Penske remaining their powertrain suppliers in spite of significant interest from major manufacturers, most notably Ford.
Completing the field would be the freshly renamed NIO 333 FE Team who had, as ever, endured a turbulent summer. Indeed, in-spite of obtaining new owners and retaining lead driver Oliver Turvey, the team had been forced to drop their 2019/20 powertrain, instead obtaining a deal to run customer powertrains from Penske, re-badged as NIOs. The team would also sign FE refugee Ma Qing Hua to partner Turvey for the new season, with the Chinese racer, who served as their test/reserve driver in 2018/19, replacing a seat-less Tom Dillmann.
The full entry list for the 2019 Diriyah E-Prix I is displayed below:
Qualifying for the 2019 Diriyah E-Prix I would be conducted in FE's standard format, with the field split into four groups of six cars, based on Championship position. The first group would feature those in the top six in the Championship and so on, with each group getting six minutes on track to set a full 250 kW lap. The top six overall would then progress to the Super Pole shootout, getting one final lap at full power to try and claim pole position.
After the session a point would be handed to the fastest driver in the Group Stage, while three were to be awarded to the winner of Super Pole.
The first qualifying sextet of the 2019/20 season would feature the top six drivers from the 2018/19 season, and hence had some of FE biggest names. Defending Champion Jean-Éric Vergne would hence open his title defence alongside new DS Techeetah teammate António Félix da Costa, and would be joined by former Champions Sébastien Buemi and Lucas di Grassi of Nissan e.Dams and Audi respectively. Completing the group would be Jaguar Racing's Mitch Evans, and the first Envision Virgin run Audi of Robin Frijns.
The opening group of the day would be led out of the pits by da Costa, albeit with a little over two minutes and the rest of the group emerging right behind him. He duly bolted to build a small gap during his 200 kW warm-up lap, before opening his flying lap at full power. Unfortunately it would be a scruffly lap for the Portuguese ace, with da Costa slithering his way through the dust to set a 1:18.613.
That lap quickly proved to be sub-par, as di Grassi immediately beat it with a 1:17.213, chased by Evans, who had battled with the Brazilian on their out-laps, with the Kiwi claiming a 1:16.532. Vergne was next and duly moved to the top of the timesheets with a 1:16.129, followed by Frijns on a 1:16.200. Last across the line, having almost missed the chance to set a full power lap due to the bunching of the group earlier on, would be Buemi, with the Swiss ace ending the group in a frustrated third, 0.043s off of Frijns.
The second sextet featured those drivers whom had claimed seventh through to twelfth in the 2018/19 campaign, and was headlined by André Lotterer in his debuting Porsche. He was to be joined on track by Daniel Abt in the #66 factory Audi, with the second of the customer Audi's also on track, wielded by Sam Bird. Mahindra Racing were also to be represented as both of their drivers, Jérôme d'Ambrosio and Pascal Wehrlein, were in the group, as were Nissan via Oliver Rowland, a qualifying star in Season Five.
Rowland was the first driver to venture out of the pits, with the entire group leaving a thirty second margin to start their flying laps, having seen just how close Buemi had come to missing out in Group 1. Rowland quickly showed that the dusty Ad Diriyah Street Circuit was beginning to be cleaned up, with a seemingly sedate lap leaving him first overall on a 1:15.653. Abt was next across the line having passed Lotterer during their warm-up laps, but a poor middle sector saw the German only manage to claim fifth overall.
Lotterer himself was next to set a time, and duly sent Porsche supporting hearts soaring as he went fastest overall, recording a 1:15.518 with the fastest second sector. Yet, his time was to be instantly beaten by an ultra clean effort from Bird, the Brit sweeping to the top spot with a 1:14.946 with the fastest first and third sectors. d'Ambrosio was next and claimed second behind the Virgin, while a miserable final sector for Wehrlein saw the German youth only claim seventh overall.
Group three saw those positioned thirteenth through eighteenth in the 2018/19 season take to the circuit, albeit with some revisions due to the driver transfers over the summer. Headlining the sextet would be the stars of the 2019 Valencia Test BMW-Andretti, who had both Alexander Sims and Maximilian Günther in action having shown stunning one-lap pace in Spain. They would be joined by Stoffel Vandoorne in the first of the new Mercedes, the two sister Mercedes run by ROKiT Venturi of Edoardo Mortara and Felipe Massa, and the #3 NIO of Oliver Turvey.
