Frijns urges FE and FIA to improve race calendars for the future: ‘Clashes shouldn’t happen’

Photo credits: Formula E
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Robin Frijns was one of four drivers that had to miss out on the Berlin E-Prix due to its clash with the 6 hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The Dutchman wasn’t too happy with the FIA, as he believes it would have been possible for them to find a solution for the clash between the two races.

The FIA got a lot of criticism when it first announced its WEC and Formula E calendars for 2024, as there was a very unfortunate clash between the 6 Hours of Spa and the Berlin E-Prix. This proved to be a problem, as there currently are eight Formula E drivers that participate in both series: Frijns, Nyck de Vries, Stoffel Vandoorne, Sébastien Buemi, Nico Müller, Jean-Éric Vergne, Norman Nato and Edoardo Mortara.

Although everyone initially had faith that the FIA would find a solution, both races ended up going ahead as planned. Frijns, De Vries, Buemi and Müller ended up racing in Spa, whilst Vandoorne, Vergne, Nato en Mortara raced in Berlin. The WEC drivers were all supposed to fly to Berlin on Saturday night, but missed their flights due to a prolonged red flag period. Eventually they all arrived at the track on Sunday morning, where Pit Debrief managed to catch up with Frijns.

“I did quali, that went relatively well”, Frijns said in an exclusive interview with Pit Debrief. “René [Rast] started the race. We lost a little bit at the start, that is usually a case of being lucky or unlucky. The car was relatively okay after that, but not great – Imola was better in that regard. We couldn’t overtake because we had too much aero wash in traffic.”

“After the first pit stop we had a chance to take some positions, but he then hit the Jota on the back, which went off and took Rossi’s car with it as well. So, we also had to write off a BMW, which is painful. We then received a drive-through penalty, and got some gearbox issues afterwards. So we had to come in, ended up being lapped, which meant the race was kind of over for us. Once you’re lapped in WEC, you’re basically done.”

Photo credits: Robin Frijns |BMW Motorsport

As the race in Spa-Francorchamps was held on the Saturday, the four drivers held out the hope that they could still participate in the second Berlin E-Prix on Sunday. However, they did not get the necessary permission from the FIA to do so. Asked if this needs to change for the future, Frijns replied: “Hundred percent, yes. First and foremost, we are in this position because there is a clash and that clash shouldn’t happen, in my opinion.”

“We’re in a championship that’s being run by the same organisation, the FIA. We have three race weekends in WEC during the 26 weeks that we don’t race in Formula E, and then you don’t manage to fit the other three weekends in those 26 weeks. I think that’s a bit sad, if I can put it like that. I really hope they’ll do a better job next year. We had a 7-week break in Formula E. Fair enough, that was because a race got cancelled, but we could have easily done something else in those seven weeks.”

He emphasises that it’s an unfortunate situation for all of those involved: the teams, the drivers and the fans. “I think that nobody wins in a situation like this. I don’t win, Stoffel doesn’t win. I mean, as a Belgian driver, you want to be in Spa. You want to be at WEC, which is a huge event. I reckon a lot of people come to see Stoffel, and then Stoffel isn’t there. I don’t think anyone benefits from that.”