‘We have the potential but it’s so competitive’: Formula E title fight on the agenda for Nick Cassidy

 (Sam Bloxham / LAT Images)
(Sam Bloxham / LAT Images)

Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy is relishing the chance to prove he is in the mix for the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship title ahead of this weekend’s inaugural Cape Town E-Prix.

The 28-year-old registered his first podium of the season last time out in Hyderabad and will be looking to go one better this weekend as the all-electric racing series heads to sub-Saharan Africa for the first time in its history.

P2 in Hyderabad continued an impressive run of form for Cassidy, who has been one of Formula E’s most consistent performers since mid-way through last season.

In fact, the Kiwi’s form has been so strong that he’s recorded just one less point than Season 8 champion Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ/DS Penske) since winning the 2022 New York City E-Prix in Round 11.

And speaking ahead of Saturday’s race, Cassidy admitted he sees himself as a member of the chasing pack for the title this season.

“I think I’d like to be in the fight for the top three and the championship,” he said. “That would be in my eyes a great season. It depends on circumstances, because I think in motorsport, there can always be things outside of your control. But I think that’s our potential.

“We have the potential to be in the points every race and so that’s ultimately got to be the target. And then we will see in London where we are and if that’s true or not. But it’s Formula E – it’s so competitive, it’s so difficult to get the day right. Everything has to work out to win in the championship, which makes it amazing for everyone involved: the fans, the teams, the drivers.”

Envision have impressed in the opening four rounds of the season and the Silverstone-based outfit currently sit third in the team standings, with drivers Sebastien Buemi and Cassidy positioned in fourth and fifth in the driver’s ranking, respectively.

Meanwhile Envision’s cousins, Jaguar TCS Racing, have fared less well, with Cassidy’s compatriot Mitch Evans languishing in 12th – sub-par for the man who finished Season 8 as runner-up.

Cassidy and Evans raced together in single-seater during their formative years in New Zealand, and the latter actually pipped Cassidy to the Toyota Racing Series title in 2011 while they were teammates.

“We’ve been really close since we were six years old,” Cassidy explains. “He’s one of my best mates and it’s really cool, to be racing together in Formula E. Especially now almost as teammates, so we can relate to a lot of things about the car and about development.

“Back home we were quite big rivals in karting and then single series we went different paths. But we’ve ended up together in Formula E which is quite cool.

“From my side, I don’t think there’s any rivalry at all really. I’m really happy for him when he’s doing well. I supported him last year, watching him fight for the championship. I get on with Stoff as well so that was quite cool to see those two guys go at it. And hopefully this year we are part of the fight as well.”

 (Jaguar Racing via Getty Images)
(Jaguar Racing via Getty Images)

Early signs would suggest that Cassidy is certainly capable of being in the mix for the Season 9 crown and the weekend offers an opportunity to further prove his title credentials at the first ever Cape Town E-Prix.

Following an Indian debut last time out, Formula E is set for another historic race in its first visit to sub-Saharan Africa.

The 2.921km circuit is expected to be the fastest of the 16-race season and features bumpy braking zones and a pacy, narrow section midway. The track snakes around the DHL Stadium and skirts the coastline looking out on Robben Island, with Table Mountain in the backdrop.

“Well, I think it’s throwing up some surprises already because the weather is really good, I’m not really designed for the strength of sun, so I needed a bit more suntan lotion than I imagined! But it is really nice, and the track looks quite fast and challenging as well.

“This is year three for me now with the team, so I’m going to some tracks that I’ve been to before, but the majority are new. I think it’s a really cool part of the championship because as drivers we’ve become very adaptable and everyone is very good at picking out circuits quickly, so it’s nice to have that ability.

“I don’t think that’s the case in every championship where people maybe rely on testing or other things to build a feeling. Whereas here, I think you’ve got a grid full of guys who are naturally very good at adapting to new circuits.

“I think the race will be close and exciting, hopefully. Obviously, India proved to be that way. If we can repeat a race like India, without safety cars, it would be fantastic.”

::Watch the inaugural 2023 Cape Town E-Prix live on terrestrial television on Channel 4 at 14:00 GMT on Saturday 25 February