Envision Virgin Racing driver Robin Frijns believes he and team-mate Sam Bird will be ‘on the limit’ during this weekend’s Mexico City E-Prix as their all-electric Formula E cars are set to record their fastest qualifying speeds to date approaching 240kph (150mph).
Returning to the city’s 2.606km circuit for the fourth consecutive year, drivers will compete on a modified 16-turn clockwise configuration, which sees the removal of the previous chicane on the iconic Peraltada bend that has witnessed several racing incidents in the past. That in turn will see the championship’s Gen2 cars stay on full power for longer leading to higher speeds.
Dutchman Frijns, 28, said: “I think it’s extremely important and a wise decision to remove the chicane from this circuit layout as we’ve seen some bad incidents here in the past. It should also make the racing much more exciting and I believe there could be more overtaking opportunities this time around. From our time spent on our simulator, the data has shown that we could be approaching our fastest speeds around the Peraltada bend which means we’re going to be really on the limit. It’s going to be a great race and I think I could really capitalize on being in the later qualifying group.”
British racer Sam Bird, 33, said: “Last time out [in Santiago] was tough for us, but to come away with a few points was really important. You have to play the long game in this championship and every point counts. We’ve spent a lot of time in the simulator, as the track has seen some significant changes that could allow overtaking to be easier but we may also have to deal with tire degradation as the track temperatures rise in the afternoon, so there’s a lot to manage come race day. Luck has not always been on our side in Mexico so I’m looking forward to changing that this time around.”
Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director for the Envision Virgin Racing team, added: “This race is always a great spectacle with capacity crowds and wheel-to-wheel racing, and this weekend’s event promises to be much of the same. After our win at the season opener in Diriyah, the team has endured a couple of frustrating races, but we’ve put these behind us now and are fully focused on getting a strong result in Mexico City.”
The Formula E Mexico City E-Prix takes place on Saturday, 15 February with the race beginning at 16:00 local time (New York City = 17:00, London = 22:00, Beijing = 18:00 +1 day).
It will also mark the first event for the team’s new partner Teijin and will also be attended by the Chairman of the Board for Envision Virgin Racing, Franz Jung.