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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 April 2019

The drivers to watch for in Saudi Arabia at Formula E's Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix

A look at six of the racers on the 22-car grid to look for when the 2018/19 season of action in the electric racing car series begins

Jean-Eric Vergne is the defending champion in Formula E after winning the 2017/18 title. LAT / Formula E
Jean-Eric Vergne is the defending champion in Formula E after winning the 2017/18 title. LAT / Formula E

The 2018-19 Formula E season begins this weekend with the inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.

Ahead of the 45-minute race, which starts at 4.05pm UAE time on Saturday, here is a look at six of the drivers to look out for in the event.

Jean-Eric Vergne in action in testing. LAT / Formula E
Jean-Eric Vergne in action in testing. LAT / Formula E

Jean-Eric Vergne

The defending champion looks to become the first driver in the history of the series to win back-to-back titles.

Won four times in the 2017/18, including the final race of the season in New York, as he won by 54 points.

A consistent season, where he only finished once outside the 10 in the 12 races made him a force to be reckoned with.

The Frenchman, who drove for Toro Rosso in Formula One between 2012 and 2014, continues with the Techeetah team.

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Lucas di Grassi

If you took out the first five races of 2017/18 and the season had began at Round 6 in Punta del Este then the Brazilian would have been a double champion.

A horrible start to the 2017/18 season saw him have only two points after five races.

But the 2016-17 champion then rallied with five second places and two wins to finish the season in second spot.

He is again with Audi Sport and if he can start in Saudi Arabia as he left off in New York in July then he should be formidable.

Sam Bird was third in Formula E in 2017/18. Jean-Eric Vergne in action in testing. LAT / Formula E
Sam Bird was third in Formula E in 2017/18. Jean-Eric Vergne in action in testing. LAT / Formula E

Sam Bird

The British driver is the most successful racer in the series who us yet to win a championship.

Has seven victories to his name, two of which came his way last season.

A poor end to 2017/18, with only 20 points coming from the final four races, wrecked his hopes of challenging Vergne.

Needs a good start to regain momentum as he continues to race for Virgin Racing.

Sebastien Buemi

Last season was a year to forget for the 2016/17 champion.

The Swiss driver has won 12 times in Formula E, the most victories by anyone by in the championship's short history, but none of them came in 2017/18.

Second in Marrakesh was as good as it got and he will be hoping that a switch of team ownership from Renault to Nissan will help galvanise him into a return to winning ways.

Felipe Massa

Saturday's race in Diriyah will be the Brazilian's first in the series as he competes for the Venturi team.

Raced in F1 between 2002 and 2017, winning 11 times and coming agonisingly close to being 2008 champion.

How competitive he will be at the age of 37 will be fascinating. Has not been on a F1 podium since 2015, but arguably did not have the machinery to be at the front in a Williams in his final years in the sport.

Stoffel Vandoorne

Back racing in the Middle East just three weeks after he finished 14th in the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in his final race with McLaren.

The Belgian suffered a rough time in F1 and competing in Formula E gives him the chance to rebuild his career.

You do not dominate in GP2 in the manner he did in 2015 without having talent, and the 26 year old will hope for a strong start at the HWA Racelab to help him re-find his confidence.

Updated: December 14, 2018 12:37 PM

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