DIRIYAH: With new regulations, a refined sporting product and a world-class grid of 11 teams and 22 drivers, the FIA Formula E World Championship’s Season 8 double-header opener in Diriyah got underway on Friday.
It was a one-two for Mercedes as their drivers Nyck de Vries, reigning world champion, and Belgian driver Stoffel Vandoorne came home ahead of the pack.
British driver Jake Dennis got the final spot on the podium in the weekend's first race, with the grid gearing up to go again in round two on Saturday.
Follow live coverage below...(all times GMT)
18:30 - That concludes the first day of this double-header Diriyah E-Prix weekend, be sure to check back in tomorrow for round two!
18:00 - CHEQUERED FLAG! Mercedes driver Nyck de Vries wins in Diriyah yet again! The Dutchman finished first ahead of his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, who will be disappointed he didn't capitalize on pole position.
17:40 - Into the final 10 minutes of the race, and Nyck de Vries leads from Vandoorne and Jake Dennis, who tells his engineers he has a puncture, is clinging on to third place.
17:20 - And we have our first safety car of the season, with pole-sitter Stoffel Vandoorne still leading the E-Prix.
17:15 - It's bad news for Season 6 winner Antonio da Felix Costa, as he's forced to pit and retire after a busy first lap.
17:00 - WE'RE OFF! Lights have gone green in Diriyah and the season is underway.
16:45 - As the first race of this year's Formula E World Championship gets closer, you can remind yourself how the season went last year below...
16:30 - 22 of the best drivers in the world will race for eleven teams and the world championship in this season of the FIA Formula E World Championship. Here is a handy guide to the heroes behind the helmets.
16:15 - Missed the brand new qualification session earlier today? Not to worry, highlights below!
15:00 - UPDATE: Oliver Rowland will drop three places in the starting grid after receiving a penalty for impeding a car in the pit lane. He had qualified 8th.
14:30 - Right! We have some time to spare before it's lights out, which is a perfect chance to catch up with Julia Palle, the sustainability director at Formula E, who believes electrification is the way forward for motorsports. Read more of her interview here.
13:55 - It comes as no surprise that the driver who took the most pole positions last season has come out on top in the new qualifying format.
Vandoorne takes the first pole position of the eighth Formula E season here in Diriyah, giving himself a significant advantage over his fellow drivers in tonight’s season starter.
He will also claim three championship points for the pole position, meaning he's already the early pace-setter in the bid for the world title.
13:50 - The Flying Dutchman and reigning champion de Vries is bested by his teammate Vandoorne while a very quick lap for Dennis sees him proceed to the final and face off against the Belgian driver. Dennis however was faster than Vandoorne in the semifinals, so the Belgian will have to step up if we wants to take pole position.
With five minutes until the final gets underway, the teams call back the drivers to pit for tyre changes before the final qualifying.
13:40 - German driver Lotterer bests dutch opponent Frijns to progress to the semifinals, along with Dennis who beat Bird, Vandoorne who defeated Cassidy and reigning FE champion de Vries who just knocked out British driver Rowland out of a better qualifying result.
A surprise twist sees both Mercedes-EQ teammates face each other in the semifinals of the qualifying, with Lotterer to face Dennis first.
13:30 - Take a look at the Diriyah circuit below, which the drivers will be taking on at 17:00 GMT (20:00 KSA)...
13:25 - Poor Edoardo Mortara of Rokit Venturi - he crashed out with a mechanical problem last year, and now in the first session of the new season, he locks up and heads into the barriers on Turn 1, bringing out the yellow flag out in the first sector.
13:20 - So, after all that action - what happens next?
The top four from both groups now advance to a round of eight, during which power will be bumped up to 250 kW from 200 in the first round. Frijns, quickest in group A faces off against Lotterer, fourth quickest from Group B. Bird, Group A’s second quickest faces off against Dennis, third quickest from Group B.
Group A third quickest Vandoorne faces Cassidy, second quickest form Group B, and finally Rowland, Group A fourth quickest faces Group B first quickest, de Vries.
13:15 - Mercedes-EQ’s Nick de Vries, Envision Racing’s Nick Cassidy, Avalanche Andretti’s Jake Dennis and TAG Heuer Porsche’s Andre Lotterer take top four in Group B and face off Group A’s top four.
13:00 - The top four from Group A saw Envision Racing’s Robin Frijns, Jaguar Racing’s Sam Bird, Mercedes-EQ’s Stoffel Vandoorne and Mahindra Racing’s Oliver Rowland advance to the duels in the second round of the qualifying.
12:45: Drivers take to the Diriyah circuit for the start of qualifying under the new knockout format as the 8th season of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship gets underway.
The format sees two 11-driver groups, ordered based on their Championship position, set lap times in a 10-minute session.
The fastest four from each progress into the knockout stages, where the winning driver takes pole.