Frijns: Zoom call with tech chief turned around Diriyah E-Prix fortunes

First-time Formula E polesitter Robin Frijns has credited a Zoom call for the turnaround in his fortunes ahead of the second Diriyah E-Prix

Frijns: Zoom call with tech chief turned around Diriyah E-Prix fortunes

The Envision Virgin Racing driver called out McLaren Applied for its decision to change the battery onboard his Audi-powered car after he crashed heavily in second practice.

That meant the Dutch racer missed qualifying for race one completely before progressing from last to 17th place, although that was boosted by retirements for Max Guenther, Sam Bird and Alex Lynn.

But Frijns was much improved on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, beating race-one victor Nyck de Vries to top final free practice by 0.146s.

Frijns then bolted through his group three run to lead the order by some 0.557s and then found a similar 0.523s margin over Dragon Penske Autosport driver Sergio Sette Camara on the final run in superpole to top FE qualifying for the first time.

Frijns credited the marked improvement for a late-night video call held with team members back at the Silverstone base for the revival.

"Yesterday wasn't the best of days," he said.

"We worked until very late yesterday night to improve the car and we did a huge step forward. We didn't expect to be up front like this.

One of the team members not to have travelled to Saudi Arabia, thanks to a reduction in team personnel passes, was technical director Chris Gorne.

Frijns added that the Envision Virgin Racing mechanics had pulled an "all-nighter" to reverse engineer the car to how it ran at the unrepresentative Circuit Ricardo Tormo in pre-season testing.

He said: "We had a Zoom-slash-debrief call for two hours together with the team at home in Silverstone to discuss because we needed to change something.

"We couldn't have another day like we had yesterday.

"It was a drastic change we did.

"It could go really wrong as well, but we needed to do something, and I was really pushing that.

"We went completely in the other direction, which we know from Valencia.

"Everything is a little bit different on street tracks and that's what we need to consider."

"It is a lot of fun, very tricky, we basically have one race line and if you basically put one wheel next to it, that's it, you go off. You made a mistake and there's no room for any mistakes here so you will probably end up in the wall".

shares
comments
Diriyah FE II: Frijns beats Sette Camara to maiden pole for race two
Previous article

Diriyah FE II: Frijns beats Sette Camara to maiden pole for race two

Next article

Mercedes, Venturi allowed to start Diriyah E-Prix after Mortara crash

Mercedes, Venturi allowed to start Diriyah E-Prix after Mortara crash
Load comments
How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait Plus

How Mercedes's Formula E squad replicated the F1 team's best trait

With its ultra-successful sister team in Formula 1 and a support network providing some of the best minds and resources in the business, Mercedes Formula E team principal Ian James knew his squad had all the winning ingredients. But mixing it together was no easy feat and required key attributes to be grown from within

How Formula E's polarising newcomer can prove himself Plus

How Formula E's polarising newcomer can prove himself

OPINION: Few figures in racing today divide opinion like Dan Ticktum. The Formula 2 race-winner now has the chance to wipe his professional slate clean with his move into Formula E, but it won't be easy at the squad which has brought up the rear for the past three years. Here are the three key criteria he must meet to make a lasting impression on the series

Formula E
Nov 27, 2021
How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E Plus

How Mercedes pulled off a silent coup in Formula E

By virtue of its Formula 1 success, Mercedes was expected to rise to power in Formula E before long. That it won both the drivers' and manufacturers' championships this year, after only two seasons as a full works effort, belies a tricky path littered with potential pitfalls

Formula E
Nov 26, 2021
Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive Plus

Why electric racing cars should be four-wheel drive

OPINION: Circuit racing has traditionally favoured front- or rear-wheel-drive setups, eschewing the equal distribution of power. But for Formula E and other electric-powered series, our columnist believes it’s a perfect fit

Formula E
Oct 13, 2021
How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success Plus

How motorsport's most prominent power couple found joint success

The Wolffs have carved their own paths in motorsport, leading their respective teams to success in Formula 1 and Formula E. But the two came together last month as their drivers finished first and second in the FE drivers' championship - a feat they are hugely proud of. In a rare joint interview, they reflect on a remarkable season

Formula E
Sep 21, 2021
The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21 Plus

The top 10 Formula E drivers of 2020-21

OPINION: The 2021 Formula E campaign was one without a narrative for much of the season, with no single car or driver able to break away from the pack. That makes choosing a top 10 especially difficult, particularly as the qualifying format meant some worthy performers were unable to enjoy their day in the sun

Formula E
Sep 19, 2021
How Mercedes and De Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way Plus

How Mercedes and De Vries achieved Formula E glory the hard way

When Nyck de Vries dominated the first race of what would be the most controversial and unpredictable Formula E season to date, it looked as though Mercedes was in for a cakewalk. But as the campaign wore on, the path to a title double became increasingly rocky. Neither driver or team would be assured of the crown until the closing stages of the very final race on a weekend of struggle in Berlin

Formula E
Sep 17, 2021
The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep its original missionary winning Plus

The Formula E 'loan' deal that will keep its original missionary winning

OPINION: The departure of Audi from Formula E meant its long-time driver Lucas di Grassi would need to find a new berth to stay on the grid. His deal at Venturi Racing will ensure the championship's first-ever race winner will remain competitive into the final year of the current Gen2 ruleset - although it may not be a long-term fit

Formula E
Sep 15, 2021