One of the biggest stories ahead of the inaugural Julius Baer Sao Paulo E-Prix is the return of ABT CUPRA's Robin Frijns. After fracturing his wrist in a first-lap incident in Mexico City earlier this year, Formula E details the Dutchman's journey to get back to racing this weekend.
Frijns is no stranger to the all-electric championship, with 77 entries to his name. During the first round of the new GEN3 era, Frijns was caught up in a collision with the Nissan of Norman Nato as the pack bunched ahead to get around the corner. Driving up the back of Nato's car, Frijn's front left made contact with Nato's rear right tyre, suddenly causing Frijns' steering wheel to snap.
Although the onboards made it look like a reasonably innocent accident, it was later revealed that Frijns had suffered a broken wrist from the impact. Fortunately for the ABT CUPRA driver, his car stopped just a stone's throw from the circuit's medical centre, where he received fantastic attention and treatment.
Surgery, rest and recovery
Frijns underwent surgery on his fractured hand and wrist in Mexico. The five-hour operation repaired his hand, which was fractured in several places, and soon Frijns could fly home to begin his road to recovery.
Sharing updates on social media, Robin set his sights on a return for the Cape Town E-Prix in late February. "It's not going to be easy," he told his Instagram followers. "But I will do everything I can to reach my target."
Despite completing the prep for the inaugural South African race, Frijns wasn't able to make his return and instead was forced to sit out another race. After describing his run on the team's simulator as going "pretty smoothly" before Cape Town, it was agreed that the bones in his hand had not fully healed yet, and it was unsafe to race.
Getting the green light
After eight weeks of recovery, it was time to race. As well as his Formula E commitments, Frijns is also competing in the FIA's World Endurance Championship this year, starting with the 1000 miles of Sebring. The race in the United States occurred last week, and Frijns was given the all-clear to participate.
In order to take part in the WEC event and this weekend's Julius Baer Sao Paulo E-Prix, Frijns needed to present an official certificate to the FIA from a surgeon confirming that his fractures are consolidated - and therefore healed.
After that, the FIA Medical Delegate checked him at the track. This was done with the local Chief Medical Officer - two critical roles - who agreed and confirmed that Frijns was good to race!
This process was completed for his Sebring duties. Still, updates were communicated throughout the process between the FIA Medical Delegate from FIA WEC and ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
"It feels insanely good to be preparing for a race again with Nico [Müller] and the whole team – it's so good to be back", Frijns said in a statement ahead of his Formula E comeback. "The past two months have felt like an eternity.
"Many thanks to the team, the FIA, all the doctors and physios, and the whole Formula E paddock, who have been patient with me despite me being so impatient.
"My hand feels good. Racing in Sebring went smoothly, and I'm fit for São Paulo. I was in contact with the team the whole time, was involved in everything and am up to date with all the procedures."