Sims was the first of the group to venture out of the pitlane, and would surprise many by leaving very early in an attempt to guarantee some track space. A rear lock-up at turn one saw the Brit lose time to Bird, although he rallied brilliantly in the second and third sectors, barring a slide through turn fourteen, to go second fastest with a 1:15.255. Indeed, when teammate Günther only managed to secure sixth the Brit looked to have got away with it, although Mercedes were yet to deliver their shiny new barrage.
Vandoorne was the first of the trio to set his time, going second fastest with a 1:15.151, acing the first two sectors as he did so. Mortara was next and duly secured third at the end of his clean lap, although his margin over Sims was just 0.001s, followed by the lone NIO of Turvey which caused a small shock by claiming ninth despite demonstrating no signs of top-fifteen pace before the session. Completing the Group would be Massa, although and awful lap, which saw the Brazilian suffer a huge slide at turn four and almost clip the outside wall, left him down in sixteenth.
The final six drivers to hit the circuit would almost exclusively be populated by rookies, none of whom had driven the Spark SRT05e competitively before. Indeed, the most experienced driver in the group would be NIO's Ma Qing Hua with nine FE starts, the last in 2018, while Porsche combatant Neel Jani had two FE starts to his credit. The rest would all be breaking their FE virginity in the session, with the two GEOX Dragons of Brendon Hartley and Nico Müller, James Calado in the #51 Jaguar, and Nyck de Vries of Mercedes completing the group and the session.
de Vries would adopt the Sims approach to qualifying, and duly headed straight out of the pits knowing that the final group had an advantage in terms of track condition, the dust having continued to be swept aside during the earlier groups. The Dutchman duly delivered two strong and ultra clean sectors, only to cost himself some valuable time in the final sector with a lock-up into the chicane. Yet, even that would not be enough to de-rail the #17 Mercedes, which swept across the line to secure a spot in Super Pole, finishing second with a 1:15.027.
Behind, Hartley showed that he was up against it on his debut weekend, slithering his way through the dust akin to da Costa en-route to eighteenth at the end of his lap. Ma was next but proved to be little more than a footnote, before Calado lost control of his Jaguar on the dust at turn sixteen, bouncing off the wall at turn sixteen after the front of his car locked up. He was followed out of the session by Müller, who had an accident of his own at turn fourteen that ultimately ended with him parking next to Calado, while Jani, who was running behind them, had to slow his effort due to the yellow flags. The Swiss racer hence ended the session in twentieth.
The six to progress to Super Pole would be Bird, de Vries, Vandoorne, Mortara, Sims and d'Ambrosio, with the veteran Belgian the first to run having finished sixth in the group stage. However, a cautious but clean approach to the start of the lap left d'Ambrosio adrift, before a slide at turn sixteen/seventeen almost made it certain that his 1:15.539 would not be enough for pole. Indeed, Sims would subsequently flatten the Belgian's effort, setting fastest times of the session in both the first and second sectors to claim provisional pole with a 1:14.563.
Mortara was next and delivered a more aggressive lap, with slides at turns one and fourteen almost seeing the Venturi-Mercedes hit the wall en-route to a 1:15.131. The first factory Mercedes of Vandoorne went next, although the Belgian's pace would steadily trickle away after a promising first sector, with a notable slide through turn seventeen, leaving the Belgian in second on a 1:14.839. It was a similar story for teammate de Vries a few moments later, with the Dutchman sliding through turn one to deliver the fastest first sector, only to drop to third with a 1:14.929 after a poor third sector.
Bird then ventured out onto the circuit to complete Super Pole, having already claimed a point for setting the fastest lap in the group stage. Yet, the Brit's pole attempt would be over as soon as he got onto the dust at turn four, which saw the Virgin suffer a brief broadside slide that culled his momentum. Indeed, although Bird would deliver impressive second and third sectors his 1:15.350 was only good enough for fifth, leaving Sims on pole ahead of Vandoorne.
