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Flag of Saudi Arabia.png 2021 Diriyah E-Prix I
Ad Diriyah Layout 2019.png
The Diriyah E-Prix Circuit returned in 2021.
Race Information
Date 26 February 2021
E-Prix No. 70
Official Name 2021 SAUDIA Diriyah E-Prix I
Location Flag of Riyadh.png Ad Diriyah Street Circuit
Diriyah, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Format 45 min + 1 Lap
Lap length 2.495 km (1.550 mi)
Distance 32 laps / 79.840 km (49.610 mi)
Support Race
Qualifying Result
Pole Sitter Dutch Flag.png Nyck de Vries
Team Flag of Germany.png Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team
Time 1:08.157
Fastest Lap
Driver Flag of Germany.png René Rast
Team Flag of Germany.png Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Fastest Lap 1:09.655 on lap 16
ePrix Result
First Second Third
Dutch Flag.png Nyck de Vries Flag of Switzerland.png Edoardo Mortara Flag of New Zealand.png Mitch Evans
Winner Team Flag of Germany.png Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team
Time 46:44.765
ePrix Guide
Previous Next
Flag of Germany.png 2020 Berlin E-Prix VI Flag of Saudi Arabia.png 2021 Diriyah E-Prix II
Post-Race Test

The 2021 Diriyah E-Prix I, otherwise known as the 2021 SAUDIA Diriyah E-Prix I was the opening round of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, staged at the Ad Diriyah Street Circuit in Diriyah, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 26 February 2021.[1] The race would be the first ever E-Prix to be classed as a World Championship round, as well as the first night race to be staged as part of the FE Championship.[2]

It proved to be a busy autumn/winter break for FE in late 2020, with two manufacturers in the form of Audi and BMW both announcing they would leave the series at the end of the 2020/21 season.[3] While the closing of those manufacturer programmes was seen as a major blow to the series, there were several declarations of interest from other manufacturers, including Renault's sporting brand Alpine, as well as British racing specialists McLaren.[4]

Into the opening round itself and qualifying would be dominated by Nyck de Vries, with the Dutchman claiming the fastest times in both the group stage and Super Pole to claim pole by .[5] He would share the front row with Porsche's new driver Pascal Wehrlein, while defending Champion António Félix da Costa would start down in eighteenth.[5]

When night fell the field assembled on the grid for the start, with de Vries duly acing his getaway to storm into the lead unopposed when the starting lights went out.[6] Behind, Wehrlein just kept René Rast at bay to hold second, with the rest of the field getting away in grid order bar a move by Mitch Evans on Alex Lynn for fifth.[6]

de Vries quickly established a small lead, although Wehrlein and Rast would steadily reel the Dutchman back in as the early laps developed.[6] Behind, Edoardo Mortara would appear to lack the pace of the three factory cars out-front, with the Venturi run Mercedes instead finding a queue of cars behind it that included everyone between fourth and eleventh.[6]

Out front the battle for the lead soon faded as de Vries again easing clear, with Rast instead passing Wehrlein for second prompting the Porsche pilot to instantly dive across to enable Attack Mode.[6] However, it was Rast who would have the best pace mid-race, steadily reeling in de Vries in-spite of the fact that de Vries was also in Attack Mode at the time.[6]

Wehrlein, meanwhile, would steadily slip back, falling to Mortara and Evans in stunning fashion as Mortara carved his way past both into turn eighteen.[6] However, a few moments later the race would be neutralised behind the Safety Car with twenty minutes to go, as Alex Lynn put Sam Bird into the wall, causing terminal damage to both cars.[6]

The race resumed with fifteen minutes left, with de Vries again blasting away at the restart to build enough of a margin to enable him to arm Attack Mode again.[6] However, the race barely settled before being brought under the SC's reign again, with Maximilian Günther hitting the wall hard at turn three, albeit not before Mortara had sneaked into second after Rast armed Attack Mode.[6]

With five minutes to go the race restarted for a second time, with de Vries once again darting away out front to build a lead.[6] Mortara, meanwhile, would have his mirrors filled with first Rast and then Evans, with the battle for second lasting through to the final lap with Rast holding a significant energy margin on the final tour.[6]

That, however, would be academic to the outcome of the race, for de Vries would establish a healthy four second lead in the closing minutes to claim a comfortable maiden victory, and the second in a row for Mercedes.[6] Mortara claimed second ahead of Evans, who just had enough to keep Rast at bay, while Wehrlein held fifth ahead of Oliver Rowland, Alexander Sims and Stoffel Vandoorne.[6] Lucas di Grassi, meanwhile, would climb up from the back of the midfield to secure ninth, while the final point went to Oliver Turvey, with him and NIO claiming their first point in over two years.[6]

Background

The confusion surrounding the on-going Covid-19 Pandemic would bleed into the seventh edition of the FIA Formula E Championship, resulting in the entire campaign being staged in 2021.[1] The season was originally set to start in Santiago, although after issues with the virus in the Chilean city, the start of the 2020/21 campaign was pushed back to the 25 February and the Diriyah E-Prix, which was already set to be a double-header.[1][7] The Diriyah E-Prix itself would be largely unchanged, with the Ad Diriyah Street Circuit unchanged from its double-header in 2019, although there would be a new gimmick for the series at the opening round.[1]

