Formula E returns this weekend for race two of the 2023 season. This time, we’re in Diriyah, to see what the Gen3 cars can produce on both the straight and twisty sections of this beautifully illuminated Saudi Arabian circuit.
It will be a test of both energy saving and tire management with straights between turns 17 and 18, and turns 21 and 1, but also a dizzying, curly second sector between turns four and 14.
With 21 turns and nearly 2.5km of track to play with, the first double-header of the year will be sure to throw up some thrills and spills. Two races gives the drivers an opportunity to either make or break their weekend, and we could see a huge mixed bag of results after each one.
First used in 2018, the Riyadh Street Circuit has seen some decent races, with new Formula One driver Nick de Vries winning out last time in Race 1, and Edoardo Mortara winning race 2. The latter will be looking to bounce back after his DNF in Mexico last round for the Maserati team.
On the polar opposite side of the opening race however, race winner Jake Dennis will be hoping to make it a perfect start to the season with another win, this time in the Middle East, but it isn’t easy to predict how the new cars will behave at different tracks, so we could be in for another interesting race.
There was also disappointment for current defending champion Stoffel Vandoorne, as he only achieved a P10 in his DS Penske. It was a disappointing sentiment for René Rast who retired on lap 37 of 41, along with other retirees Mortara, Sam Bird, Norman Nato, and Robin Frijns.
After his injury in Mexico, Robin Frijns won’t be competing this weekend for the Cupra team. The Dutchman is recovering from fractures in his left hand following a lap one collision. He will be replaced by South African substitute Kelvin van der Linde, who has experience in motorsport, competing in the DTM in 2021 and 2022. He’s also driven a Formula E car at testing in 2020 but is yet to experience the Gen 3 cars.