Nick Cassidy has admitted that a slight change of approach midway through his first Formula E season helped him achieve his breakthrough second place in last Sunday’s second Puebla E-Prix.
The Envision Virgin Racing driver has shown flashes of pace this season after transitioning from a period racing entirely in Japan to competing in his first ever world championship.
This included a pole position in only his fourth race in Rome but he lost a chance of a first win there when a technical glitch caused him to spin on the first lap.
“I was leading the race in Rome off pole and went out at Turn 1 through a mistake, not of my own, but we’re a team,” said Cassidy after Sunday’s race.
“You don’t come out blaming anyone else, that’s part of the procedure, that’s part of racing, and it’s just opportunities like that, that just slipped away.”
That attitude has impressed his team, who were joyous in their celebrations of his podium on Sunday.
Since Rome, Cassidy has proved to be quick but inconsistent and frankly looked to be sliding into another trough when he crashed out on the first lap in the first Puebla E-Prix on Saturday.
That incident necessitated a new monocoque to be built up by the Envision Virgin crew, who worked late into the night to get the replacement car ready.
“It feels special for sure [to get a podium] but more of a relief than anything and to be honest I’ve been really disappointed with my first races,” said Cassidy.
“I feel like this should have come earlier, we’ve had a lot of potential this year and have had positive moments but I’ve not really had anything to show for it.”
Discussing his zero to hero rollercoaster weekend in Mexico, Cassidy said he wanted to “repay them” and that after the Saturday crash “I was pretty down but you’ve got two options in this sport: you either quit or come back strong and I took the second.”
EVR team manager Leon Price paid tribute to both Cassidy and his team, telling The Race that the Kiwi “has been on the cusp of a big result ever since he set foot in the car.”
“What happened on Saturday happened, but the main thing is Nick went out and did the business on Sunday,” added Price.
“He didn’t owe anyone anything because this is racing and we pull together, which we literally did because both sides of the garage helped get the new tub ready.”
Price also confirmed that the build was completed by 02.30 on Sunday morning largely because the team “was prepared with a spare tub built up to some degree.”
Cassidy said that he felt a “bit guilty because I made a pretty average mistake” but that he was “proud of the way the team responded” and he “appreciated their work.”
“I’ve felt at times we’ve been super-fast so I’ve been frustrated that nothing’s really come of it, so today’s more of a relief.”
In taking third place from polesitter Oliver Rowland, when the Nissan driver ran wide onto marbles at Turn 14, Cassidy pulled off the move of the weekend around the outside.
Significantly more efficient on energy spend than Rowland, he still had to defend from the retaliating Nissan into Turn 1 on the following lap and he did so masterfully.
Cassidy is still learning the ways of Formula E and confesses that his instinct for all-out glory has had to be slightly tempered by a realisation that patience will deliver good results in the end.
“I’m a bit guilty of always wanting to go for pole because, it sounds cocky to say but because of what’s happened in the past,” he said referring to his championship successes in Japanese Formula 3, Super GT and Super Formula.
“So there have been sessions this year where maybe I should have taken a seventh or an eighth but I’ve tried to go for pole and ended up further back.
“[Sunday’s race] was a bit of a change in approach.”