A Night Attack

Ahead of the original calendar announcement for the 2020/21 season it was announced by the organisers of the Diriyah E-Prix that the 2020/21 edition of the race would be staged at dusk, with the circuit being floodlit for the event.[2] This would be achieved by two loops of lights powered by vegetable oil, which was declared to be low-carbon and renewable by the organisers, in order to conform to FE's green identity.[2] The first light loop would feature low power-consumption LEDs to light the circuit itself, while more conventional floodlights would light the paddock, pits and area around the circuit.[2]

World of Adventure

Elsewhere, Formula E Holdings negotiated with the FIA to grant the Formula E Championship FIA World Championship status for the 2020/21 season, which was duly announced on 3 December 2019.[8] The new status meant that FE was deemed to be on level terms with Formula One and the World Endurance Championship by the FIA, with E-Prix becoming World Championship events.[8]

Entry List

The full entry list for the 2021 Diriyah E-Prix I is displayed below:

2021 Diriyah E-Prix I Entry List
No. Name Entrant Constructor Car
4 Dutch Flag.png Robin Frijns Flag of the United Kingdom.png Envision Virgin Racing Audi e-tron FE07
5 Flag of Belgium.png Stoffel Vandoorne Flag of Germany.png Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 02
6 Flag of Switzerland.png Nico Müller Flag of the United States.png Dragon/Penske Autosport Penske EV-4
7 Flag of Brazil.png Sérgio Sette Câmara Flag of the United States.png Dragon/Penske Autosport Penske EV-4
8 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Oliver Turvey Flag of China.png NIO 333 FE Team NIO 333 FE 001
10 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Sam Bird Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jaguar Racing Jaguar I-Type V
11 Flag of Brazil.png Lucas di Grassi Flag of Germany.png Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Audi e-tron FE07
13 Flag of Portugal.png António Félix da Costa Flag of China.png DS Techeetah DS E-Tense FE 20
17 Dutch Flag.png Nyck de Vries Flag of Germany.png Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 02
20 Flag of New Zealand.png Mitch Evans Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jaguar Racing Jaguar I-Type V
22 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Oliver Rowland Flag of France.png Nissan e.Dams Nissan IM02
23 Flag of Switzerland.png Sébastien Buemi Flag of France.png Nissan e.Dams Nissan IM02
25 Flag of France.png Jean-Éric Vergne Flag of China.png DS Techeetah DS E-Tense FE 20
27 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jake Dennis Flag of the United States.png BMW i Andretti Motorsport BMW iFE.21
28 Flag of Germany.png Maximilian Günther Flag of the United States.png BMW i Andretti Motorsport BMW iFE.21
29 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Alexander Sims Flag of India.png Mahindra Racing Mahindra M7Electro
33 Flag of Germany.png René Rast Flag of Germany.png Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler Audi e-tron FE07
36 Flag of Germany.png André Lotterer Flag of Germany.png TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric
37 Flag of New Zealand.png Nick Cassidy Flag of the United Kingdom.png Envision Virgin Racing Audi e-tron FE07
48 Flag of Switzerland.png Edoardo Mortara Flag of Monaco.png ROKiT Venturi Racing Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 02
71 Flag of France.png Norman Nato Flag of Monaco.png ROKiT Venturi Racing Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow 02
88 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Tom Blomqvist Flag of China.png NIO 333 FE Team NIO 333 FE 001
94 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Alex Lynn Flag of India.png Mahindra Racing Mahindra M7Electro
99 Flag of Germany.png Pascal Wehrlein Flag of Germany.png TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team Porsche 99X Electric
Source:[9]

Practice

FP1

FP2

Qualifying

Qualifying for the 2021 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.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5]

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.[5]

Group 1

Group one would feature the drivers who finished in the top six of the 2019/20 championship, and was hence headlined by defending Champion António Félix da Costa.[10] The Portuguese racer would be joined by DS Techeetah teammate Jean-Éric Vergne, while the two Nissan e.Dams entries of Sébastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland would also be in action.[10] Lucas di Grassi would also appear on behalf of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, while Stoffel Vandoorne completed the full factory line-up for Mercedes.[10]

Vandoorne was the first driver of the opening sextet to venture onto the circuit, in-spite of the fact that a lot of pre-qualifying discussion had revolved around the dust and sand being blown onto the track.[11] He was swiftly followed by di Grassi, who tucked right under the #5 Mercedes' rear wing, while Buemi, Vergne, Rowland and da Costa left together a few moments later.[11] Those four would go on to trip over each other during their warm-up laps, with da Costa passing Rowland while the Brit just managed to cross the line to start his full power lap before the chequered flag was thrown.[11]

As a result of leaving first it was Vandoorne who set the first flying lap, although a scruffy run through turns six and seven cost him time, although di Grassi was unable to beat his effort.[11] Buemi was next but a relatively quiet effort saw him slot into third, while Vergne's promising lap was thrown away when he went deep into turn eighteen, leaving him in fourth.[11] da Costa was next and brushed the wall at turn seventeen, leaving him in fourth, before all of them were blown out of the water by Rowland as the Brit aced his lap to go fastest with a 1:09.362, seven tenths faster then Vandoorne.[11]

