Light spectacle, two winners and global music stars: Hankook and Formula E in Saudi Arabia
- Regardless of the cooler temperature in the evening, the Hankook iON Race excellently supported drivers, to which they have become accustomed
- The Hankook experience stand at the Formula E Fan Village gave the visitors a whole host of interactive moment
- The reigning Formula E champion Jake Dennis (GBR/Andretti Formula E) won the race and attributed the victory to Hankook iON Race that coped well with the environment
Seoul, Korea, January 29, 2024 – The Diriyah E-Prix in Saudi Arabia added some sparkle to Formula E. Roughly 170 lighting masts transformed the 2.495-kilometer street circuit around the UNESCO World Heritage Site into a sea of light, giving races two and three of the 2024 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship a spine-tingling atmosphere.
Race one of the double-headers on Friday evening thrilled spectators in the grandstands in the Saudi Arabian desert. After some exciting battles and the perfect race strategy, it was reigning Formula E champion Jake Dennis (GBR/Andretti Formula E) who crossed the finish line in first place. “It was a good race for us. We must have had a decent grip to have won the race by that kind of margin – that was rather special. The tires really coped well,” said the 28-year-old, praising the Hankook iON Race. He was followed in second and third place by pole-sitter Jean-Éric Vergne (FRA/DS Penske) and Nick Cassidy (NZL/Jaguar TCS Racing).
On Saturday, Jaguar-driver Nick Cassidy from the Jaguar TCS Racing team took his place in the Formula E history books as the winner of the desert race. Robin Frijns (NLD/Envision Racing) was runner-up, finishing ahead of Oliver Rowland (GBR/Nissan Formula E Team) in third place. Three races into Season 10, Cassidy tops the table with 56 points, followed by Pascal Wehrlein (DEU/TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team/38 points) and Vergne (33 points).
Despite the cooler evening temperatures, the Hankook iON Race supported the drivers in an excellent manner, to which they have become accustomed. “The asphalt on the track in Diriyah is very slippery, plus you have the sand that is constantly blown onto the circuit by the wind. However, our Hankook iON Race produced its customary fine performance and provided the drivers with the grip they needed to push at any time,” says Sujin Jang, Chief Engineer of Formula E Tire Development.
However, the 22 drivers were not the only ones who put on a great show in the two races at the Diriyah E-Prix. An entertaining fringe program in the Formula E Fan Village, including the Hankook experience stand, gave the visitors a whole host of interactive moments. Another highlight was the drone show in the run-up to the race. The band OneRepublic brought the curtain down on Friday’s action, while the legendary Backstreet Boys provided a fitting climax to the event.
Benjamin Yoon (Hankook Team Manager, Motorsports & Marketing): “The two-night races in Saudi Arabia are an absolute highlight on the Formula E calendar. As well as the drivers and teams, the Hankook iON Race was also at its very best again. However, the thrilling action on the track is not the only thing that makes this such an extraordinary motorsport event, but also the magnificent spectacle, with a huge drone show and concerts, including the Backstreet Boys and OneRepublic. We are very lucky, as official technical partner and tire supplier, to be part of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.”
Nico Müller (CHE/Abt Cupra Formula E Team): “The circuit in Diriyah is a real challenge for the tires. The asphalt is very tired and the track is always covered in sand and dust. That makes the surface very slippery. However, the tire ensured that we still had the necessary grip. Furthermore, it is very consistent, which makes it easy for us drivers to predict how it will behave. That is a very big positive.”
Maximilian Günther (DEU/Maserati MSG Racing): “The tire is very consistent, which gives me extra confidence out on the track. However, the good grip provided by the tires is compromised a lot by the sand and smooth surface. Despite this, I am very happy with the performance on the whole.”
American actor Adrien Brody visited Formula E in Diriyah, where he too was impressed by the performance of the Hankook iON Race. The Oscar winner from New York took the Gen3 demo car for a spin. “I grew up with drag racing and have gained a bit of experience at racetracks in the past. As such, I am very grateful for the opportunity to drive the Formula E GEN3 at the Diriyah Street Circuit. That has given me even more appreciation and respect for this sport and the talent, ability, and fighting spirit possessed by these drivers. These electric cars have so much torque and are so unbelievably light that you really need to be very sensitive to get them around the corners and avoid them becoming twitchy on the straights,” said Brody after his test drive.
The ABB FIA Formula E World Championship is first in the Sustainable Championship Index (SChI) for the third year in a row. The fully-electric series occupies the top spot, ahead of Formula 1 in second place. Third place is shared by Extreme E and MotoGP. British firm Enovation Consulting used 25 criteria to investigate the sustainability of 106 motorsport championships around the world. These were determined based on guidelines and models from the UN, EU and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Hankook iON Race is made of roughly 30% sustainable materials. After the races, every set of tires is completely recycled. This way, Hankook plays a key role in the sustainability concept of Formula E.
Formula E is booming – the Hankook Mexico City E-Prix, the opening round of Season 10 of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, achieved record figures in a number of important markets. 3.4 million spectators in the USA followed the race – more than any other Formula E race in the past. The number of views in Great Britain also rose by an impressive 29 percent. This success was announced by TNT Sports, who were broadcasting a Formula E race in the United Kingdom for the first time. With an increase of more than 205 percent, the social media and website of Formula E also enjoyed a boost in popularity.