Panasonic Jaguar Racing‘s weekend in the 2019 Mexico City E-Prix, the fourth round of the 2018-19 ABB FIA Formula E Championship, was a ride of attrition for both Mitch Evans and Nelson Piquet Jr.
Piquet set the fastest first sector of anyone in qualifying but could not maintain the pace throughout the rest of the lap to get into Super Pole. The time left him eleventh on the grid, while Evans fared worse with P17 after a post-qualifying penalty for Robin Frijns.
Both drivers made great starts to the race later on. Piquet was up to eighth before a collision with Jean-Eric Vergne in the opening stages sent the Brazilian careering into the unfortunate Alexander Sims and stopped by the barrier after the final chicane. The leftover wreckage brought out the red flag, and Evans was up to P11 by the time the race resumed.
On the final lap when some drivers were struggling with battery power, the New Zealander capitalised on Oliver Rowland, Sebastien Buemi and Felipe Massa to sneak into seventh by the finish.
The result continued Evans’ 100% points scoring run in Formula E this season, and his points from Mexico leaves him ninth in the Drivers’ Standings.
“It was a tough race – the passing wasn’t as straight forward as other tracks,” Evans said.
“I had a good first few laps – things opened up for me and I took advantage of them. I benefited a few positions from the red flag after Nelson’s accident – I’m glad to see he’s okay.
“To recover from eighteenth with some points is nice. We’ve been good with our energy management this season and we’ve made good progress from last year.
“The past two qualifying sessions haven’t gone well for us, and we need to fix that if we want podiums and wins.”
For Evans’ team-mate, Piquet’s non-finish drops him to 18th in the championship with just a single point to his name.
“I was fighting for position and we touched, but this happens – it’s racing,” Piquet added.
“It is obviously incredibly frustrating. I had a good start progressing to ninth and I was pushing Vergne to try and overtake.
“He braked early while I was still accelerating and I went over his rear wheel. I just hope they can fix the car because Sunday we have testing so that’s the thing I’m worried about.”
With rivals Venturi Formula E Team gaining enough points to leapfrog them, Jaguar drop to seventh in the Teams’ Standings. Team Director James Barclay hopes for better luck next time out in Hong Kong.
“Firstly, we are all pleased that Nelson escaped without any injury after a big accident today. It is testament to the strength of the new Jaguar I-TYPE 3,” Barclay mentioned.
“Nelson was committed to the move, it looked like Vergne moved over and lifted off earlier than normal and Nelson had nowhere to go. Mitch had a great opening lap, by the time the safety car and red flag came out he was already up to eleventh from eighteenth.
“We went for an aggressive strategy for him and he executed that really well. Unfortunately, after the restart he got caught behind Vergne for a long period of the race.
“Mitch drove well to get to seventh and the team also called the energy perfectly to finish the race without any issues that others faced. Looking ahead to Hong Kong, we will be working hard to improve our performance in qualifying. We have seen good pace again in Free Practice but need to translate that into consistent fast laps in qualifying.”