Group 2

The second group of the session featured those drivers who finished 2019/20 in seventh through twelfth in the Championship, in-spite of one of the occupants having switched teams during the off-season.[10] Indeed, Jaguar Racing's new signing Sam Bird would join teammate Mitch Evans on track in the second group, while his former teammate Robin Frijns would also be in action for Envision Virgin.[10] Elsewhere, Nyck de Vries would pilot the second Mercedes after dominating both practice sessions earlier in the meeting, with Maximilian Günther and André Lotterer rounding out the group.[10]

de Vries followed his teammate's decision from group one and would leave the pitlane first, with Lotterer deciding to join the Dutchman on circuit as the session started.[11] They were followed by Günther, Evans and Bird, with the latter three going nose-to-tail through both their out and warm-up laps.[11] Frijns, meanwhile, would be left in the pitlane and unable to take part, with Virgin instructed to change his battery at the behest of McLaren Applied Technologies after his accident in practice.[11]

The decision to go out first proved to be an incredible call for de Vries, with the Dutchman flying through the first and second sectors to go fastest overall by seven tenths from Rowland.[11] Lotterer would follow him across the line and go second, highlighting how track evolution was to influence the session, while Günther slithered in third a few moments later.[11] Evans was next across the line and claimed second from Lotterer, while Bird made a mistake at the chicane and hence slotted into fourth, frustrated at himself for such a mistake.[11]

Group 3

The third sextet of the afternoon was to feature those drivers who finished thirteenth through eighteenth in the previous edition of FE, although due to changes to the entry list during the off-season there would be a mix of drivers.[10] Headlining the group would be Edoardo Mortara in the first of the Venturi run Mercedes, with René Rast piloting the second of the factory Audis.[10] They would be joined on track by the two Mahindras of Alexander Sims and Alex Lynn, Pascal Wehrlein in his new Porsche, and Oliver Turvey in a revitalised NIO.[10]

Turvey led the third group out onto the circuit with three minutes to go, with Sims following him out and duly overtaking him on their out laps.[11] Mortara, Lynn and Rast would then leave as one a few moments later, while Wehrlein gambled on completing just a full power lap, and hence remained in the pitlane.[11] Indeed, the German youth would duly slip out of the pits between Turvey and Mortara on track, and would therefore be the third driver in group three to record a time.[11]

Sims was first across the line, however, and a clean but unspectacular lap would leave him seventh overall, with an effort that Turvey almost matched in the NIO.[11] Wehrlein was next and would ace the second and third sectors to go second fastest, before Mortara powered across the line to claim second for himself, just 0.012s behind de Vries after setting a new benchmark in the third sector.[11] Lynn trailed him across the line but could only secure fourth, with Rast duly displacing the Brit a couple of seconds later with a strong final sector of his own.[11]

Group 4

Group four would feature a mix of drivers from the bottom end of the 2019/20 season, as well as the three rookies for the 2020/21 campaign.[10] Both Dragon/Penske entries of Nico Müller and Sérgio Sette Câmara would be in action, as would the returning Tom Blomqvist after his winter move to NIO from being a reserve driver.[10] They would be joined by Jake Dennis in the #27 BMW Andretti, Nick Cassidy in the second Virgin Audi and Norman Nato in the fourth and final Mercedes powered car run by Venturi.[10]

Nato opted to go out first from the fourth group, although he was soon joined by Sette Câmara, Cassidy, Blomqvist, Dennis and Müller, with the latter quartet leaving in one big group.[11] Indeed, so bunched were they that Dennis decided to make a double move on Cassidy and Blomqvist towards the end of his out-lap in a bid to claim some space, while Müller backed off from the back of them over the course of their warm-up laps.[11] Ahead, meanwhile, Nato would wind up to record his first qualifying lap in FE, although his attack approach to the first sector ensured that he would only claim twelfth come the end of his lap.[11]

Sette Câmara should have followed the Frenchman across the line, but a brush against the wall somewhere around the lap caused a wheel sensor to fail on the #7 Dragon, and hence led the Brazilian going straight on at the final corner.[11] Dennis was immediately behind him and was a non-factor, claiming fourteenth, before Cassidy, Blomqvist and Müller came storming onto the scene on their own full power laps.[11] They duly claimed seventh, sixth and fifth respectively with their efforts, although they were all instantly placed under investigation for speeding under yellow flags due to Sette Câmara's incident.[11] Müller in particular was perceived to be guilty, having set the fastest third sector of the session as he claimed a provisional fifth and a spot in Super Pole.[11]

After a brief investigation Cassidy, Blomqvist and Müller would all have their flying laps deleted, relegating them to the back of the field, causing a minor outcry about the rules regarding yellow flags in qualifying.[12] With that Lynn and Evans were promoted back into the Super Pole session, with those two subsequently going on to be the first drivers out in the shootout.[11]

Super Pole

After the late decision to strike the laps of Müller and co. it was Evans who was to go first in Super Pole, a fact which would somewhat catch the Jaguar squad out after they had considered themselves out of qualifying.[11] Regardless, the British squad would get the New Zealander's car out onto the circuit on-time to set a lap, although a smack against the wall exiting turn seventeen saw Evans throw away his bid for pole.[11] Indeed, Lynn would be unable to match Evans' pace in the first and second sectors, a particularly scruffy run through turns three through to seven the cause, but the Brit would still emerge ahead courtesy of Evans' awful third sector effort.[11]

