Extreme E alters Saudi Arabia format after dust concerns

Excessive dust in the Saudi Arabian desert has led Extreme E to alter the format of its qualifying heats and finals only two days ahead of the championship’s inaugural round.

Extreme E alters Saudi Arabia format after dust concerns

Multi-car qualifying races for the Desert X-Prix event in AlUla have been replaced by single-car time trials on the Saturday.

Each driver pairing will complete one morning run and one afternoon run and have their average lap time taken to decide the grid for the semi-finals.

The choice of starting order for these qualification time trials will still be based on a lottery draw.

The grids for the semi-finals and final on Sunday have now been capped at three entries in favour of the previous plan to have the nine teams compete over one five-car and a four-car run.

This is largely out of concern for safety, due to narrower track confines for the five-mile circuit and the increased levels of dust kicked up by the cars compared to the initial Saudi recce in January.

Extreme E co-founder Alejandro Agag said: “When we came and we tested in January, we sort of thought of this.

“There was no dust because of the humidity of the night. The sand was more humid. The cars were going and no dust was coming up. We arrived here last week: huge clouds of dust.

“So, we tweaked the race format. Saturday, one by one. It's going to be very cool. Then, races of three cars instead of four [and five] cars.

“It's going to be fine. Actually, it's going to look pretty cool. It's going to look like Mad Max, all the cars going and the dust behind.”

Competitors were informed of the alterations to the format by Agag at 1800hrs on Wednesday during a drivers’ briefing.

Extreme E had planned to undertake three simulation races in preparation for its maiden season, however they were all cancelled as a result of the pandemic.

Agag added: “'Let's go have an experiment that costs already like 40 million euros to see how it works. That's what we're doing so it's a big risk.”

Agag is also toying with the idea of having a surprise television reveal of the starting drivers.

Teams need only decide which of their male and female driver will take the race start five minutes ahead of the scheduled start time.

He wants all six drivers entered into the three-car heat to line up alongside one another. The driver taking the race start for each team will then step forward on command to reveal themselves.

As part of this plan, only Agag will be aware of the nominated driver. He will then check that no teams have made a pre-mediate switch in response to which of their rivals steps forward.

shares
comments
Prodrive joins forces with Hamilton's Extreme E team

Previous article

Prodrive joins forces with Hamilton's Extreme E team

Next article

Button competing in Extreme E to improve off-road racing skills

Button competing in Extreme E to improve off-road racing skills
Load comments

About this article

Series Extreme E
Author Matt Kew
How Extreme E exceeded expectations to pass its first major test Prime

How Extreme E exceeded expectations to pass its first major test

The racing may have lacked the explosive conclusion to Formula E's first race in 2014 and was not without its hiccups. But Extreme E's leap into the unknown appears to have paid off, delivering a spectacle quite unlike anything else

Extreme E
Apr 5, 2021
Extreme E: The team-by-team guide Prime

Extreme E: The team-by-team guide

The world’s newest motorsport discipline is set to go racing for the first time this weekend. Extreme E’s innovations and plans have raised some eyebrows, but it also provides an exciting list of competitors and teams for the inaugural campaign

Extreme E
Apr 2, 2021
How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport Prime

How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport

The new off-road SUV series aims to go boldly into the unknown on several fronts, but perhaps its most significant measure will involve the energy source powering its fleet of cars

Extreme E
Apr 1, 2021
How XE's star power puts Formula E under pressure Prime

How XE's star power puts Formula E under pressure

With the addition of Jenson Button's own team to join the involvement of fellow Formula 1 champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in Extreme E's ranks, the new electric SUV series is brimming with star power to enable it to deliver on its promise

Extreme E
Jan 29, 2021
Driving the electric beast behind XE’s off-road eco-crusade Prime

Driving the electric beast behind XE’s off-road eco-crusade

In October, Motorsport.com headed to the South of France to sample the Odyssey 21 - the titanic 550bhp machine underpinning Alejandro Agag's latest electric venture. But for such a big beast, it's a nimble machine that should provide spectacular entertainment…

Extreme E
Dec 10, 2020
Why a fearsome ‘electric alliance’ will have lasting significance Prime

Why a fearsome ‘electric alliance’ will have lasting significance

OPINION: Formula E has invested in Extreme E to create a formal allegiance between the two most influential electric motorsport series. Allaying fears of financial uncertainty, together they will shape the future of battery-powered motorsport competition…

Formula E
Nov 4, 2020
Why latest Hamilton-Rosberg battle won’t have the same edge Prime

Why latest Hamilton-Rosberg battle won’t have the same edge

Even four years after it ended, the rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg has yet to be topped for drama and intrigue by anything F1 has seen since. But the next iteration commencing in 2021 will played out on much different terms...

Extreme E
Oct 30, 2020
How the new electric series with planet-changing aims will work Prime

How the new electric series with planet-changing aims will work

The new off-road electric race series from the people who brought you Formula E has no less an aim than saving the world’s most at-risk habitats. Here’s who things are set to get underway in 2021

Extreme E
Jan 14, 2020