Of the plethora of great drivers that joined Formula E for season four, none were more heralded than Andre Lotterer.
After having the rug pulled out from beneath his feet when Audi announced their withdrawal from WEC, the multi Le Mans winning driver made the switch to all-electric racing by signing a contract with Techeetah.
It was an odd decision from a driver who had previously criticised the series, saying “It’s not a sport, it’s a political thing”, and “It’s not very impressive seeing the cars drive by”.
But despite his views the German was expected to be a success given his racing pedigree and the pace shown in the Techeetah in season three by team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.
Yet three races in and Lotterer is already facing pressure.
He has yet to score a point in the series after three disastrous races, while Vergne has already finished on the podium and has shown himself to be a title contender in the same equipment.
No one is suggesting that Lotterer isn’t facing a difficult challenge in making the switch to Formula E, with many drivers having previously highlighted how different the required driving style is.
And the German has also suffered from technical issues, including a hardware issue that hampered him in Marrakesh.
But despite these factors his driving hasn’t been anywhere near the standard that was expected of him.
He admitted that his qualifying pace has been poor, and it has been, averaging a fastest lap over seven tenths slower than his team-mate.
But the races haven’t gone much better, with Lotterer causing a red flag on the opening lap of the first race after he crashed and blocked the track – and although he got going again he incurred several penalties during the race and then was disqualified for leaving his car in an unsafe mode in parc ferme. Very much a rookie error.
He then ended up in the wall again in the second race after crashing while trying to avoid the slowing car of Nelson Piquet Jr on the last lap of the race.
No one doubts that he has the ability to learn and improve, but when you compare his efforts so far to other rookies such as Edorado Mortara, who nearly won in Hong Kong, then it shows he should be doing a better job.
Santiago needs to be the first step in getting his season on track, and the signs from Lotterer are that he’s feeling more confident, saying that the team have fixed the problem that hampered him in Marrakesh, and that they have unlocked more pace in the car.
Whether that makes the required difference though remains to be seen.