Next out was Rast who would open his lap with a slide through turns three and four, as well as a sizeable twitch through turn six that would ultimately lead to the German racer brushing the wall at turn ten.[11] That seemed to only spur Rast on however, for the DTM veteran would produce a far cleaner second part of the lap to go fastest overall, half a second clear of Lynn in-spite of a personal complaint about his brakes.[11] Wehrlein would then follow Rast out of the pits, and would produce a similarly scruffy and then sublime lap to go faster then his compatriot, surviving his own glancing blow at turn fourteen to record a 1:08.821.[11]

Mortara ventured out for Venturi after Wehrlein blasted across the line, although his aggressive entry into the first few corners caused the #48 Venturi to lose a lot of time in the first sector, which he failed to recover over the rest of the lap, leaving him in third.[11] With that it was de Vries' turn to enter Super Pole, and the Dutchman would go on to ace the first sector, beating Wehrlein by a quarter of a second.[11] A near-perfect second sector put de Vries four tenths up on the German youth, before a clean run through the final sector, including the barest twitch on the brakes for the chicane, left de Vries on pole position with a new benchmark of 1:08.157.[11]

Post Qualifying

The final qualifying result for the 2021 Diriyah E-Prix I are outlined below:

2021 Diriyah E-Prix I Qualifying Result
Pos. No. Name Team Time Gap Grid Group
1st 17 Dutch Flag.png Nyck de Vries Flag of Germany.png Mercedes 1:08.157 1 G2
2nd 99 Flag of Germany.png Pascal Wehrlein Flag of Germany.png Porsche Formula E Team 1:08.821 +0.664s 2 G3
3rd 33 Flag of Germany.png René Rast Flag of Germany.png Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:08.869 +0.712s 3 G3
4th 48 Flag of Switzerland.png Edoardo Mortara Flag of Monaco.png ROKiT Venturi Racing 1:09.317 +1.160s 4 G3
5th 94 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Alex Lynn Flag of India.png Mahindra Racing 1:09.345 +1.188s 5 G3
6th 20 Flag of New Zealand.png Mitch Evans Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jaguar Racing 1:09.706 +1.549s 6 G2
Super Pole
1st 17 Dutch Flag.png Nyck de Vries Flag of Germany.png Mercedes 1:08.786 SP G2
2nd 48 Flag of Switzerland.png Edoardo Mortara Flag of Monaco.png ROKiT Venturi Racing 1:08.798 +0.012s SP G3
3rd 99 Flag of Germany.png Pascal Wehrlein Flag of Germany.png Porsche Formula E Team 1:08.885 +0.099s SP G3
4th 33 Flag of Germany.png René Rast Flag of Germany.png Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:08.959 +0.173s SP G3
5th 94 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Alex Lynn Flag of India.png Mahindra Racing 1:09.133 +0.347s SP G3
6th 20 Flag of New Zealand.png Mitch Evans Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jaguar Racing 1:09.152 +0.366s SP G2
7th 36 Flag of Germany.png André Lotterer Flag of Germany.png Porsche Formula E Team 1:09.157 +0.371s 7 G2
8th 10 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Sam Bird Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jaguar Racing 1:09.265 +0.479s 8 G2
9th 28 Flag of Germany.png Maximilian Günther Flag of the United States.png BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:09.277 +0.491s 9 G2
10th 22 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Oliver Rowland Flag of France.png Nissan e.Dams 1:09.362 +0.576s 10 G1
11th 29 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Alexander Sims Flag of India.png Mahindra Racing 1:09.559 +0.773s 11 G3
12th 71 Flag of France.png Norman Nato Flag of Monaco.png ROKiT Venturi Racing 1:09.628 +0.842s 12 G4
13th 8 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Oliver Turvey Flag of China.png NIO 333 FE Team 1:09.631 +0.845s 13 G3
14th 27 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jake Dennis Flag of the United States.png BMW i Andretti Motorsport 1:09.723 +0.937s 14 G4
15th 5 Flag of Belgium.png Stoffel Vandoorne Flag of Germany.png Mercedes 1:10.128 +1.342s 15 G1
16th 11 Flag of Brazil.png Lucas di Grassi Flag of Germany.png Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 1:10.474 +1.688s 16 G1
17th 23 Flag of Switzerland.png Sébastien Buemi Flag of France.png Nissan e.Dams 1:10.594 +1.808s 17 G1
18th 13 Flag of Portugal.png António Félix da Costa Flag of China.png DS Techeetah 1:10.735 +1.949s 18 G1
19th 25 Flag of France.png Jean-Éric Vergne Flag of China.png DS Techeetah 1:10.804 +2.018s 19 G1
110% Time: 1:15.664[13]
NC* 7 Flag of Brazil.png Sérgio Sette Câmara Flag of the United States.png Dragon/Penske Autosport 1:21.455 +12.659s 20 G4
NC* 37 Flag of New Zealand.png Nick Cassidy Flag of the United Kingdom.png Envision Virgin Racing 1:22.020 +13.234s 21 G4
NC* 88 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Tom Blomqvist Flag of China.png NIO 333 FE Team 1:23.165 +14.379s 22 G4
NC* 6 Flag of Switzerland.png Nico Müller Flag of the United States.png Dragon/Penske Autosport 1:24.955 +16.169s PL G4
NCƒ 4 Dutch Flag.png Robin Frijns Flag of the United Kingdom.png Envision Virgin Racing 24 G2
Source:[14][15]
  • * Câmara, Cassidy, Blomqvist and Müller failed to set times within 110% of the fastest lap in the group stage, but were allowed to start the race at the stewards' discretion.[5]
  • Cassidy, Blomqvist and Müller had their fastest times deleted after they were set while a yellow flag was deployed.[12][16][17]
  • Müller would start the race from the pitlane due to a battery issue.[6]
  • ƒ Frijns failed to set a time in qualifying due to a battery change, but was allowed to start at the stewards' discretion.[5]

