2022 Formula E season kicks off with two rounds in Saudi Arabia at a World Heritage Site

2022 Formula E
2022 Formula E

The 2022 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship season, the eighth for this circuit, kicks off January 28 and 29 in Saudi Arabia with the first two rounds of 16 that make up the 2022 calendar. Ten circuits will host races this year with a mix of doubleheaders and standalone races.

The 1.55-mile, 21-turn Diriyah Circuit in At-Turaif, Saudi Arabia hosts a pair of night races around a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Diriyah Circuit is a mix of long straights and the tight turns that have come to be associated with the Formula E series.

To make the most of this balance, the starting line and finish line are in separate spots on course. The green flag will wave on the backstretch and lead to one of the best passing corners, Turn 18. The finish line is located on another long straight, just past the final corner, which is a sharp 90-degree turn alongside the pits.

This complex of turns leads past an ancient walled city that is one of Saudi Arabia’s most historic sites.

MORE: Oliver Askew becomes first American to compete full time in Formula E

The last complex of turns on the Diriyah Circuit in At-Turaif are contested in the shadow of one of Saudi Arabia’s most historic sites. (FiaFormulaE.com)

The end of the finish line stretch and entirety of the front straight is made up of undulating turns. There are 14 turns in this complex before a sweeping “S”-straight leads to another sharp 90-degree turn onto the long back straight. With the races being contested at night, the walls will seem even closer.

“I love racing in Saudi – the track is amazing,” said two-time champion Antonio Felix da Costa at FiaFormulaE.com. “I was the first winner there in Season 5 and I’ve got great memories. We go well every time we go there.

“With it being a night race, your practice and qualifying happen during the day and then you race at night. Temperatures change, along with the track surface with the sand getting brushed away.

“Your perceptions also change with the shadows changing. It takes a little bit of adaptation and training to the eye but I love the different variables and it definitely creates a better show for the fans. It’s very cool to race there, and great to watch – especially at night.”

Round 1 of last year’s season opener was won by Nyck de Vries on his way to also winning the championship.

The following night, Round 2 was won by England’s Sam Bird.

Two high profile drivers join the series in 2022. With 17 IndyCar starts to his credit and one podium finish, Oliver Askew will become the first American-born driver to compete full time in Formula E. Former Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi moves into the series after competing with Alfa Romeo in 2021.

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”