Increasing the level of difficulty, the fast and complicated Saudi track received many changes
When it comes to the Ad-Diriyah track in the capital Riyadh, Formula E World Championship teams are sure of one thing: nothing is easy at the Saudi Arabia races, which will be held next Friday and Saturday as a double round. In a circuit with 21 curves spread over 4,014m, the track presents a high average of one curve every 190m. The conditions of the track, located in the middle of the desert, naturally change day by day as the cars lay rubber on the asphalt and, perhaps more critical, as the wind brings or takes the sand away.
But in 2021 there will be new components of difficulty: the track surface has been re-asphalted, which should already change the coefficient of adhesion, and four curves had their profile altered, especially the number 14, which precedes the most important stretch of the track.
In this scenario, the Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi starts his 2021 campaign again as one of the main names in Formula E. The Audi Sport team driver will fight for the second championship, since he won the first title in 2017. “We will start the season right away in one of the biggest challenges on the calendar in terms of finding the perfect balance between energy consumption and pure speed. Whoever wins in Ad-Diriyah will it, ”says Di Grassi.
“Because of the sand, the wind and the progressive rubber layers laid on the track, every day we find a surfface with different demands. But in 2021, in addition to the renovation and changes in the layout, we will also be running two night races for the first time. So, there are many variables in a fast and already quite demanding track”, summarizes the Brazilian.
According to the Audi Sport team, Di Grassi was the driver who overtook the most during the 2020, a season in which for the first time he did not finish in the top three. In his championship career, Lucas has two third places, two runners-up positions and the 2017 title, as well as sixth place in 2020.
Recently elected, for the fifth consecutive year, as the best Brazilian driver by journalists voting for the Golden Helmet, Di Grassi remains the competitor who has won the most trophies in Formula E, with records of 32 podiums and 796 points in the six seasons.