Race

Night would fall over the UNESCO World Heritage site of Diriyah before the Formula E field assembled on the dummy grid ahead of the start, with temperatures also falling below 19°C as the sun disappeared.[18] The lack of natural light hence saw the circuit bathed in the low-energy but amply powerful LED lights that surrounded the circuit, although the organisers caused a stir by programming the lights to briefly flash off every minute before the start, without informing teams and drivers that they would do so.[18] The light show would then continue as the drivers prepared to head to the proper grid for the start, with the top ten lit up one-by-one as the camera panned past each of them before they ventured onto the full grid.[18]

Report

After a fairly long hold on the main grid the race got underway, with pole sitter Nyck de Vries sprinting into a comfortable lead as Pascal Wehrlein was slow to react in second.[18] Yet, Wehrlein would have enough in hand to keep René Rast at bay, the inside line into the chicane a huge help in that endeavour, with the two going side-by-side before the #99 Porsche elbowed the #33 Audi out wide.[18] Behind it was an unerringly clean start by FE standards, with everyone making it through the first few corners without issue, and with no major changes to the order.[18]

Indeed, it would take until the field entered the official turn one for the first time for any changes of note came to the order, with Mitch Evans throwing the #20 Jaguar down the inside of Alex Lynn to claim fifth.[18] Behind, Sam Bird in the other Jaguar found himself fending off André Lotterer in the #36 Porsche to hold eighth as the field came through to the chicane for the second time.[18] Out front, meanwhile, de Vries would complete the opening tour with a handsome two second lead over Wehrlein in second, with the German youth himself holding a small lead over Rast in third.[18]

The early laps saw the order settle fairly quickly, with de Vries' lead slowly being eroded by Wehrlein and Rast, while Edoardo Mortara stalked the lead trio in fourth.[18] Behind, Bird lunged inside a sleeping Maximilian Günther to grab seventh, while Sérgio Sette Câmara was relegated to the back of the field after an infringement on the grid when cooling his battery.[18] Evans, meanwhile, would find himself defending from a resurgent Lynn into the chicane, before Attack Mode came into play with Nick Cassidy and Robin Frijns becoming the first drivers to activate the boost at the back of the field.[18]

Mortara's pace would waver as the race wore on, resulting in a queue of cars from fifth to eleventh running nose-to-tail behind the #48 ROKiT Venturi as the leaders escaped.[18] Indeed, the close pack racing allowed Bird to continue his climb up the field, relieving Lynn of sixth by forcing his way down the inside of the #94 Mahindra into turn eighteen/nineteen, with Lynn moving too late to the inside to resist.[18] Evans, meanwhile, would look for a way to pass Mortara without much success, with the Swiss racer ending lap eight some three seconds shy of Rast up ahead.[18]

Indeed, the gap between the leaders and fourth place would allow Rast to go on the attack, with the #33 Audi weaving around behind Wehrlein's Porsche, which was beginning to slip away from de Vries' Mercedes.[18] A first barrage came at turn one on lap ten, resulting in both sliding wide, before Rast again threw a lunge at Wehrlein around the outside of turn eighteen, which would hand him the inside for the second part of the chicane.[18] Wehrlein tried to hang on and force Rast wide but could not, with the extra momentum carrying the #33 Audi up into second as de Vries armed Attack Mode, having gained a fair margin due to the battle behind.[18]

Behind Attack Mode would come into play, with Evans managing to jump Mortara to claim fourth when the Swiss racer armed AM, before Mortara retaliated with the boost two laps later down the back straight, as Evans himself caught Wehrlein.[18] What followed was a sensational move by Mortara, with the Swiss racer easing past Evans down the straight, before lunging to the outside of Wehrlein as the trio hit the brakes for turn eighteen as the #99 Porsche moved to the inside.[18] Indeed, the #48 Venturi came within millimetres of punting the back of the Porsche as they braked for the chicane, with Mortara scrambling through in third, while Evans also darted past Wehrlein as the German youth battled a severely compromised line through the chicane.[18]

