Formula E has revealed its calendar for the 2019–20 championship, with new events added in Seoul and London.
Season six of the all-electric championship will once again start in Saudi Arabia’s Ad Diriyah, albeit with a double header on the earlier dates of November 22 and 23. Afterwards are a trio of flyaway races in the new year in Santiago, Mexico City and Hong Kong before the European leg begins in April with Rome and Paris.
The new Seoul ePrix breaks up the European races on May 3, with Berlin following four weeks later. June’s New York ePrix is once again the penultimate round of the season and is reduced to a single race.
On July 25 and 26 London returns as the season finale for the first time since 2016, with a new indoor/ outdoor circuit at the ExCeL in Canning Town replacing the former Battersea Park track.
Formula E co-founder and deputy CEO Alberto Longo said: “Next season promises to be the most exciting and eagerly-anticipated in the short history of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.
“Looking at the list of cities and capitals backing Formula E and the electric movement, it’s the longest and most comprehensive calendar to date. We have three rounds remaining this season and a title fight that’s wide open, but I already can’t wait to get started again in Ad Diriyah in November.”
The season six calendar also includes two ‘to be confirmed’ slots. The first, on December 14 2019, has traditionally been occupied by Marrakesh. The second, on March 21 2020, follows Hong Kong and is also listed as taking place in China, and is expected to be confirmed later as the Sanya ePrix.
Bern is also absent from the new calendar. However, Formula E is said to be assessing suitable venues to return to Switzerland in season seven, with Zurich and Geneva joining Bern as potential hosts.
Robin Frijns scored his first ever win in Formula E, becoming the eighth different winner this season and keeping the winning streak intact as he triumphed in adverse weather conditions at the Paris ePrix this weekend. Frijns, the first Dutchman to win a race in the series, started from P3 but took advantage of the failures of both Nissans and fought off an attacking Lotterer and damage to his front wing from contact with Sebastien Buemi to claim his first well-deserved win of the series and subsequently took the championship lead.
Qualifying proved critical due to the significantly narrowed streets that make up the Paris circuit. The first group again struggled to extract performance on track with previous race winner Mitch Evans languishing at the bottom of the timing screens due to a scrappy lap. The second group did not fare much better with hometown hero Jean-Eric Vergne only managing to grasp P5 and Sam Bird scrapping into P8. BMW’s heartache continued as Antonio Felix da Costa could only manage P9. However, it was Envision Racing’s Frijns who managed to snatch the top spot with a super-aggressive lap that left him as the man to beat.
Group three benefited from improving track conditions as Oliver Rowland soon claimed the top spot by one-tenth of a second with teammate Buemi, Pascal Wehrlein and Felipe Massa all slotting themselves into superpole contention. The final group failed to threaten the top six drivers, with Dragon’s Jose Maria Lopez the only promise only to run wide at turn 3, ruining his lap, leaving Rowland, Wehrlein, Buemi, Frijns, D’Ambrosio, and Massa to snatch the pole away.
Massa took to the track first in superpole, earning himself an impressive time of 1.01.217. D’Ambrosio followed, but struggled and had to settle behind the Brazilian after a scrappy lap left him adrift by a hundredth of a second. Frijns continued his impressive run of form with another aggressive lap, slotting himself into P1 before he was disposed by Buemi on his run.
However, as the time ticked down, it once again became a battle of the rookies as Wehrlein again showed his impressive form, moving into the coveted top spot by a margin of four tenths. Only Rowland could challenge the Mahindra man, but fell short and had to settle for another front row start, leaving Wehrlein to claim his second pole of the season. However, celebrations were short-lived as both Wehrlein and D’Ambrosio were demoted to the back of the grid after failing scrutineering due to tyre pressures, leaving Rowland to inherit the top spot.
Due to rain showers just before the start, the race began under safety car due to the adverse track conditions causing unfair disadvantages. Rowland held the lead as racing commenced and Lotterer began to pile pressure on Maxi Gunther for P5, eager to move up the standings. However, Rowland’s luck soon ran out as the Nissan rookie locked up, sending him flying into the barriers at turn 10 as his teammate Buemi moved into the lead.
With Frijns moving into P2, he began to pressure Buemi for the lead of the race, forcing the two to make contact as Buemi attempted to activate his attack mode. Frijns expressed concern over his front wing which had become dislodged during the incident but was told to continue as Lotterer soon disposed of Gunther for P4, as the German rookie too armed himself with attack mode and immediately began to chase after Massa.
Like his teammate before him, Buemi locked up two laps later on turn 8 allowing Frijns to force his way past and into the lead of the race as the heavens opened over the circuit. Rain battered the course as Lotterer forced his way past Massa and began hunting down Frijns for the lead. However, he was hindered by a series of full course yellows as the drivers struggled in the difficult conditions including a nasty shunt for BMW’s Alex Sims and Jaguar’s Alex Lynn, who was taken out by Edo Mortara in the dying stages of the race. Massa held P3 for much of the race, only to spin out losing his podium spot with Daniel Abt able to capitalise on the Brazilian’s mistake. As the rain continued, Frijns held firm from Lotterer’s attack and claimed victory at the first wet race in Formula E history.