Formula E

Porsche feels good coming into the Mexico City ePrix after post-Diriyah reflection

4 Mins read
Credit: FIA Formula E

The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team has definitely had a much better start this year than it had in its debut season last year. Whilst the first race didn’t go that well (both drivers finished outside the points), in the second race Andre Lotterer managed to bring home a 4th place finish along with Pascal Wehrlein bringing in some extra points in 9th place. With the Mexico City ePrix coming up, the team definitely feels good about its chances. Porsche has historically been competitive in Mexico (Lotterer got pole position at the Mexico ePrix in Puebla last year) and, whilst this year it’ll be at a very different track, that previous success will no doubt spur the team on.

It was great to see how hard the team worked through the night after race 1 to come back strong the next day,” said Florian Modlinger, who had his first race at the helm of the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team that weekend. “We analysed many things and came to the right conclusions. Looking ahead to Mexico and the rest of the season, I’m thrilled to be working with such a highly motivated team.

As for how the team needed to improve going forward, Modlinger was very clear about that. “Essentially, the technical and operational aspects such as reliability, car preparation and the event procedures went well. What we need to improve on is the qualifying speed so that we can get both of our drivers into the shootout. Another important issue in race 1 was energy management. We managed to improve this significantly for race 2, but we still have a lot of work to do to find even more potential.

Whilst the extra time at the end of the race thanks to the new safety car rules had been a topic of controversy for some, Modlinger definitely didn’t see things that way. That is, at least when it came to race 1 at Diriyah. When it came to the late safety car period in race 2, he felt a little differently about it. “The extra time worked really well in the first race. It didn’t work out in race 2 because the race finished with a late safety car phase. That was unfortunate for André and Pascal and denied them the chance of achieving a better result.

As for the new qualifying format, Modlinger had nothing but positive words to say about it. “I think the new qualifying mode is excellent. It’s not only fairer on the drivers but the one-on-one duels make it more spectacular for the spectators at the track and for TV viewers. All in all, a big improvement.

Echoing the sentiments of his boss, Andre Lotterer had mixed feelings about what happened in Diriyah. “The qualifying went well in Diriyah and we had a chance for a podium spot in both races. That was something positive. But in the first race, I lost ground due to energy management issues, in the second race the safety car ruled out a final attack. Without the safety car, the rest of the race would definitely have been as thrilling. In that respect, I left Diriyah with somewhat mixed feelings, but at least I took a few points home with me.

Lotterer was also positive regarding the new qualifying system. “The new format is definitely a big step forward to ensure better parity between competitors. You get into the flow better, and the head-to-head duels through to the pole position finale are exciting for teams and drivers – and for fans, too, of course.

I secured pole position in Mexico in my first Formula E season for Porsche. It would be fantastic if I could do that again,” said Lotterer when he was asked about his expectations for Mexico. “Obviously, we want to win every race, that’s our goal. But in this fiercely competitive world championship, it’s also important to earn points from every race to ultimately be in the running to win the title.

Pascal Wehrlein was a bit more optimistic about how he’d done in Diriyah, although he felt like there was one particular weak spot with his race weekend. “We were consistently fast. The only thing that didn’t work out perfectly for me was the qualifying sessions. In the first race, we learned a great deal about energy management and we implemented these findings in the second race. Had the safety car not been deployed shortly before the flag, I’m sure we could’ve gained a few positions because we made very good use of our energy. Although Diriyah is not particularly relevant for the circuits we’ll compete on this season, we’ve still gained some insights.

First and foremost, I’m looking forward to returning to Mexico. I have good memories of this country. I’ve always been fast there,” said Wehrlein when he was asked about whether he would have preferred the Mexican round of the championship to have stayed in Puebla. “Of course, I wouldn’t have minded racing in Puebla again because we were strong there last year. But I’m certain we’ll have a good package for Mexico City and that we’re serious contenders for victory there.

The track is fantastic. I’m really looking forward to that,” Wehrlein said about the shortened version of the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez that will be used for the Mexico City ePrix. “Turns five and six before the longest straight are particularly important because it’s a good place to overtake at the end. Turn 16 is also critical. It’s a sweeping right-hander that can’t be taken at full speed and is tough on the tyres.

Mexicans are avid motor racing fans,” Wehrlein continued. “There’s a real arena feeling in the infield of the stadium. And as far as altitude is concerned, you’re out of breath a little faster and the altitude affects the car setup, but we know this from Puebla.”

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