Under-the-radar Frijns 'playing it smart' in championship approach

Perfectly placed in fourth in the Drivers' standings, Robin Frijns (Envision Racing) is 10 points off the lead heading into Berlin after quietly plugging away and picking up solid points and podium finishes in the last five rounds, however the Dutchman admits that his goal is still to collect a big points haul with a victory.

Frijns is one of only three drivers to have stood on the podium three times this season, after picking up trophies in Diriyah and then a pair in Rome - but a win has alluded him since the 2019 New York City three seasons ago.

PREVIEW: Everything you need to know about the Berlin E-Prix

"It is bothering me because I’ve always been so close, and I’ve haven’t really managed to get a win so far," opened Frijns ahead of the Berlin doubleheader this weekend.

"My last one was quite a while ago now back in Season 5. I know that we don’t have the quickest car on the grid, Mercedes-EQ and Jaguar still have the better package but there is plenty that we can play around with.

"It’s just that everything needs to be spot on for us to be able to win, hopefully our time will come, but I want that win."

Robin Frijns Monaco

Sitting comfortably in the standings, Frijns' consistency in picking up points has kept him within arms' reach of the top spot, but he is eager to point out that this is a good position to hold and is focusing on the long game with being happy to follow the leaders.

"It helps because we know with the package that we have we can’t pull the train yet and I don’t think we'd be able to for the rest of the season because I know that those other cars are a bit quicker than us. We need to play it smart in the race to be able to fight at the end."

"My thing is that I always want to be competitive, the goal is to always finish in the top five, top six which is definitely what we’ve been doing so far. That’s been great, but it’s the typical thing to always want more. My first goal is top five and we’ve got that, but the next goal is winning."

Going in 'fresh after Season 7 disaster'

Last year was a race to forget for Frijns, after coming into the double-header season-finale as one of the title challengers coming into the closing races of Season 7 the Dutchman had a pointless finish in Berlin calling it a "complete disaster" after missing out at the final push but is fully prepared to bounce back this weekend.

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"It was a complete disaster for us, we went home with zero points from the two races here. But we’ve had months to discuss what went down and what went wrong. I’m going in fresh and want people to see what we’ve been doing so far this season, being in the mix and then we’ll see who comes out on top."

The surface around the historic Berlin Tempelhof airfield throws a completely different challenge, it's highly abrasive and was ultimately designed for planes rather than a field of 22 all-electric single-seaters, and Frijns confessed that this circuit doesn't particularly favour his driving style.

"I don’t have a special approach but I definitely have to adapt myself on these concrete blocks, as personally I don’t like this surface. It’s just the feeling that I have on it compared to asphalt, where I always get a lot of information from how the car is behaving. With the concrete I don’t get the same feeling and it's not knowing exactly what I want or need," admitted the Dutchman.

"As a driver I am looking for the way the car feels a lot, and I wouldn’t say it’s completely gone but it’s a bit less here for us than other places."

Looking to Berlin and beyond

Frijns has been bolstered by the new qualifying format introduced for Season 8, and it's worked out for him having made it through to the Duel stages in every race so far.

"I think the new qualifying format has helped me out a lot. The last couple of seasons I have always felt quite strong but then being in the top six in the championship we’d lose out in qualifying and have to work our way forward from the back.

"But now, if you have a good car and feel confident during the weekend you should always be able to make it into the top eight and get through to the Duels. So for sure it shows that the old format hurt me a lot and that’s why I’m quite hopefully to stay near the front."

The Envision Racing driver was a calm as ever heading into Berlin, but did admit to feeling wary heading into unfamiliar territory with the new additions to the Formula E calendar this season and being one of only two Audis on the grid this season: "We are working alone with only having two Audi-powered cars on the grid this season, so we don’t have the same information that the other teams get. This makes me scared with going to new tracks like Jakarta and Seoul where we will collect half the data so we have quite a big disadvantage."