“This is like 67 seconds of perfection” – Watch Robin & Nick reveal all for On Charge

With just two days to go until the Formula E gladiators battle once more on the streets of Rome, we sat down with Envision Virgin Racing drivers Robin Frijns and Nick Cassidy to find out more for the latest episode of ‘On Charge’.

Joined by Formula E commentator Jack Nicholls, Robin and Nick begin by taking an in-depth and personal look at how the opening rounds in Diriyah played out – good and bad – before looking ahead to this weekend’s double-header in the Italian capital.

The Saudi curtain raiser was certainly a testing affair for Robin as he recalls looking back at his crash in FP2 which put him out of qualifying, compounded by Nick’s superb Super Pole lap being deleted for a yellow flag infringement.

A difficult race ensued for both drivers but what a difference a day makes as Robin came out of the blocks the next day to secure his maiden Formula E pole; “Robin Frijns is one of those drivers when it looks quick, it normally is quick!” recalls co-commentator Dario Franchitti.

That pole lap saw Robin go on to battle with former team-mate Sam Bird in the weekend’s second race, with the two swapping places a record seven times before the Dutchman was forced to settle for second place. Meanwhile, Nick recalls his charge from 10th to P5 and even rates his performance out of 10!

For the Rome E-Prix, a track Robin previously finished fourth at, the two are confident they can be at the front end, especially with Nick being in the more favourable fourth qualifying group. But do they think they can win the championship? You’ll just have to watch to see what the guys said…

ROBIN FRIJNS FORCED TO SETTLE FOR SECOND IN DRAMATIC DIRIYAH NIGHT RACE

Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns was forced to settle for second place behind former team-mate Sam Bird as this evening’s dramatic second Formula E night race in Diriyah ended under a red flag.

Starting from his maiden pole position, the Dutchman led for much of the early part of the race, controlling from the front but was undone when taking his second Attack Mode just before a full course yellow period. Regularly swapping places with Bird as the race progressed, it allowed the two DS Techeetah cars behind to catch, leading to a four-way battle for the lead and setting the race up for a fantastic showdown under the stars.

But a late safety car period following several stricken cars ended all hopes of that as the race was red flagged with not enough time to restart and forcing Frijns to take the runner-up spot and the team’s 30th Formula E podium.

Meanwhile, team-mate and newcomer Nick Cassidy was once again showing his true potential, carving his way through the field from 10th to cross the line P5, but the New Zealander was judged to have sped during the full course yellow period handing him a time penalty and dropping him down to P14.

Frijns said: “Today was good fun battling with Sam. At the beginning, I had a feeling Sam was quicker than me on certain parts of the track but was a great battle. Unfortunately, we took our second Attack Mode just before the full course yellow so that didn’t help but that is the gamble you take in racing. Still, a podium after a difficult day yesterday – I’ll take that!”

Cassidy said: “I’m really happy after that race as we were definitely one of the strongest on track. At the end I thought I had the two DS Techeetah cars covered and had the race been longer I reckon we could have fought for a podium place. But of course, we had the full course yellow infringement. That said, I can take a lot of confidence from today, knowing that we had the pace to be on the front row and to be challenging for podiums is more than I expected from my first Formula E weekend.”

Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at Envision Virgin Racing, added: “This weekend has been a tale of two halves for the team with Robin’s superb podium after the disappointment of Friday’s race. The team have worked so hard during the off-season so it’s great to be rewarded like this and to come away with decent points on the board. It is also reassuring to see the pace of the car, especially in qualifying, so that gives us confidence for other tracks this season where overtaking is even harder. The race pace is good too but something we’ll work hard on to fine tune before the next event in Rome.”

Formula E returns on April 10 for round three in Rome, Italy. For more information on Envision Virgin Racing go to www.envisionvirginracing.com.

ABB FIA Formula E World Championship
Results – Round 2:

1. Sam Bird, Jaguar Racing, 29 laps
2. Robin Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing, +2.194s (P)
3.
Antonio Felix Da Costa, DS Techeetah, +6.900s
4.
Sérgio Sette Câmara, Dragon / Penske Autosport, +12.817s
5.
Nico Muller, Dragon / Penske Autosport, +13.924s
6.
Oliver Turvey, NIO 333, +15.523s
7.
Oliver Rowland, Nissan E.Dams, +16.389s
8.
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, +20.612s
9. Nyck de Vries, Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team, +22.482s (FL)
10. Pascal Wehrlein, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, +25.395s
14. Nick Cassidy, Envision Virgin Racing, +33.079s

Drivers’ Standings (after Rd 2):
1. Nyck de Vries, 32 pts
2.
Sam Bird, 25 pts
3
. Robin Frijns, 22 pts
4.
Edoardo Mortara, 18 pts
5.
Antonio Felix Da Costa, 15 pts
6. Mitch Evans, 15 pts
7.
Oliver Rowland, 14 pts
8.
Rene Rast, 13 pts
9.
Sérgio Sette Câmara, 12 pts
10.
Pascal Wehrlein, 11pts
21. Nick Cassidy, 0 pts

Teams Standings (after Rd 2):
1. Jaguar Racing, 40 pts
2.
Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team, 36 pts
3. Envision Virgin Racing, 22pts
4.
Dragon / Penske Autosport, 22 pts
5.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, 19pts

 

Disappointment in Diriyah for Envision Virgin Racing but pace is there

Envision Virgin Racing endured a frustrating Formula E season opener under the night lights of the Diriyah E-Prix but knows the pace is there as it looks to come back stronger for the weekend’s second race.

After a hiatus of almost 200 days, the all-electric series returned this evening with its 70th race around the streets of Saudi Arabia with the team’s driver pairing of Robin Frijns and newcomer Nick Cassidy eager to impress.

