At The Apex: What to watch out for in Diriyah

As far as racing arenas go, the Riyadh Street Circuit in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, is perhaps one of the most technical and complex in the whole of motorsport.


With long straights, heavy braking zones, sweeping elevation changes, blind corners, and a second sector which can only be likened to a high-stakes rollercoaster ride, it’s easy to understand why.


Given that barriers line every inch of the road, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that the track was designed for the brave and the bold, and this weekend the FIA Formula E World Championship is back.


Here at Maserati MSG Racing, we’re ready to take on one of the series’ greatest challenges. This is what you should watch out for at the 2024 Diriyah E-Prix double-header.


Energy Management

At face value, and in almost every aspect, the Riyadh Street Circuit is completely different to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.


Their configurations are different, their altitudes are 1.4 kilometres apart, and geographically, they are divided by close to 14,000 kilometres, spanning the Atlantic Ocean and the breadth of North Africa.


Even the time of day in which we race is different.


But one thing unites the two: Both circuits have low energy sensitivity, and understanding this before the weekend gets underway is fundamental. It will change the way we race.


Because the Riyadh Street Circuit is mostly composed of medium- and high-speed corners, drivers are continually lifting of fthe throttle over the course of a lap, and this means that it is very easy to save energy.


The immediate benefit of this is that teams can easily meet their energy saving targets, but the trade-off is that it will be very difficult to overtake.


The importance of performing well in qualifying will therefore be increased and by starting at the front, drivers will have a significantly higher chance of securing a good result.



While overtaking is difficult, it isn’t impossible. With some careful car placement, and a well-executed strategy, it is possible to make up ground.


Turn 18 is the opportune place to overtake another driver. The swinging 90-degree right-hander sits at the bottom of the longest straight on the track, and it’s always at the centre of attention.


Crucially, Turn 18 immediately leads into Turn 19 where, on the outside, lies our Attack Mode activation loop which only ups the ante in race conditions.


This pairing creates the perfect storm, and on a risk and reward track, it only seems natural.


Timing Attack Mode perfectly will be vital, because while having extra power at the right moment can open opportunities, losing track position upon activation will only hamper progress.


Tyre Management

In Mexico City, we established the importance of tyre management in Formula E’s Gen3 era, and to optimise performance and efficiency, it’s vital to consistently run in the right operating window.


If tyres are too hot, or too cold, it will serve as a pace disadvantage. Understeer and oversteer will come into play, lap times will plummet, and energy management may also be compromised.


But Diriyah’s status as the only night race on the Season 10 calendar adds an extra layer of complexity, because while practice and qualifying take place in brilliant daylight, the race will only start once the sun sets.


This weather change from session-to-session, alongside natural track evolution across days, will heavily impact circuit conditions and the only way to counteract it is by working with extreme attention to detail.


We need to trust our process, remain fluid, and maximise each opportunity that presents itself.



The 2024 Diriyah E-Prix is the first double-header event of Season 10, leaving teams with not just one, but two opportunities to score points very early in the campaign.


Points and prizes aside, this format offers a key lifeline, and any team that encounters an issue in Race One will have a window to improve their performance before the second race on Saturday.


But this works two ways, and equally, a team which runs well on Friday will only be able to optimise their package for Race Two.


In short, if a team gets it wrong, they can recover, but if a team gets it right first time, they’re greeted with the opportunity to strengthen and reinforce an existing competitive hold.


Working in this situation requires an adaptable attitude, and with focus, we’ll be in a position to make the most of every situation we face.


Safety Cars

On a circuit as fast and as technical as Diriyah, we regularly see heroics, but in equal measure, we often see drivers make mistakes.


This means that the chances of seeing a Safety Car or Full Course Yellow in race conditions are very high.


In Formula E, time spent running during a race neutralisation can lead to a race extension by several laps, and the impact of this on race strategy can be colossal.


A single race extension demands an immediate strategy re-evaluation from our engineers, and to see the chequered flag, we’ll need to immediately adjust our lap-by-lap energy saving targets.


This strategy change will cater for the additional mileage we’ll cover at the end of the race, and making this change quickly will maximise the pace and efficiency at our disposal.


With 12 points on the board so far this season, we’re primed to tackle the unique challenges of Diriyah this weekend.