Envision Virgin Racing’s Managing Director Sylvain Filippi expects the new Formula E season to be the “most competitive yet” but says the team and its new driver pairing are relishing the challenge.
Envision Virgin Racing moved quickly to pin Nick Cassidy down as teammate to Robin Frijns following Sam Bird's depature for pastures new after six seasons - the squad he'd been with since the very first Formula E race, sealing nine wins along the way.
Cassidy enters the fray off the back of securing the Japanese 'Triple Crown' of Super GT, Formula 3 and Super Formula titles, and he's illustrated his capabilities in Gen2 Formula E machinery, with a new lap record in Marrakesh on his first outing with the team at the Rookie Test back in March on his way to topping the timesheets.
“As one of three rookies this year in a very experienced field I want to manage my expectations but at the same time I want to do my very best," said the Kiwi. "Qualifying is super important in Formula E, even more so in Diriyah with the track evolution, and I feel comfortable with my one-lap pace.
"Come the races though, that’s where experience in things like energy management will really come into their own. The team have been amazing getting me up to speed and I am excited to be reunited with race engineer Stephen Lane who led me to a podium in Macau a few years back. Robin (Frijns) has also been great and someone I can learn a lot from.”
He joins Robin Frijns, who ended 2019/20 on a high in Berlin with four Super Pole appearances and a pair of podiums on the way to 12th in the Drivers' table.
“I think this season the driver is going to make more of a difference than ever before; you’ll have to be on it from the start, especially in Diriyah which is very challenging with only one line to drive on," added Frijns, who's embarking on a third season with the team.
"We know its about consistency though and having two drivers at the front, and with Nick I feel we have that. He has fitted in really well and everyone is excited to see what he can do after topping the times at the rookie test in Marrakesh. Everyone is also really happy to be racing again and to get this new season underway.”
Envision Virgin Racing Managing Director Sylvain Filippi knows just how close it'll be this year, but he's sure his team are well placed after an off-season's tireless work spent getting things just right.
“Formula E has always been super competitive but the feeling this season is that the field is even tighter,” says Filippi, who has been with the team since its inception. “The gap from first to last is now closer than ever – just a few tenths – meaning there is no room for any error be it the drivers or the teams.
"Add to this the global challenges facing us all right now and I truly believe the new Formula E season will be the most competitive yet, which, of course, is great news for those watching at home. That said, we are relishing the challenge and everyone in the team has worked tirelessly to ensure we’re ready for the season opener.”
Franz Jung, Chairman of the Board at Envision Virgin Racing, added: “I know how hard the team and the drivers have worked over the past months, so I wish to send my thanks and appreciation to everyone at Envision Virgin Racing and hope all this effort is rewarded, as we saw last time out in Diriyah with victory in the opening round.”