The final qualifying result for the 2019 Diriyah E-Prix I are outlined below:
|2019 Diriyah E-Prix I Qualifying Result|
|1st||27||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:14.563||—||1||G3|
|3rd||17||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes||1:14.929||+0.366s||3||G4|
|4th||48||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||1:15.131||+0.568s||4||G3|
|5th||2||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||1:15.350||+0.787s||5||G2|
|6th||64||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||1:15.539||+0.976s||6||G2|
|1st||2||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||1:14.946||—||SP||G2|
|2nd||17||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes||1:15.027||+0.081s||SP||G4|
|4th||48||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||1:15.254||+0.308s||SP||G3|
|5th||27||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:15.255||+0.309s||SP||G3|
|6th||64||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||1:15.273||+0.327s||SP||G2|
|7th||36||André Lotterer||Porsche Formula E Team||1:15.518||+0.572s||7||G2|
|8th||22||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.Dams||1:15.653||+0.707s||8||G2|
|9th||28||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||1:15.680||+0.734s||9||G3|
|10th||3||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 FE Team||1:16.018||+1.072s||10||G3|
|11th||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||1:16.129||+1.183s||11||G1|
|12th||4||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||1:16.200||+1.254s||12||G1|
|13th||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Mahindra Racing||1:16.200||+1.254s||13||G2|
|14th||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||1:16.243||+1.297s||14||G1|
|15th||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:16.264||+1.318s||15||G2|
|16th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||1:16.532||+1.586s||16||G1|
|17th||19||Felipe Massa||ROKiT Venturi Racing||1:16.583||+1.637s||17||G3|
|18th||6||Brendon Hartley||GEOX Dragon||1:17.074||+2.128s||18||G4|
|19th||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||1:17.213||+2.267s||19||G1|
|20th||18||Neel Jani||Porsche Formula E Team||1:17.745||+2.799s||20||G4|
|21st||13||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||1:18.613||+3.667s||21||G1|
|22nd||33||Ma Qing Hua||NIO 333 FE Team||1:21.701||+6.755s||22||G4|
|110% Time: 1:22.440|
|NC*||7||Nico Müller||GEOX Dragon||1:23.017||+8.071s||23||G4|
|NC*||51||James Calado||Jaguar Racing||1:23.792||+8.846s||24||G4|
- * Müller and Calado failed to set a time within 110% of the fastest in the group stage, but were allowed to start at the stewards' discretion.
It was a relatively calm afternoon in Diriyah ahead of the opening race of the season, with the air temperature hovering around 19°C, while the track sat at a constant 27°C. Ahead of the race there was news that James Calado and Nico Müller would be allowed to start after failing to set competitive laps in qualifying, although the latter would not appear on the dummy grid as work continued on his GEOX Dragon after his quali-accident. Indeed, as the field pulled away to line-up on the full grid to take the start, it seemed as if Müller would miss his debut race entirely.
For the rest of the field there would be no issues at the start, with pole sitter Alexander Sims pulling away smartly on the clean side of the grid to claim an early lead. Indeed, the Brit would make a half-hearted moved to block Stoffel Vandoorne on the inside but dirty line into the turn eighteen/nineteen chicane, although the Belgian was in no position to challenge. Behind, it was a surprisingly clean start for the rest of the field, with only minor rubbing in the midfield as the drivers poured through the first few corners.
More shockingly, the start would evolve into a very calm opening lap, with Sims and Vandoorne leading Nyck de Vries, while the result of the field sorted itself out into a line. Indeed, it was only as the field came through the turn 18/19 chicane a second time during the opening lap that there was any threat of action, with Sam Bird trying to find a way past Edoardo Mortara for fourth. The Brit would get alongside out of turn nineteen only for the Swiss racer to come back through turn twenty, as behind Jérôme d'Ambrosio fended off the attentions of André Lotterer.
The Mortara/Bird fight would rumble on throughout the early stages, allowing Sims, Vandoorne and de Vries to establish a two second lead. Bird's best early chance came when he gambled on an outside lunge on the ROKiT Venturi around the outside of turn eighteen, only for Mortara to run him out wide on the exit. Further back, meanwhile, Sébastien Buemi was in trouble, coming to a stop at turn thirteen with an issue, causing a brief yellow flag.
Fortunately Buemi would get enough drive to drag his Nissan e.Dams back to the pits without outside intervention, although it was clear that he was to join Müller on the sidelines. Elsewhere, Oliver Turvey was already falling down the field after his surprise run in qualifying, falling to Jean-Éric Vergne and Robin Frijns, while Mortara suddenly found some pace and dragged himself and Bird back to the leaders. Oliver Rowland, meanwhile, would be the first driver to activate Attack Mode while running in eighth, rejoining without dropping behind Maximilian Günther, but at the cost of 1.3 seconds.
Rowland soon proved that the increase in Attack Mode's power for the 2019/20 season was very effective, for he soon rallied from his loss of time to pass Lotterer, albeit aided by the fact that the German racer armed Attack Mode himself. Bird, meanwhile, would arm Attack Mode a lap later, dropping behind d'Ambrosio, while Mortara attacked de Vries. Indeed, Bird would actually gain time in comparison to Mortara, as the Swiss ace launched an unsuccessful lunge at de Vries around the outside of turn eighteen and ended up running wide.
