Cassidy slices through pack to take ABB Driver of Progress in Tokyo

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Cassidy slices through pack to take ABB Driver of Progress in Tokyo

Perspective is everything. Nick Cassidy lost the lead of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship in the inaugural Tokyo E-Prix, yet the Jaguar TCS Racing driver also limited the damage admirably with a stirring recovery drive that earned him the ABB Driver of Progress Award with 12 moves.


It is that wider championship context that makes Cassidy’s eighth place in the Japanese capital a matter of four points gained rather than much lost, following the technical infringement in qualifying that forced him to start down in 19th.

Cassidy's race, which he said was spent “more on the calm side", was a meld of patience and calculated aggression. He picked his moments well and a mid-race surge left him well placed to benefit as others without the same kind of restraint ran into trouble (and each other).  

FE_S10_R05_CAS_DHLs_(16x9) (1)

As a case in point, Cassidy gained just two places from his starting position across the first 15 laps of the E-Prix. He ran no higher than 16th in the first half of the race or so, but that was partly due to playing a waiting game and partly due to using both his ATTACK MODE activations relatively early.

CATCH UP: Watch the best of the action from the first Tokyo E-Prix

Nonetheless, it was a good phase of the race for Cassidy in terms of saving small amounts of energy despite having the extra 50kW of power available. Cassidy opted to use this sparingly, benefitting in terms of keep close to the cars that he dropped behind while running off-line to activate it but also managing to reserve 1-1.5% more usable energy  than the majority of the field.


It set Cassidy up to pick off several cars in quick succession without burning through his surplus. He rose from 17th to 12th in just over four laps, a period in which he had the highest average speed of any driver including a personal best of 109km/h – although interestingly his top speeds were never stunning in these laps, which shows the benefit of consistent speed through the lap versus peaks in a straight line.

Cassidy’s mini-charge started with muscling his way past Sacha Fenestraz, via a little bit of wheel-banging. That was a forceful but essential move – the Nissan driver was quick but energy-hungry, with around 3% difference in state of charge between the two at one stage in the second half of the race. Had Cassidy failed to get that move done he could easily have been bottled up behind the driver who eventually finished just outside of the points himself in 11th.

READ MORE: 'Mega' race on Tokyo streets sees Cassidy earn points

With a little bit of luck on his side as the likes of Mahindra Racing's Nyck de Vries, Lucas di Grassi (ABT CUPRA) and Cassidy’s own Jaguar teammate Mitch Evans hit trouble, Cassidy was knocking on the door of the points when the race was neutralised behind the Safety Car. That gave him just over 10 laps to get into the top 10, although the caution had neutralised some of his energy advantage.

Tokyo Cassidy energy

Mugging DS PENSKE's Jean-Eric Vergne swiftly after the restart put him on the fringes of the points though, and crucially Cassidy had managed his energy well enough to be pushing to the end of the race, giving him enough to pressure some weaker packages around him.

He finally made it into the points when ERT driver Sergio Sette Camara made a late dive to activate his ATTACK MODE, and gained further places as Robin Frijns tripped over Norman Nato (Andretti) then post-race Edoardo Mortara (Mahindra Racing) was disqualified.

Cassidy feels this is not the benchmark powertrain at the moment in terms of efficiency, admitting: "I don't feel like we're super efficient right now.” So this was not a straightforward burn from the stern by picking cars off at will with a handsome energy advantage as they lift and coast more.

It was more careful and opportunistic than anything else. But Cassidy still did the hard work to make 12 moves stick and get into a position to benefit – earning points that team boss James Barclay says could be “invaluable” in its bid to win both championships.