But damaged sustained in FP2 by Frijns would trigger a chain of events that would hold back the Dutchman from his true potential and mean he would be unable to contest qualifying. Meanwhile, team-mate Cassidy, starting in group four, showed a glimpse of his true pace with a superb qualifying lap on his debut to make it into Super Pole until a post-session investigation saw the time frustratingly taken away due to a yellow flag infringement.

That meant the duo would stat the 45-minute plus-one-lap-race from the back of the field on a circuit that is difficult to pass on. Despite this, both drivers showed a controlled mix of energy management and pace to make-up ground in a stop/start affair that featured two safety car periods. At the chequered flag, Frijns crossed the line 17th – a gain of seven places – with Cassidy a little further behind in 19th.

New Zealander Cassidy, 26, said: “For my first Formula E race I didn’t start where I wanted to, but I just tried to learn what I could with an eye on tomorrow and getting laps under my belt. We’ll debrief with the team overnight and keep the gloves up and come out fighting tomorrow.”

“Today has been a bit of a downward spiral,” said Dutch team-mate Frijns. “I had a small crash in FP2, but the sensor said otherwise which meant we had to change the battery before qualifying which caused me to miss out. For the race, starting at the back, it is always difficult to overtake so we didn’t have much of a chance to make up any more places than we did. Nevertheless, we’ll go through the data tonight and see what we can do tomorrow.”

Formula E is back in action tomorrow – 20:00 local time – for the second night race in Diriyah.

ABB FIA Formula E World Championship
Results – Round 1:

1. Nyck De Vries, Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team, 32 laps (P)
2. Edoardo Mortara, ROKiT Venturi Racing, +4.119s
3.
Mitch Evans, Jaguar Racing, +4.619s
4.
Rene Rast, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, +4.852s (FL)
5.
Pascal Wehrlein, TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E, +7.962s
6. Oliver Rowland, Nissan E.Dams, +9.318s
7.
Alexander Sims, Mahindra Racing, +9.686s
8.
Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team, +9.973s 
9.
Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, +11.089s
10.
Oliver Turvey, NIO 333 Formula E Team, +15.518s
17. Robin Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing, +18.822s
19. Nick Cassidy, Envision Virgin Racing, +19.951s

Drivers’ Standings (after Rd 1):
1. Nyck De Vries, 29pts
2. Edoardo Mortara, 18pts
3.
Mitch Evans, 15pts
4.
Rene Rast, 13pts
5.
Pascal Wehrlein, 10pts
17. Robin Frijns, 0pts
19. Nick Cassidy, 0pts

Teams Standings (after Rd 1):
1. Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team, 34pts
2. ROKiT Venturi Racing, 18pts
3.
Jaguar Racing, 15pts
4.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, 15pts
5.
TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E, 10pts
11. Envision Virgin Racing, 0pts

GENPACT & ENVISION VIRGIN RACING ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP EXTENSION

Global professional services firm Genpact has extended its partnership with purpose-driven Formula E Team Envision Virgin Racing, becoming the team’s fifth partnership announcement inside 12 weeks.

Since 2018, the two have partnered across many successful initiatives, enhancing the team’s data and AI-driven insights to strengthen its strategy and performance, both on and off the Formula E track. Today’s announcement now sees that relationship extend until at least the end of 2022.

Amongst the collaborations are Genpact’s ‘Augmented Race Intelligence’ and ‘Lap Estimate Optimiser’ systems, which leverage advanced analytics and AI to deliver quicker access for the engineers to unlock and analyse race insights to support lightning-fast decision making. In addition, Genpact has used its audience experience to bring greater learnings into the burgeoning Envision Virgin Racing fan base – essential as the team looks to further engage with its audience outside of the race events, and better harness the passion and advocacy for sustainability of its active followers.

With sustainability at the heart of both Envision Virgin Racing and Genpact, more recently their work has extended to streamlining the team’s data collection to support its carbon neutrality certification – one of a host of environmental measures the team undertakes as part of its ‘Race Against Climate Change’ initiative.

“Genpact is thrilled to continue our partnership with the team, providing digital innovation and human-centred design that help Envision Virgin Racing move at the speed of instinct, to gain pole position in the FIA Formula E World Championship and to create real-world impact beyond the track,” said Stacy Simpson, Chief Marketing Officer at Genpact. “When the difference between winning and losing is measured in milliseconds, the ability to drive innovation that leverages data, and turns real-time insights into action is critical to success. Our partnership with Envision Virgin Racing provides an environment for co-innovation that enables us to support the team’s competitive advantage and performance on the track, in the race against climate change and in the ability to engage and amplify its passionate and growing audience.”

James Mercer, Commercial Director at Envision Virgin Racing, added: “As one of our Principal Partners, this extension with Genpact speaks volumes for the close relationship we have developed together. Working with Genpact has allowed us to connect people, processes and racing knowledge through AI-powered analytics to build an instinctive racing team. With the season opener just a few days away, we’re looking forward to continuing our joint work to make critical decisions at lightning-fast speed, identify new fans, and energise the Race Against Climate Change.”

He added: “Despite these uncertain times, Genpact, together with four other global organisations, have chosen to align with the team which is testament to the trust and value they see from partnering with us.”

Aside from its impressive track record including 11 wins and 29 podiums, Envision Virgin Racing – owned by world leading greentech company Envision Group – prides itself on being the ‘greenest team on the greenest grid’. Last year it became the first team to be certified carbon neutral (PAS 2060), is one of a handful to have achieved the FIA’s Three Star Sustainability Accreditation and was the first motorsport team to sign up to the UNFCCC Sports for Climate Action Framework.

Formula E returns with a new season beginning on February 26 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia.