April 21, 2021

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Formula E: Mercedes and Jaguar, the first 2021 winners

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Nyck De Vries and Sam Bird won the first two races of season 7, at the Diriyah circuit in Saudi Arabia.

We take almost the same ones and start over. During the offseason, the FIA ​​Formula E World Championship did not escape the transfer window. Briton Jake Dennis has joined the BMW team; Nick Cassidy the Envision Virgin Racing team; Nico Mueller Dragon-Penske; Alex Lynn and Alexander Sims from the Indian Mahindra team; Sam Bird Jaguar Racing; Pascal Wehrlein Porsche. As for the French Norman Nato, he found refuge with Rokit Venturi.

The two DS of Da Costa and Vergne in a fight during the second race of Dirriyah. Zak Mauger / Zak Mauger / LAT Images

The organizers of the youngest discipline in motorsport have also taken advantage of the off-season to change sports and technical regulations. History to increase the competition. It starts with shortened qualifying sessions. The 24 pilots are still divided into four groups but they no longer have a wild card. With each qualifying session dropping from six to four minutes, drivers will be less able to wait until the last minute to get out and complete the perfect lap. They will now have to deal with the traffic. Still with a view to adding an additional difficulty, the FIA ​​(Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) reduced the allocation of tires granted for the weekend. When meetings consist of two races, each driver sees his quota halved, going from sixteen to eight tires for the whole weekend. For a single race, it’s six tires compared to eight previously. Finally, the allocation of braking systems is limited. Throughout the season, each single-seater is now entitled to five sets of discs and seven sets of pads for the front, four sets of discs and six sets of pads for the rear. Finally, the seventh season of Formula E is marked by the entry into service of the new powertrains. With the exception of DS and Nissan, the entire field of the championship was therefore presented in Saudi Arabia with the new engines. Note that Audi and BMW have already announced that they will withdraw at the end of this season.

The start of the first race in Saudi Arabia. Andy Hone / Daimler AG

In the first race on Friday evening, the Dutchman Nyck de Vries achieved the grand slam at the wheel of his Mercedes EQ. Author of the best times of all free practice sessions, pole man, he won his first victory in the discipline. A victory that seemed easy because he was never worried. Even after the exit of Günther (BMW) and the collision between Lynn and Bird which led to the exit of the safety car. Each time the race resumed, Vries gave himself a margin of more than a second over his main pursuers. A sign that the Mercedes are in high spirits, Vandoorne on the other car gained 7 positions during the race. As for Mortara, in his Venturi powered by Mercedes, he reached second place after a good comeback.

Andrew Ferraro / Andrew Ferraro / LAT Images

The French team DS, reigning world champion, finished the first race outside the points, failing to qualify at the top of the table. Defending champion Antonio Felix Da Costa finished 11th while Jean-Eric Vergne failed in 15th place. More than ever, the secret of a good performance requires a successful qualification.

On Saturday, the 24 pilots reset the counters to zero. Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing) took pole position ahead of Sergio Sette Camara (Dragon Penske) and Sam Bird (Jaguar). Very comfortable since the start of the meeting, the Mercedes (official team and Venturi client) did not leave the pits after the accident at Mortara during free practice in the morning, the FIA ​​citing safety reasons.

Andrew Ferraro / LAT

The second round in Saudi Arabia was much more lively than the first. Sam Bird (Jaguar) managed to get rid of his former teammate Frijns to win the second victory of the 2021 season. The Briton thus becomes the only driver to have won an event in each Formula E season. Behind, there was rififi . A moment in contention for victory, the two DS drivers engaged in a real mano-à-mano, bordering on a collision. What Evans and Günther did. Third on the podium, Jean-Eric Vergne (DS Techeetah) suffered a penalty of 24 seconds which made him demote to 12th place, due to the non-use of the second Attack Mode.

In the championship, Nick de Vries (29 points) leads with respectively 4 and 7 points ahead of Sam Bird and Robin Frijns. For the third round of season 7, the championship will land in Europe, in Rome on April 10.

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