Stoffel Vandoorne, Mercedes, Formula E, Diriyah E-Prix, Race 1, 2022

Vandoorne takes pole for season-opener as Formula E debuts new qualifying format

Formula E

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Stoffel Vandoorne took pole position for the season-opening Diriyah E-Prix and became the first pole winner under Formula E’s new qualifying duels format.

Vandoorne defeated Andretti driver Jake Dennis in the final to secure the first pole position after beating Nick Cassidy in the quarter final and then Mercedes team mate Nyck de Vries in the semi final.

A mistake by Dennis in the final saw him touch the wall at turn 14 and drop three tenths of a second to Vandoorne. Dennis will therefore line up on the front row with De Vries in third and Andre Lotterer in fourth.

Jaguar’s Sam Bird will line up fifth on the grid, ahead of the two Envisions of Nick Cassidy and Robert Frijns. Oliver Rowland in the Mahindra should have been starting from eighth after being the slowest of the eight duels qualifiers, but a three place penalty for driving too slowly in the pits drops him to 11th on the grid.

Of the drivers who failed to reach the head-to-head shootout stage of qualifying, Lucas di Grassi and Maximillian Guenther start eighth and ninth after being fifth fastest in their respective group sessions. Pascal Wehrlein and Edoardo Mortara will start behind them in tenth and 12th – split by the penalised Rowland – after Mortara hit the barriers at turn one at the end of the second group session.

Rookies Dan Ticktum and Antonio Giovinazzi had a disappointing session, with the pair only managing to secure 20th and 22nd on the grid.

The opening race of the 2022 Formula E season will begin at 8pm local time (5pm GMT).

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Qualifying results

1Stoffel VandoorneMercedes
2Jake DennisAndretti
3Nyck de VriesMercedes
4Andre LottererPorsche
5Sam BirdJaguar
6Nick CassidyEnvision
7Robin FrijnsEnvision
8Lucas di GrassiVenturi
9Max GuentherNissan Edams
10Pascal WehrleinPorsche
11Oliver RowlandMahindra
12Edoardo MortaraVenturi
13Jean-Eric VergneTecheetah
14Mitch EvansJaguar
15Sergio Sette CamaraDragon Penske
16Antonio Felix da CostaTecheetah
17Oliver AskewAndretti
18Alexander SimsMahindra
19Oliver TurkeyNio
20Dan TicktumNio
21Sebastien BuemiNissan Edams
22Antonio GiovinazziDragon Penske

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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4 comments on “Vandoorne takes pole for season-opener as Formula E debuts new qualifying format”

  1. The format was okay, there was too much downtime, but the head-to-heads were quite entertaining. The graphic was fun, but the lack of splitscreen for the runs was a bit of a shame. Then when they finally did splitscreen in the finally they felt the need to sync the laps up (but couldn’t actually sync them properly) so it became a weird mess.

    Probably better to not run the two cars at the same time and let the initial qualy lap in the group phase or previous round decide which of the two gets to go last, that way you can show both laps in full and still have that gap graphic in between.

    That said, the entire thing looked entirely bush league again by sheer virtue of not having anything going on. I tried to count the spectators on the almost empty stands, and I didn’t even get up to ten. And it showed from the pre-show on, the three presenters stood in the pitlane but there was no chatter, you could hear a pin drop with how quiet it was. I’ve seen kart races that felt more alive. I don’t know if this is location or if SA has strict Covid rules in place that prohibit any spectators from being there (but there were some there so I doubt it), but eh, it felt so meh because of a complete lack of atmosphere.

    1. @sjaakfoo I actually didn’t mind the split screen being synced – I found that a better solution to the delta graphic on the left side, personally.

      I think getting to see both laps at once is better than only focusing on one driver at a time fullscreen, because we’ll inevitably miss the mistake that makes the difference between the two duelists.

      Also I think it’s preferable having the delta graphic in the middle of the screen between two feeds, because otherwise I found myself just staring at that rather than at the drivers actually putting in their laps.

      I think there are other things that could enhance it, like watching from onboard rather than trackside. But it’ll be refined as the season goes on, I’m sure. Overall, a successful first run for the system I felt.

  2. playstation361
    28th January 2022, 15:59

    Hope Rowland speed picks up.

  3. The format was a success.
    Still, some fine tuning to be done with the broadcast & the sync of some cameras on the final duel, but it was an entertaining & fast paced session compared to the previous years.
    Also, a lot more fair, we’ll see the best drivers in the Top Ten on merit.

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