That move overshadowed the fact that Lynn had managed to get back ahead of Bird a few laps later, resulting in Bird attempting to retaliate on lap seventeen by selling a dummy to his compatriot into turn one.[18] Indeed, Bird would manage to trick Lynn into attempting to block a lunge around the outside of the left-hander, before smartly sweeping to the inside as the duo entered the braking zone for the corner.[18] Yet, Lynn would decide to move across again to block Bird, resulting in contact that took both drivers out of the race, leaving them nose-to-nose on the outside of the first corner with terminal damage.[18]

Their incident triggered a Safety Car, with a furious Bird limping back to the pits for a new nose, while Lynn, who was given a grid penalty for the 2021 Diriyah E-Prix II for causing the collision, stopping at turn two.[18] After a five minute intervention, resulting in a 5 kWh energy reduction, the race got back underway, with de Vries bolting in the braking zone for the chicane to build a stunning early lead.[18] Indeed, Rast was seemingly caught unawares by the Dutchman's break, with the #17 Mercedes ending the restart lap with an impressive two second advantage, enabling to arm AM for the second time a lap later without losing the lead.[18]

That proved to be a wise move, for a lap later the race was on the verge of being placed under a Safety Car again, this time for an accident at turn three.[18] The cause of the accident was Günther, who had clipped the apex wall at turn two, which sent him skating straight into inside wall at turn three, with enough force to physically shunt the concrete blocks a few feet back.[18] The end result was a heavily damaged BMW-Andretti stranded on the outside of turn four, prompting Rast and Evans to arm AM and hence allow Mortara to jump into second.[18]

Another five minute intervention and another 5 kWh reduction would follow, before de Vries again used the braking zone at turn eighteen to disguise his getaway, the #17 Mercedes once again disappearing into the distance at the restart.[18] Mortara, meanwhile, would establish a gap over Rast before arming AM on the following tour, resulting in the German racer moving back into second, while Evans followed the Swiss racer through the AM zone and hence retained fourth.[18] That setup an exciting fight for second in the closing minutes, with de Vries' lead growing to four seconds as Mortara and Evans lined up their attacks on the #33 Audi.[18]

Mortara moved first, simply easing past Rast down the back straight to claim second, with the experienced German racer opting not to defend what was an inevitable move with two minutes to go.[18] With that Mortara was away to chase de Vries, while Evans pulled onto the tail of the Audi with a minute left on his boost.[18] This time, however, Rast would attempt to block the move, although the extra 35 kW of power for Evans was enough to allow him to muscle the #20 Jaguar down the inside of the #33 Audi into turn eighteen to clinch third.[18] With that he too was off to hunt de Vries, although Rast remained on his tail with a 2% advantage in terms of energy as they entered the final lap.[18]

Indeed, Rast would use his energy advantage to the fullest, pulling right onto Evans' tail as they entered the downhill run from turn four through to turn fourteen, throwing a half-look at the Jaguar into the flick of turn fourteen to boot.[18] Yet, as they entered the back straight for the final time the #33 Audi looked too far back to throw a lunge at the #20 Jaguar, with Evans duly able to re-gen enough energy and resist Rast's lunge to the outside of the chicane.[18] That left the final corner as Rast's final chance to try and reclaim a spot on the podium, although Evans placed the #20 Jaguar well enough into the right hander to prevent the German racer from lunging at him.[18]

Out front, meanwhile, de Vries cruised across the line to claim an ominous victory by four seconds from Mortara, who made it a Mercedes powered one-two in the #48 Venturi.[18] Behind them came Evans and Rast, the latter taking some solace by denying de Vries a Grand Slam by claiming fastest lap, with Wehrlein a disappointed fifth after his pace abandoned him during the race.[18] Oliver Rowland was next up after a late fight with Alexander Sims, Stoffel Vandoorne and Lucas di Grassi made their way up from the midfield with stealthy runs to claim eighth and ninth, while Oliver Turvey claimed his and NIO's first point in two seasons in tenth.[18]

Result

The final classification of the 2021 Diriyah E-Prix I is displayed below, with the fastest lap setter indicated in italics, and the pole sitter shown in bold.

