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.