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Formula E: Cassidy and Buemi reflect on disastrous, championship-defining, race for Envision Racing

Envision teammates Nick Cassidy and Sebastien Buemi endured a torrid penultimate race of the Formula E season, with a collision between them ruining Cassidy’s title aspirations

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The Envision Racing pair of Nick Cassidy and Sebastien Buemi came together in the first London E-Prix. After the race, they shared their views on a difficult day.

Envision Buemi Cassidy Formula E London E-Prix
Envision could have taken a commanding 1-2 in the first London E-Prix, but only walked away with a sole P3 finish. (Image Credit: @Envision_Racing on Twitter)

The pain was compounded for Cassidy. Not only did the incident with Buemi end his race and his chances of a maiden Formula E title, but Envision also lost major ground in the Teams’ championship fight.

Now, they go into the second part of the London double-header – the season finale – equal on points with Jaguar.

Mitch Evans’s penalty meant that Cassidy and Buemi started from P1 and P3 respectively, with newly crowned Formula E champion Jake Dennis between.

A strong start elevated Buemi to P2, providing Envision the opportunity to control the race from there. That would have further bolstered their Teams’ Championship lead and allowed Cassidy to take the Drivers’ Championship down to the wire by significantly eating into Dennis’s then 24-point advantage.

However, with Cassidy leading and having taken his mandated attack modes, he dropped behind Buemi to allow his teammate to do the same.

First, the Swiss driver missed an activation point. Then, a lapse in understanding and communication saw Cassidy take his front wing off against the rear of Buemi’s car, ending his race in the process.

Envision have since taken ultimate responsibility, saying they tried to be too greedy, producing a confusing scenario – one with catastrophic consequences.

Jake Dennis was able to hold on to take P2 and claim the title. The Envision Racing incident proved to be the pivotal moment in a drama-filled and action-packed race.

Disappointed for the team

Despite a late-race accident with Nissan’s Norman Nato, Buemi was able to navigate through the red flags and chaos to bring is wounded Envision car home in P3.

Whilst Nato received a penalty for his part in causing the ensuing pile-up, Sam Bird – who finished in P4 – felt Buemi was to blame.

Bird’s Jaguar team now lead the Teams’ Championship race on account of more race wins. Nick Cassidy is rumoured to be replacing Bird at Jaguar next season, so the stakes and tensions are high.

Either way, Buemi’s points may prove critical in the fight for the teams’ title.

Speaking to accredited media – including FormulaNerds – in the post-race press conference, a downtrodden Buemi spoke of his frustration over a race that had shown such early promise.

“Kind of disappointed for the team, really,” he began.

“We had a good plan, we managed to put the cars first and second after the first three corners, and then I did everything I could for Nick to be able to take his attack and stay in the lead.

“And then we wanted, obviously, to give me the opportunity to take the attack as well. And then I missed one of the attacks, which I think cost us the win today. If I had not missed it, different story.

“Then, of course, the contact with Nick was really unfortunate. We need to review for that not to happen again. Yeah, so it’s a podium, but really disappointed with the outcome. I think we would have had a much better day.”

Helping Cassidy the whole idea of the day

When asked how that incident unfolded, Buemi didn’t give much away, steering clear of conversation within the team, choosing to focus instead on external factors:

“We still need to review, obviously. You know, I was willing to help him out – that was the whole idea of the day. But you have people under-consuming [power] massively in front of you, you have that concertina effect. It’s really difficult to keep your nose clean.”

He went on to add how difficult it is to keep things clean in the early part of the lap, between turns two and five, where the incident took place. “It’s very narrow,” Buemi pointed out.

“If they would have told me to let him by, I would have done so. But in a safe place, you know. Not like that. You don’t want to lose an extra position by letting someone by.”

In the press pen, Buemi elaborated further, telling media that “communication could have been better” within the team when Cassidy wanted to get back past.

Buemi did the talking

Understandably, Nick Cassidy cut a despondent figure in the press pen after the race, clearly still processing what had just happened:

“I kind of can’t believe it. But it is what it is. Big congratulations to Jake [Dennis] – he’s done an amazing job this season, it just wasn’t to be for us.”

Cassidy confirmed that he had spoken to his teammate after the championship-defining incident, revealing that he didn’t need to say much and that Buemi “did the talking.”

It was an unforced error that the New Zealander doesn’t feel the need to watch back and analyse.

Kicked in the nuts

Cassidy did strike a defiant tone at points, saying that he’ll “race to win” in the season finale and look to “come out next year absolutely swinging.”

Explaining how the race-ending issue came to pass, the 28-year-old detailed how he came to be behind his teammate, following his dominant start:

“I let Seb [Buemi] past – trying to be nice to the team, trying to help the team out, trying to help his race.

“I offered to give up the lead, even though my race was won. I lifted off and let him past to support him.”

When asked why he’d do that, Cassidy zeroed in on a team-first approach, despite the personal stakes.

“Because we’re also fighting for the Teams’ Championship, and I like to think I’m a good team player,” he began.

“Maybe I’m too good a team player.”

The former Super Formula champion was candid in his appraisal of the recent rounds, that ultimately shaped the title fight:

“Look, I got kicked in the nuts in Rome, I got kicked in the nuts a bit today.”

FormulaNerds asked Cassidy if it was some consolation to him, or if it helped the hurt of losing out on the championship, that he raced for the team, in a selfless way:

“I think it almost makes it worse. Sometimes you just gotta win the race,” he admitted.

Featured Image Credit: @Envision_Racing on Twitter

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