2021 Diriyah E-Prix I Race Result
Pos. No. Name Team Laps Race Time Fastest lap Pts.
1st 17 Dutch Flag.png Nyck de Vries FanBoost Flag of Germany.png Mercedes 32 46:44.765 1:09.757 29G
2nd 48 Flag of Switzerland.png Edoardo Mortara Flag of Monaco.png ROKiT Venturi Racing 32 +4.119s 1:09.987 18
3rd 20 Flag of New Zealand.png Mitch Evans Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jaguar Racing 32 +4.619s 1:09.751 15
4th 33 Flag of Germany.png René Rast Flag of Germany.png Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 32 +4.852s 1:09.655 13
5th 99 Flag of Germany.png Pascal Wehrlein Flag of Germany.png Porsche Formula E Team 32 +7.962s 1:10.520 10
6th 22 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Oliver Rowland Flag of France.png Nissan e.Dams 32 +9.318s 1:09.981 8
7th 29 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Alexander Sims Flag of India.png Mahindra Racing 32 +9.686s 1:10.353 6
8th* 5 Flag of Belgium.png Stoffel Vandoorne FanBoost Flag of Germany.png Mercedes 32 +9.973s 1:09.583* 4
9th 11 Flag of Brazil.png Lucas di Grassi FanBoost Flag of Germany.png Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 32 +11.089s 1:10.572 2
10th 8 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Oliver Turvey Flag of China.png NIO 333 FE Team 32 +15.518s 1:10.996 1
11th 13 Flag of Portugal.png António Félix da Costa FanBoost Flag of China.png DS Techeetah 32 +16.225s 1:10.708
12th 27 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jake Dennis FanBoost Flag of the United States.png BMW i Andretti Motorsport 32 +17.025s 1:10.761
13th 23 Flag of Switzerland.png Sébastien Buemi Flag of France.png Nissan e.Dams 32 +17.273s 1:10.387
14th 71 Flag of France.png Norman Nato Flag of Monaco.png ROKiT Venturi Racing 32 +17.312s 1:10.804
15th 25 Flag of France.png Jean-Éric Vergne Flag of China.png DS Techeetah 32 +18.402s 1:10.408
16th 36 Flag of Germany.png André Lotterer Flag of Germany.png Porsche Formula E Team 32 +18.417s 1:10.495
17th 4 Dutch Flag.png Robin Frijns Flag of the United Kingdom.png Envision Virgin Racing 32 +18.822s 1:10.444
18th 88 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Tom Blomqvist Flag of China.png NIO 333 FE Team 32 +19.072s 1:10.343
19th 37 Flag of New Zealand.png Nick Cassidy Flag of the United Kingdom.png Envision Virgin Racing 32 +19.951s 1:10.356
20th 7 Flag of Brazil.png Sérgio Sette Câmara Flag of the United States.png Dragon/Penske Autosport 32 +20.174s 1:09.599
21st 6 Flag of Switzerland.png Nico Müller Flag of the United States.png Dragon/Penske Autosport 32 +20.586s 1:09.662
Ret 28 Flag of Germany.png Maximilian Günther Flag of the United States.png BMW i Andretti Motorsport 23 Accident 1:11.113
Ret 10 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Sam Bird Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jaguar Racing 22 Damage 1:11.093
Ret 94 Flag of the United Kingdom.png Alex Lynn Flag of India.png Mahindra Racing 16 Collision 1:11.144
Source:[13]
  • FanBoost Indicates a driver was awarded FanBoost during the race.
  • G Indicates a driver claimed a bonus point for setting the fastest lap in the group stage of qualifying.
  • * Vandoorne recorded the fastest lap of the race (1:09.583) but was ineligible to claim the bonus point as it was set using FanBoost.
  • Lynn handed a three place grid penalty for causing a collision with Bird.[19]

Milestones

Standings

Victory, pole position and the fastest lap in the group stage of qualifying left Nyck de Vries as the championship leader after the opening day of the season, the Dutchman ending the day with 29 points to his credit. That left him eleven ahead of second placed Edoardo Mortara, while Mitch Evans sat in third just two ahead of René Rast after the German racer claimed fastest lap. Pascal Wehrlein, Oliver Rowland, Alexander Sims, Stoffel Vandoorne, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Turvey then completed the top ten as the other opening day scorers.

In the Teams' Championship it was, unsurprisingly, the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team that led the charge at the end of the first battle of Diriyah, the German outfit having claimed 33 points on the opening day of the season. Furthermore, their sister/customer team ROKiT Venturi occupied second on eighteen points, while Jaguar Racing completed the early top three on fifteen. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler were next up in fourth, level with Jaguar on fifteen points, while Porsche Formula E Team, Nissan e.Dams, Mahindra Racing and NIO 333 FE Team were also on the board.

 
2020/21 Drivers Championship
Pos. Name Pts. +/-
1st Dutch Flag.png Nyck de Vries 29 ◄0
2nd Flag of Switzerland.png Edoardo Mortara 18 ◄0
3rd Flag of New Zealand.png Mitch Evans 15 ◄0
4th Flag of Germany.png René Rast 13 ◄0
5th Flag of Germany.png Pascal Wehrlein 10 ◄0
6th Flag of the United Kingdom.png Oliver Rowland 8 ◄0
7th Flag of the United Kingdom.png Alexander Sims 6 ◄0
8th Flag of Belgium.png Stoffel Vandoorne 4 ◄0
9th Flag of Brazil.png Lucas di Grassi 2 ◄0
10th Flag of the United Kingdom.png Oliver Turvey 1 ◄0
2020/21 Teams Championship
Pos. Name Pts. +/-
1st Flag of Germany.png Mercedes 33 ◄0
2nd Flag of Monaco.png ROKiT Venturi Racing 18 ◄0
3rd Flag of the United Kingdom.png Jaguar Racing 15 ◄0
4th Flag of Germany.png Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler 15 ◄0
5th Flag of Germany.png Porsche Formula E Team 10 ◄0
6th Flag of France.png Nissan e.Dams 8 ◄0
7th Flag of India.png Mahindra Racing 6 ◄0
8th Flag of China.png NIO 333 FE Team 1 ◄0

Only point scoring drivers and teams are shown.

