5 things we learnt from the Diriyah E-Prix weekend
© FIA Formula E
© FIA Formula E

5 things we learnt from the Diriyah E-Prix weekend


Between them, both Alexander Sims and Sam Bird dominated the top results across two days of racing at the Diriyah E-Prix, with Bird taking the win on Friday and Sims claiming both pole positions and the Saturday victory.

The seriously impressive run of success from those two British drivers means that the United Kingdom has the most championship points by country, with a total of 89 points followed by Belgium in second with 32 points and Germany in third with 26 points.

Britain’s who races for Nissan managed to pick up a respectable 22 championship points over the weekend, finishing in fourth on Friday and fifth on Saturday. A solid weekend from the driver who starts his second year in the championship.

Unfortunately, the weekend didn’t quite go to plan for the other two British drivers on the grid. James Calado made his Formula E debut in Diriyah and with separate crashes in practice on both days, his weekend proved to be a steep learning curve. He did, however, manage to secure seventh in Saturday’s chaotic race and is ahead of his experienced teammate, , in the standings as we head to the next round in Marrakech.

’s Oliver Turvey looked to have secured an impressive top ten finish before he was later disqualified from Saturday’s race after it was discovered he’d overused his energy during the race.


After a monster performance during the final qualifying session in New York last season to land himself on pole, Sims made sure to channel that same energy in Diriyah this week as he continued to display his exceptional qualifying abilities.

He managed to secure both pole positions available, one on Friday and the other on Saturday, being the first driver to claim two consecutive pole positions since at the New York E-Prix in season four.

Sims also becomes the first-ever driver in Formula E to have three pole positions in a row, although this is a record that stretches over two seasons of the all-electric championship.

He even had time to drift his car on course to his Saturday pole lap and still beat the next fastest time by 0.220s. Crazy scenes from the BMW driver who went on to win his first-ever Formula E race later that day.


All eyes were on Mercedes and Porsche this weekend as the two German manufacturing giants made their race debuts in Formula E. Between the two teams, they managed to make up 50% of the podium finishers in what was a glowing example of how to boss your first race weekend in the all-electric championship.

Friday was promising for Mercedes who managed to get both their drivers, and , into superpole where they qualified second and third respectively. During the race, newly-crowned F2 Champion deVries fell back down the order from third to finished sixth, whereas his teammate Vandoorne was able to convert his front row start into Mercedes’ first Formula E podium finish.

Vandoorne then went on to replicate his third-place result the following day thanks to Maximillian Günther receiving a post-race penalty following the conclusions of Saturday’s race. A very promising double podium from Mercedes on this, their first Formula E weekend.

Porsche too landed themselves a podium finish this weekend. claimed a second-place finish on Friday after starting from seventh on the grid. Talking to Formula E media after the race, Lotterer said the debut for Porsche was amazing as the team “didn’t know what to expect”.


Several drivers expressed their disappointment at where Attack Mode was placed for the Diriyah EPrix. It is understood that these concerns had been expressed as early as Thursday but that the placement of the zone was kept as it is.

’s race fell apart when he was running in second place on Saturday’s race. The Nissan driver was having to defend the Techeetah of when da Costa clipped the rear of Buemi’s car as he veered off the racing line to activate Attack Mode. This minor contact ended up spinning Buemi out of second place and left him trying to rejoin the track on a blind corner, almost taking out half the field with him as he attempted the move.

Formula e still loves a post-race penalty

Maximillian Günther was probably the prime example this weekend of how heartbreaking a post-race penalty can be. Thinking you have secured not only your first podium finish, but a 1-2 for the team, all to have it taken away from you just an hour after your celebrations is brutal.

The penalty came as a result of Günther overtaking and Vandoorne under safety car conditions, which then resulted in a drive-through penalty. Because the race has finished, a 24-second time penalty was applied to him instead.

Other notable post-race penalties on the Saturday include ’s Oliver Turvey and his overuse of energy which had him disqualified from tenth and Mercedes’ de Vries who was also found guilty of overtaking under the safety car and given the same 24-second penalty as Günther demoting him to 16th.

It is also understood that NIO’s Ma Qing Hua received a post-race penalty for a throttle map infringement but this didn’t affect his position.

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Written by
Katy Fairman
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