Bird duly powered back past d'Ambrosio on the following lap, a move which ended with Bird almost throwing a lunge inside of Mortara at turn eighteen. Yet, Bird would wait for a better chance on the following tour, and duly dived inside Mortara as Vandoorne and de Vries armed Attack Mode. They quickly recovered lost time to get back on terms with Sims, with the race leader just managing to arm his Attack Mode boost before he dropped behind the duo.
Sims attempted to break clear with his Attack Mode, briefly holding fastest lap before the two Mercedes and Bird drew him back in. Behind, Mortara's dwindling podium hopes were effectively ended when Lotterer went storming past, before losing another position to Günther when he armed Attack Mode. Lotterer, meanwhile, would manage to get his Porsche onto the back of Bird, making it five for the lead with around fifteen minutes left to run.
Bird was the first to make a move in the quintet, arming Attack Mode for a second time before selling de Vries a dummy into the turn eighteen/nineteen chicane to grab third around the outside of the Dutchman. He then began harassing Vandoorne, and on the very next lap baited Vandoorne into breaking late in the turn eighteen/nineteen chicane, resulting in the Mercedes sliding into the back of Sims. Sims was sent sliding wide with Vandoorne getting ahead, while Bird was almost able to take both, but had to settle in behind the Belgian in second.
Behind, Sims was left a frustrated third, while Lotterer and d'Ambrosio shuffled de Vries further down the order as the Dutchman's inexperience began to tell. Lotterer's #36 Porsche then moved into third when Sims armed Attack Mode, before latching onto the back of the lead fight as Vandoorne lapped Ma Qing Hua. Bird used the distraction of Ma to get a run on Vandoorne into turn eighteen/nineteen, and duly dived inside the Mercedes to claim the race lead.
With that Bird was away, leaving Vandoorne to fend off the attentions of Lotterer, before taking his second and final Attack Mode to drop behind the Porsche. Yet, just as he did so the BMW Qualcomm i8 Safety Car was called out of the pits, due to an accident for Daniel Abt at turn six. Indeed, the German racer had lost control at turn four after contact and got his front wing stuck under the front of his car, and was hence powerless to prevent his car slamming into the barriers at turn five.
Abt's ruined Audi would require a few minutes to clean-up, leaving a minute and a half on the clock and a 4 kW/h energy reduction for the field. The restart itself would see Bird ease away at the head of the pack, while Lotterer almost gifted Vandoorne second after making a mess of the turn eighteen/nineteen chicane. The rest of the field would restart the race without issue, with Bird on his own at the head of the pack.
With that the race was effectively over, with Bird cruising through the final two laps to run the clock down and claim an impressive victory. Lotterer and Vandoorne were next and nose-to-tail, handing Porsche and Mercedes debut podium finishes, much to the delight of both. Behind them came Rowland, having dived past Sims shortly before the SC, with the Brit later getting dive-bombed at the chicane by de Vries and Frijns on the penultimate lap.
The final classification of the 2019 Diriyah E-Prix I is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.
|2019 Diriyah E-Prix I Race Result|
|Pos.||No.||Name||Team||Laps||Race Time||Fastest lap||Pts.|
|1st||2||Sam Bird||Envision Virgin Racing||34||46:17.371||1:14.119||26|
|2nd||36||André Lotterer||Porsche Formula E Team||34||+1.319s||1:14.344||18|
|4th||22||Oliver Rowland||Nissan e.Dams||34||+1.944s||1:14.403||12|
|5th||4||Robin Frijns||Envision Virgin Racing||34||+3.983s||1:14.274||10|
|6th||17||Nyck de Vries||Mercedes||34||+4.560s||1:14.360||8|
|7th||48||Edoardo Mortara||ROKiT Venturi Racing||34||+5.122s||1:14.717||6|
|8th||27||Alexander Sims||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||34||+5.715s||1:14.331||7|
|9th||64||Jérôme d'Ambrosio||Mahindra Racing||34||+6.628s||1:15.045||2|
|10th||20||Mitch Evans||Jaguar Racing||34||+7.048s||1:13.947||2|
|11th||94||Pascal Wehrlein||Mahindra Racing||34||+7.460s||1:14.511|
|12th||19||Felipe Massa||ROKiT Venturi Racing||34||+8.166s||1:14.271|
|13th||11||Lucas di Grassi||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||34||+8.404s||1:14.253|
|14th||13||António Félix da Costa||DS Techeetah||34||+8.853s||1:13.998|
|15th||3||Oliver Turvey||NIO 333 FE Team||34||+10.172s||1:15.053|
|16th||51||James Calado||Jaguar Racing||34||+11.572s||1:15.620|
|17th||18||Neel Jani||Porsche Formula E Team||34||+15.429s||1:15.447|
|18th||28||Maximilian Günther||BMW i Andretti Motorsport||34||+25.662s||1:14.666|
|19th||6||Brendon Hartley||GEOX Dragon||34||+42.219s||1:15.984|
|20th*||33||Ma Qing Hua||NIO 333 FE Team||33||+1 Lap||1:16.620|
|Ret||66||Daniel Abt||Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler||29||Collision||1:13.742|
|Ret||25||Jean-Éric Vergne||DS Techeetah||21||Steering||1:14.992|
|Ret||23||Sébastien Buemi||Nissan e.Dams||3||Retired||1:24.411|
|DNS†||7||Nico Müller||GEOX Dragon|
- Indicates a driver was awarded FanBoost during the race.