References

Videos and Images:

References:

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 'Second set of 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship races announced', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/01/2021), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2021/january/calendar-update-2020-21, (Accessed 28/01/2021)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Matt Kew, 'Formula E to hold first night races in Saudi Arabia', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 24/11/2020), https://www.motorsport.com/formula-e/news/night-races-saudi-arabia-diriyah/4915151/?ic_source=home-page-widget&ic_medium=widget&ic_campaign=widget-2, (Accessed 24/11/2020)
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Auxit
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named McPlan
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 'Mercedes' De Vries secures searing Julius Baer Pole Position in Diriyah', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/02/2021), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2021/february/diriyah-qualifying-round-1, (Accessed 26/02/2021)
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 'Nyck de Vries storms to maiden win in Formula E's first night race; the season-opening 2021 Diriyah E-Prix', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/02/2021), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2021/february/diriyah-round-1, (Accessed 26/02/2021)
  7. 'FIA publishes provisional 2020/21 Formula E calendar', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 19/06/2020), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2020/june/2021-race-calendar, (Accessed 19/06/2020)
  8. 8.0 8.1 'Formula E granted World Championship status for 2020/21 season', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 03/12/2019), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2019/december/formula-e-world-championship, (Accessed 03/12/2019)
  9. 'Entry list confirmed for 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 11/12/2020), https://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2020/december/2020-21-formula-e-confirmed-entry-list-fia, (Accessed 11/02/2021)
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 'Qualifying Groups', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/02/2021), https://fe-noticeboard.s3.amazonaws.com/06_2020-21/01_R01%20Diriyah/ABB%20FIA%20Formula%20E%20World%20Championship/28_Doc%2028%20-%20Qualifying%20Groups.pdf#pdfjs.action=download, (Accessed 27/02/2021)
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 11.17 11.18 11.19 11.20 11.21 11.22 11.23 11.24 11.25 11.26 11.27 11.28 11.29 11.30 11.31 11.32 11.33 11.34 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named QH
  12. 12.0 12.1 'Decision No. 17', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/02/2021), https://results.fiaformulae.com/en/noticeboard, (Accessed 26/02/2021)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Results
  14. 'Round 1 - Diriyah ePrix - Qualifying ', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/02/2021), https://fe-results.s3.amazonaws.com/06_2020-21/01_R01%20Diriyah/ABB%20FIA%20Formula%20E%20World%20Championship/202102261630_Qualifying/90_Classification_Qualifying.PDF#pdfjs.action=download, (Accessed 26/02/2021)
  15. 'Round 1 - Diriyah ePrix - Super Pole', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/02/2021), https://fe-results.s3.amazonaws.com/06_2020-21/01_R01%20Diriyah/ABB%20FIA%20Formula%20E%20World%20Championship/202102261637_Super%20Pole/03_Classification_Super%20Pole.PDF#pdfjs.action=download, (Accessed 26/02/2021)
  16. 'Decision No. 18', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/02/2021), https://results.fiaformulae.com/en/noticeboard, (Accessed 26/02/2021)
  17. 'Decision No. 19', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/02/2021), https://results.fiaformulae.com/en/noticeboard, (Accessed 26/02/2021)
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 18.12 18.13 18.14 18.15 18.16 18.17 18.18 18.19 18.20 18.21 18.22 18.23 18.24 18.25 18.26 18.27 18.28 18.29 18.30 18.31 18.32 18.33 18.34 18.35 18.36 18.37 18.38 18.39 18.40 18.41 18.42 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named RH
  19. 'Decision No. 23', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/02/2021), https://results.fiaformulae.com/en/noticeboard, (Accessed 26/02/2021)
2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship
Entrants
Audi Sport ABT SchaefflerBMW i Andretti MotorsportDragon/Penske AutosportDS TecheetahEnvision Virgin RacingJaguar RacingMahindra RacingMercedes-EQ Formula E TeamNIO 333 FE TeamNissan e.DamsROKiT Venturi RacingTAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team
Manufacturers
AudiBMWDSJaguarMahindra & MahindraMercedes-BenzNIONissanPenskePorsche
Cars
Spark SRT05e
Audi e-tron FE07BMW iFE.21DS E-Tense FE20DS E-Tense FE 21Jaguar I-Type VMahindra M7ElectroMercedes-EQ Silver Arrow 02NIO 333 FE 001Nissan IM02Nissan IM03Penske EV-4Penske EV-5Porsche 99X Electric
Drivers
4 Robin Frijns5 Stoffel Vandoorne6 Nico Müller/Joel Eriksson7 Sérgio Sette Câmara8 Oliver Turvey10 Sam Bird11 Lucas di Grassi13 António Félix da Costa17 Nyck de Vries20 Mitch Evans22 Oliver Rowland23 Sébastien Buemi25 Jean-Éric Vergne27 Jake Dennis28 Maximilian Günther29 Alexander Sims33 René Rast36 André Lotterer48 Edoardo Mortara71 Norman Nato88 Tom Blomqvist94 Alex Lynn99 Pascal Wehrlein
E-Prix
Diriyah IDiriyah IIRome IRome IIValencia IValencia IIMonacoPuebla IPuebla IINew York City INew York City IILondon ILondon IIBerlin IBerlin II
Cancelled E-Prix
Marrakesh E-PrixMexico City E-PrixParis E-PrixSantiago E-PrixSanya E-PrixSeoul E-Prix
Tests
Valencia
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