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Formula E

Big Formula E names in high-stakes race for Cassidy-vacated seat

by Sam Smith
5 min read

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A plum seat in Formula E is now up for grabs, as Nick Cassidy gets set to swap the green of Envision for the black-and-white of Jaguar later this summer in readiness for the 2024 campaign.

As revealed by The Race earlier on Thursday, a deal was recently formalised for 2023 title protagonist Cassidy to join Jaguar, where he will race alongside Mitch Evans in place of Sam Bird. This will crank up speculation of who Envision Racing will choose to race alongside Sebastien Buemi next season.

Among its options, Envision is believed to be looking closely at a surprise move for Robin Frijns to return to the team after a single season away.

Robin Frijns, Abt Cupra Formula E Team

Two-time E-Prix winner Frijns is believed to be looking for a more competitive seat in Formula E for 2024 after a difficult campaign with the returning Abt operation. Abt has struggled with a largely uncompetitive Mahindra car this season, scoring just eight points from the 12 races held so far.

Frijns is understood to have a contract for 2024 with the Abt Cupra team but is not expected to be blocked should he be able to source another seat elsewhere.

When asked by The Race whether – without getting any specific names – Abt would stand in the way of a wantaway driver, team boss Thomas Biermaier said: “First of all, we have such an open relationship with our drivers, they’re part of our team, part of our family. You always have open discussions and negotiations.

“If somebody would come, I would be always open to have a coffee with them and have a discussion with them. And then we would see what would be the best first for the team – and I include drivers in ‘the team’. Always we have to maximise the team first, and then if the team is not affected, we can look for different possibilities.

“But currently they [Frijns and Nico Mueller] are doing a great job, both, but this we knew before.

Robin Frijns Nico Mueller Abt Cupra Formula E

“It’s a shame they can’t show it with good results. Really it’s a shame that they can’t show it with podiums or with trophies. Because for us a P8, a P9, a P10 is already like a podium.

“And everybody expected [it to go] in a different way, and it’s also difficult to motivate them and to motivate the team, but until now I can’t complain, with the team and with both drivers we’re doing a fantastic job the whole season and I think we’re getting the maximum out of the car.”

Frijns is also anticipated to soon be announced as part of BMW’s World Endurance Championship Hypercar line-up, which he intends to run alongside a Formula E campaign in 2024.

Another option for Envision could be welcoming back outgoing Jaguar driver Bird. He drove for the team between 2014 and 2020. Both Bird and Frijns also appear to have the possibility of seats at Andretti, as the team is expected to replace Andre Lotterer.

Andretti has not formally confirmed that Lotterer will move on from the team but he is expected to concentrate solely on Porsche’s 963 Hypercar programme in the WEC next year.

That means the berth alongside Jake Dennis will be equally as attractive as the Envision opportunity.

While Frijns will be on Andretti’s list of potential acquisitions, his situation is slightly complicated by his expected BMW deal; the WRT outfit that will run the BMW programme currently already fields Frijns in the WEC’s LMP2 division.

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Ironically, it was Frijns’ then status as an Audi factory driver that enforced his move from Andretti to Envision – then Virgin – in the summer of 2018 as Andretti morphed into a factory-backed squad with BMW.

Andretti is understood by The Race to be in no hurry to finalise its driving squad for next season and is unlikely to confirm anything until just before the official pre-season test at Valencia in late October.

It is not thought that recent Formula E debutant David Beckmann – who substituted for Lotterer, occupied by the Le Mans 24 Hours test, in Jakarta last month – will be considered for a seat at the team for 2024.

But fellow German Maximilian Guenther, who joined Maserati last autumn effectively as a replacement for Formula 1-bound Nyck de Vries, may come under the spotlight regarding a potential move back to the team he previously won three races with.

The recent winner of the second Jakarta E-Prix, who has a one-season deal with Maserati, could be on the market this summer if his current team’s interest in Felipe Drugovich evolves into a race seat.

Maserati is also thought to be one of two teams – the second being Nissan – De Vries could most likely end up at now his exit from AlphaTauri has been confirmed. De Vries was due to drive for Maserati this season before earning an F1 drive for 2023.

There is also a possibility the Guenther-Edoardo Mortara line-up could be unchanged for 2024, with Mortara understood to have a fixed-in deal with Maserati until the end of next season.

Guenther could be of interest at Envision, as too could Jack Aitken – who will test for the team for a second time in the rookie session in Rome on Friday.

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But Aitken is also likely to receive an offer from the Action Express squad for a potential Cadillac IMSA SportsCar Championship programme next year. The ex-Williams F1 reserve and one-time grand prix starter is contesting some endurance races for the team this season alongside Pipo Derani and former Mahindra Formula E driver Alexander Sims.

Several clashes between that calendar and Formula E’s schedule would make a full dual programme impossible, meaning that Aitken is likely to be forced into a straight choice between the two for 2024, if there’s even an option in Formula E.

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