Guess who’s back: After a break of four races, Robin Frijns returns to Formula E next Saturday (March 25). At the premiere of the São Paulo E-Prix in the heart of the Brazilian metropolis, the Dutchman will fight for the first points for the newly formed ABT CUPRA team together with his teammate Nico Müller. After an accident at the season opener in mid-January, Frijns had to take a break with a hand injury.
The anticipation in the paddock for the debut of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in Brazil, for which long-time ABT driver and local hero Lucas di Grassi in particular had fought hard, is enormous: the 2.933-kilometre circuit, which also runs through the Sambadrome known from carnival celebrations, provides a spectacular backdrop for the sixth of a total of 16 rounds in the ninth season.
For ABT CUPRA, the São Paulo E-Prix is something of a fresh start to the current season. On the one hand, because Robin Frijns, who is experienced with 77 Formula E races under his belt, is returning to the team. But above all because the team is hoping for a technically smooth race weekend: most recently in Cape Town, Nico Müller and reserve driver Kelvin van der Linde were unable to take part in either qualifying or the race because the manufacturer Mahindra Racing withdrew all cars due to safety concerns.
Saturday’s race starts at 2 p.m. local time (6 p.m. CET) and runs over 31 laps. A list of all broadcasters is available at fiaformulae.com.
Nico Müller: « A classic Formula E circuit »
Nico Müller’s anticipation is rising. « A race on a new track, and then in such a cool location as São Paulo, is always a highlight for a race driver, » says the Swiss. « The track itself is again a true classic Formula E circuit: very technical, some 90-degree corners, exciting combinations and long straights with overtaking opportunities at the end. » At the beginning of the week, Müller prepared in the simulator together with Robin Frijns. « As always, we worked intensively and invested a lot of energy – nevertheless, we won’t see how close to reality the simulations were until after the first laps in São Paulo – after all, that’s what Formula E is all about. »
Robin Frijns: « So good to be back »
« It feels insanely good to be preparing for a race again with Nico and the whole team – it’s so good to be back », says Robin Frijns. « The past two months have felt like an eternity. Many thanks to the team, the FIA, all the doctors and physios, and the whole Formula E paddock, who have been patient with me despite me being so impatient. » Frijns completed a first dress rehearsal last weekend with the 12-hour race at Sebring. « My hand feels good, racing in Sebring went smoothly, I’m fit for São Paulo. I was in contact with the team the whole time, was involved in everything and am up to date with all the procedures – the race weekend can start. »
Thomas Biermaier: « Pleased to have Robin back on board »
Four weeks have passed since the difficult weekend in South Africa. « The break was good for the whole team, everyone was able to take a deep breath and gather new strength, » says Team Principal and ABT CEO Thomas Biermaier. « Now we are delighted that Robin is back on board and will certainly support us with his experience. At the same time, we say a big thank you to Kelvin, who has done a mega job on and off the track over the past two months and will of course remain part of the team. »