14 Jan 21
29 Nov 20
Envision Virgin Racing's Nick Cassidy may be a new driver to the Formula E fold, but there's little risk on the team's part in selecting the talented 26-year-old. The driver topped the Marrakesh Rookie Test and has impressed on Day 1 in Valencia - there's plenty more to come from the New Zealander, too.
Nick Cassidy was announced back in July as Envision Virgin Racing's replacement for stalwart Sam Bird, who flew the nest for pastures new in Jaguar Racing, after six seasons with the outfit. So, big boots to fill for the New Zealander, but he's wasted no time in trying to fill them.
Testing can never be taken as the clearest indicator of ultimate pace, and certainly not after a single day's running. Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo provides a different challenge all-round to the tight, twisty and bumpy street circuits on the Formula E calendar and there are intensive, pre-planned programmes all teams and drivers work to, mixing race runs, qualifying efforts and flying laps. All that said, setting a quick time in any given session can never be a bad thing.
Cassidy's afternoon effort on a tricky, drying Circuit Ricardo Tormo saw him round out his first day in-car as a full-time Formula E driver with the fourth fastest time, no mean feat given the interruptions the pandemic and dovetailing his on-going racing commitments have had on his preparations.
"It’s been a really cool year and I’m really happy to get started to be honest," said the 26-year-old. "It’s been a difficult last few months in terms of being in a different continent to where I needed to be to prepare wasn’t easy. We’ve made the most of things, though and I felt prepared for the test even given the challenges.
"It’s been mainly theory and making the most of video conferencing since I joined the team. I haven’t been able to be in Europe and I’ve been busy with Super Formula and Super GT and I’ve had to split my focus but I’m still in good shape today.
"My experience in Japan is quite different in very different machinery but working with a manufacturer and developing the technical side of things I’ve learned a lot. There’s plenty I can bring here to the table. At the same time, there’s a lot to learn from the guys at Envision Virgin Racing."
An encouraging start, then, with so little time in the car and much of his pre-testing prep being taken in theory, not in practice.
An open teammate will aid Cassidy's bedding-in process, and getting to work on the car's systems and setup in Valencia will ensure he leaves Spain much the better for his time in the cockpit.
"I’m excited to be alongside Robin (Frijns)," continued the Kiwi. "His natural talent is incredible and he’s really fast, so it’s a great reference point. He’s also super easy to get along with and that’s all cool. In terms of learning from him, I think that’ll be a constant evolution throughout the season and I’ll be asking more as time goes by.
"I was limited in terms of input at the Rookie Test in Marrakesh with a one-day contract. There were certain systems and things kept blind and the focus was driving. Being involved here as a driver with development has changed things and I’ve got plenty to learn but I was always aware of that."
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