Rowland hopes Mercedes doesn't repeat its F1 dominance in FE

Nissan driver Oliver Rowland hopes Mercedes does not replicate its Formula 1 dominance in Formula E following Nyck de Vries's commanding Diriyah E-Prix win

Rowland hopes Mercedes doesn't repeat its F1 dominance in FE

After topping both practice sessions, Mercedes driver de Vries took pole position by over six-tenths in qualifying and then led every lap of the Saudi Arabian race en route to a 4.1s victory.

Venturi driver Edoardo Mortara, racing a customer Mercedes powertrain, was classified second, while de Vries' teammate Stoffel Vandoorne charged his way through the field to finish inside the points after starting 15th.

While Mercedes was expected to be quick in its second season as a full-fledged manufacturer, having capped off its rookie campaign with a 1-2 finish in Berlin last summer, the advantage it enjoyed in the first leg of the Diriyah weekend was quite large by Formula E's standards.

Rowland admitted that Mercedes' pace in Riyadh was "worrying", especially considering its record in F1 where it has won every title since the start of the turbo hybrid era in 2014.

"Yeah, it's a bit worrying," the British driver told Autosport. "Formula E can be a bit strange [and] up and down.

"For sure they are doing a good job at Mercedes. Hopefully it doesn't turn into Formula 1.

"They had quite an inexperienced driver in Nyck [last season], even Stoffel is similar to me [in terms of experience]. So it takes a bit of time to get everything right.

"There are known for doing a good job at building things. So yeah, I think [they are] probably improving. We saw already in Berlin, they were good last year at times so maybe more steps in all areas is the way everybody improves."

Rowland was the top qualifier from the first group stage and was able to move up the pack from 10th, making a late pass on the Mahindra of Alexander Sims to finish sixth.

Asked where he could have finished had he started higher up on the grid, Rowland said: "We had the pace to win.

"Even doing a slightly better race today maybe could have had a small chance. I think I should have had Pascal [Wehrlein] at the end. Didn't do a great job to be honest.

"We have the pace to be on the podium. Unfortunately with the way the groups are there's not much you can do especially when it's sandy and windy."

Nissan is competing in the Riyadh double header with the same powertrain as last season, albeit with software upgrades, after choosing the April 5 homologation window to debut its new hardware for the last two seasons of the Gen2 era.

shares
comments
Frijns, Muller lament FE rules that resulted in back-of-grid Diriyah starts

Previous article

Frijns, Muller lament FE rules that resulted in back-of-grid Diriyah starts

Next article

Diriyah FE: Frijns beats de Vries to top spot in Saturday practice

Diriyah FE: Frijns beats de Vries to top spot in Saturday practice
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula E
Drivers Oliver Rowland
Teams Mercedes
Author Rachit Thukral
How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome Plus

How Vergne and Vandoorne found redemption in Rome

Another Formula E double-header, another double dose of frantic action. While the form guide remains unpredictable following fightback wins for Jean-Eric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne in Rome, the speed and consistency of Mercedes – both on and off the track – could have its rivals worried for what is to follow

Formula E
Apr 12, 2021
What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future Plus

What Nissan's commitment to Gen3 reveals about Formula E's future

Formula E's Gen3 era grid continues to take shape, after Nissan opted to commit to the series for another four years. Nissan's global chief operating officer explains why it has thrown its lot in with FE while other high-profile marques have decided to call it quits

Formula E
Mar 24, 2021
Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start Plus

Why the new Formula E season got off to such a controversial start

With the new Formula E season belatedly getting underway in Saudi Arabia, the championship appeared to try to make up for lost time with an overspill of action and controversy on and off the track. While some talking points could have serious repercussions, it was an explosive opener for many reasons

Formula E
Mar 1, 2021
How Andretti is planning for life after BMW Plus

How Andretti is planning for life after BMW

Michael Andretti's team is a Formula E ever-present and that's not about to change despite BMW's forthcoming exit. But, with both its drivers contracted to the German giant and McLaren weighing up a possible entry, some key decisions lie ahead

Formula E
Feb 26, 2021
The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021 Plus

The eight major plotlines to watch in Formula E 2021

The delayed 2020-21 Formula E season gets underway this week with a double-header in Saudi Arabia. The testing times were too close to call a favourite, but that's not the only area of interest to follow as the championship enters a crucial year

Formula E
Feb 25, 2021
Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test Plus

Why Formula E's 2021 season will be a crucial litmus test

As off-track politics threatens to overshadow events on it, the upcoming Formula E season is perhaps its most important since the championship's inception. And that's a shame, given that the focus should be on what promises to be its closest title fight yet

Formula E
Feb 24, 2021
How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album Plus

How Mercedes and Porsche can avoid a difficult second FE album

DS Techeetah remains FE's benchmark outfit, but it can expect a stiff challenge this year from two German automotive giants in their second seasons as full manufacturer entries. Here's how Mercedes and Porsche are doubling down to bridge the gap

Formula E
Feb 17, 2021
The magnificent seven Brits fighting for FE bragging rights Plus

The magnificent seven Brits fighting for FE bragging rights

A record seven British drivers will contest Formula E this season, including two squads with all-British lineups. But before they can consider challenging DS Techeetah for the crown, each must lead their teams' recovery to the top

Formula E
Feb 15, 2021