Formula E

"One of our worst weekends" - reasons for world champion Envision's weak Formula E season so far

Svenja König

Svenja König

Robin-Frijns-Car-in-pits-misano

Andretti collected 42 points at the Misano E-Prix - more than Envision has scored in all seven races of the season so far! The reigning world champion team had a coal-black weekend in Italy and left Italy disappointed with no points. "One of Envision's worst race weekends," was the verdict of team principal Sylvain Filippi on Sunday evening. What's going on at the team champions?

There is no doubt that the Jaguar-powered Envision cars can be among the fastest on the grid. This was also evident time and again at the Misano E-Prix: For example, in the 3rd free practice session on Sunday, which Frijns won, and the following qualifying session, in which the Dutchman reached the duel phase. And: The Jaguar works team leads the championship (128 points), while customer Envision is only eighth (41).

However, there is always something that's going going as planned. In the Italian race on Sunday, Frijns was sandwiched between Antonio Felix da Costa and Sam Bird after just six laps in the battle for points. His front wing broke and blocked his front tyre so that he could only roll out over the gravel. Just under ten laps later, Sebastien Buemi had to retire from the race too with damage to his car. He had also collided with another car in the slipstream chaos.

It was an early and sobering end to a race that was supposed to make amends for the points-less result on Saturday. Frijns had already had to make an unscheduled pit stop in the first Misano race due to a puncture, and Buemi had dropped out of the points on the last lap because he ran out of energy.

"That was one of our worst race weekends at Envision Racing," says team principal Filippi. "The race pace looked really good today. To then have both cars retire is not what we want and incredibly frustrating because the team has worked so hard. Especially on these wide tracks with a lot of energy saving, chaos quickly ensues. We simply have to find a way to avoid colliding with other cars, get through the first phase of the race and then manage the energy well."

Lack of qualifying pace & too many incidents in the race

With seven races behind us, it is clear that Misano was no exception - there is hardly anything left of the Envision consistency of last season. The biggest problems at the moment can be broken down into two reasons: Envision too rarely reaches the top positions in qualifying. Only twice have Frijns and Buemi managed to start the race from the top 6. That was at the start of the season in Mexico and Diriyah and both ended with a podium result.

However, Frijns starts the race from 9th on the grid on average, while Buemi is only 14th on the grid. It is difficult to make up for a poor grid position on tight tracks such as Mexico, Diriyah or Tokyo. For comparison: Mitch Evans and Nick Cassidy in the works Jaguar were among the five best starters in the electric series after the Tokyo E-Prix - and scored considerably more points.

In addition, the Envision drivers were unable to stay out of the turmoil in the race and finish the races solidly - also due to a midfield starting position. Frijns retired from both Misano races after incidents. Earlier in Tokyo, he was involved in a collision with Evans, which fortunately did not hinder him any further. In Sao Paulo, a problem with the battery had cost him a good result. Buemi simply ran out of power in Misano. Some of these incidents could certainly have been avoided.

This means the British-Chinese team has a long list of homework to complete before Monaco. The focus: pace on one lap and race management. On the plus side, the next race will take place in Monaco, where Envision could build on last year's good results. Nick Cassidy celebrated a dominant victory back then. A good result is urgently needed, as only ERT, ABT Cupra and Mahindra are worse in the teams' standings.

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