- * Ma had a drive through penalty converted to a 24 second time penalty.
- † Müller was unable to start the race due to accident damage.
- Tenth race for Maximilian Günther.
- Debut E-Prix for Porsche and Mercedes-Benz as manufacturers.
- James Calado, Nyck de Vries, and Brendon Hartley made their debuts.
- Maiden entry for Nico Müller.
- Sam Bird claimed his ninth career victory.
- Envision Virgin secured their eleventh win as an entrant.
- Tenth win for Audi Sport as a powertrain supplier.
- Fifth career podium finish for André Lotterer.
- Maiden podium finishes for the Porsche Formula E Team.
- Also the first podium for a Porsche powertrain.
- Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team secured their first podium finish.
- Maiden podium finish for Mercedes as a powertrain supplier.
- de Vries scored his first points finish.
Victory for Sam Bird, combined with an additional point for setting the fastest lap in the group stage of qualifying, meant that the British racer led the Championship after the opening round with 26 points. He hence held an eight point advantage over André Lotterer, while Stoffel Vandoorne completed the early top three. Behind, Oliver Rowland and Robin Frijns completed the top five ahead of Nyck de Vries, the only of the rookies to claim debut points, with ten drivers on the score sheet.
In the Teams Championship it was Envision Virgin Racing whom led the charge after the opening round, a double score leaving them with 36 points. Mercedes were next, sitting on 23 points, with a five point advantage over third placed Porsche. Nissan e.Dams and BMW-Andretti then completed the top five, with eight of the twelve teams scoring at the opening race.
Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.
Videos and Images:
- 'THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BMW iFE.20.', bmw-motorsport.com, (BMW AG, 2019), https://www.bmw-motorsport.com/en/topics/fascination-i/fia-formula-e/bmw-ife20.html, (Accessed 01/11/2019)
- '2019/20 calendar revealed: London and Seoul star in sixth Formula E campaign', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 14/06/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/june/2019-20-season-calendar-revealed, (Accessed 14/06/2019)
- 'Merecedes-Benz EQ reveal the Silver Arrow 01, Vandroorne & de Vries complete line up', fiaformuale.com, (FIA Formula E, 11/09/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/september/mercedes-2019-200challenger-revealed, (Accessed 11/09/2019)
- 'Diriyah e Prix - Official Entry List', fiaformulae.alkamelsystems.com, (FIA Formula E, 21/11/2019), http://fiaformulae.alkamelsystems.com/Results/05_2019-20/01_R01%20Diriyah/Event%20Information/Entry%20list.pdf, (Accessed 21/11/2019)
- 'Sims scoops Julius Baer Pole Position in Saudi season opener, Mercedes up front ', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 22/11/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/november/qualifying-diriyah-2019, (Accessed 22/11/2019)
- 'Audi-powered Bird clinches first win in Saudi, leading Porsche and Mercedes', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 22/11/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/november/race-report-diriyah-2019, (Accessed 22/11/2019)
- Sam Smith, 'FORMULA E: Ad Diriyah Track Mods Implemented', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 14/11/2019), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/ad-diriyah-track-mods-implemented/, (Accessed 14/11/2019)
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- Sam Smith, 'FORMULA E: Greater Variety for Attack Mode Possible This Season', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 13/11/2019), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/greater-variety-for-attack-mode-possible-this-season/, (Accessed 14/11/2019)
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- 'Lotterer leaves DS Techeetah to complete Porsche driver line up', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 17/07/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/july/lotterer-moves-to-porsche, (Accessed 17/07/2019)
- Alex Kalinauckas, 'Venturi switches to Mercedes powertrain, retains drivers', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 03/10/2019), https://www.motorsport.com/formula-e/news/venturi-mercedes-powertrain-massa-mortara/4552030/, (Accessed 03/10/2019)
