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Frijns set to leave Envision to return to Abt’s Formula E team – The Race

Robin Frijns will complete a four-season stint with Envision Racing following the 2022 Formula E season and is set to join the revived Abt Sportsline team for the start of the Gen3 era in 2023.

The Race understands the two-time Formula E winner is set to sign a deal with new team Abt with whom he raced in the DTM from 2018-2020, finishing third in the standings in 2020.

Frijns currently sits fourth in the Formula E points table after a strong start to the campaign, one in which he has finished on the podium in three of the six races contested so far.

He joined the then-named team Envision Virgin in the summer of 2018 and claimed the first of his Paris E-Prix wins in April 2019. He followed that up with a second victory in New York.

Since then, Frijns has finished runners-up five times for the Chinese-owned British side and was believed to be settled and initially likely to agree a new deal for at least part of the Gen3 era which begins next January. .

But in recent months the likelihood of that happening has diminished and it is believed to have come to a head last month when terms could not be agreed between Frijns and Envision for a new deal.

Although Frijns would not comment on his future when approached at the recent Monaco E-Prix, Envision team boss Sylvain Filippi admitted he was fully aware his driver would inevitably be tied to an Abt seat given their past relationship.

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“It’s the case that we don’t know [about drivers for 2023] because we haven’t made our plans yet,” Filippi told The Race.

“Robin will be linked to Abt in the same way that drivers have a lot of links to old teams.

“My focus right now is still the same. Focus on my key pillars which are the drivers, the team, the car, the development, all the things that impact performance.

“You still have some time on the pilots. Ultimately, it comes down to performance potential. I don’t know much about Abt’s setup, so I think the riders ultimately decide based on a lot of factors.

Abt is set to use Mahindra powertrains for its return to Formula E and will be close to securing a test day allowance ahead of the 2023 season.

Technical direction for the Gen3 project is handled by the ZF Technology Group in conjunction with Mahindra’s long-term technical director Lewis Butler and performance director Josef Holden.

Filippi highlighted his perception of the drivers’ criteria for future seats in Formula E, citing performance as the absolute draw, but also accepting that other factors come into play.

“You would think the performance is pretty high in terms of where they want to go,” he said.

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“But there are other factors: financial, proximity, geography, affinity with the teams and other opportunities, so it’s a rather complex situation.

“We have seen in the past some strange decisions sometimes in other motorsport series, but it is just too early to tell.

“For me, I’m pretty relaxed, because we have such a big pool of talent here and we’re knocking on the door as well.

“So we’re not lacking in talent, we’re a very attractive league, I’m lucky to lead a team that’s really stable, well-funded and with great, great performance potential for the next four years, which is The main reason a driver would really want to come here is our record as a team.

“Whatever car we have, we are still here and hopefully we will have a very strong technical partnership for next year, so that is what attracts drivers the most.

Frijns’ upcoming plans with Abt are believed to be verbally agreed but not yet fully formalized.

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An announcement on who will join Frijns in the squad will come later this summer. Nico Mueller is also in talks with the team he finished second in the 2019 and 2020 DTM with.

Frijns and Mueller are expected to continue the World Endurance Championship doubleheaders to some degree in 2023. They currently compete for the WRT and Vector Sports teams respectively.

Meanwhile, Envision is known to have already formed a shortlist of drivers to join already contracted Nick Cassidy for the Gen3 competition’s first season in 2023.

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