- Sam Smith, 'Wolff Confirms Unchanged Venturi Lineup for 2019-20', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 14/05/2019), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/wolff-confirms-unchanged-venturi-lineup-for-2019-20/, (Accessed 19/05/2019)
- Alex Kalinauckas, 'Audi retains Abt for 2019/20 Formula E season', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 11/07/2019), https://www.motorsport.com/formula-e/news/di-grassi-abt-retained-audi/4492198/, (Accessed 11/07/2019)
- Jake Kilshaw, 'FORMULA E:Envision Virgin Unveils Updated Livery for 2019-20', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 11/10/2019), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/envision-virgin-unveils-updated-livery-for-2019-20/, (Accessed 11/10/2019)
- 'Nico Muller completes Geox Dragon driver line up', fiaformulae.com, (Accessed FIA Formula E, 17/09/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/september/muller-completes-dragon-line-up, (Accessed 18/09/2019)
- 'Sims to remain with BMW i Andretti Motorsport for 2019/20 campaign', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 09/10/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/october/sims-to-race-for-bmw-in-2019-20-season, (Accessed 09/10/2019)
- 'BREAKING: Guenther secures BMW drive while Da Costa parts ways', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 09/09/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/september/guenther-joins-bmw-as-da-costa-parts-ways, (Accessed 09/09/2019)
- Sam Smith, 'Twin-MGU Designs Set to Be Outlawed', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media LLC., 14/06/2019), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/twin-mgu-designs-set-to-be-outlawed/, (Accessed 14/06/2019)
- Alex Kalinauckas, 'Driot's sons to lead Nissan Formula E team', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 09/10/2019), https://www.motorsport.com/formula-e/news/driot-sons-nissan-team-principals/4555005/, (Accessed 14/10/2019)
- 'Nissan e.dams retain Buemi and Rowland for 2019/20', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 05/09/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/september/nissan-retain-buemi-rowland, (Accessed 05/09/2019)
- Alex Kalinauckas, 'Da Costa to partner Vergne at DS Techeetah', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 17/09/2019), https://www.motorsport.com/formula-e/news/da-costa-techeetah-vergne-2020/4542866/, (Accessed 17/09/2019)
- Alex Kalinauckas, 'Jaguar retains Evans for 2019/20 Formula E season', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 26/09/2019), https://www.motorsport.com/formula-e/news/mitch-evans-jagaur-retained-2020/4547885/, (Accessed 26/09/2019)
- 'James Calado completes Jaguar line up, ‘lighter’ 2019/20 challenger revealed ', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 02/10/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/october/james-calado-signs-to-jaguar, (Accessed 02/10/2019)
- Jake Kilshaw, 'Mahindra Confirms ZF Deal; Unchanged Driver Lineup', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 04/10/2019), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/mahindra-confirms-zf-deal-unchanged-driver-lineup/, (Accessed 04/10/2019)
- Sam Smith, 'FORMULA E: GEOX Dragon Signs Hartley for 2019-20', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 08/08/2019), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/geox-dragon-signs-hartley-for-2019-20/, (Accessed 08/08/2019)
- Jake Kilshaw, 'ETCR: Ford Maintains OEM Powertrain Target; Rules Out World RX, ETCR', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 09/10/2019), https://e-racing365.com/e-tcr/ford-maintains-oem-powertrain-plan-rules-out-world-rx-etcr/, (Accessed 14/10/2019)
- Sam Smith, 'REVEALED: NIO Shake-Up Hastens New Team Structure', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 29/07/2019), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/revealed-nio-shake-up-hastens-new-team-structure/, (Accessed 06/09/2019)
- Sam Smith, 'Ma to Make Formula E Return with NIO 333', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 10/10/2019), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/ma-to-make-formula-e-return/, (Accessed 10/10/2019)
- '2019 SAUDIA Diriyah E-Prix | Friday Qualifying LIVE | ABB FIA Formula E Championship', youtube.com, (YouTube: FIA Formula E, 22/11/2019), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuomVEsWlso, (Accessed 24/11/2019)
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