Championship leader Pascal Wehrlein heads into his home E-Prix this weekend feeling “very confident” that he can remain in the lead of the Drivers’ Championship, after an excellent first half of the season.
This weekend’s Berlin E-Prix double-header marks the halfway point of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, with Wehrlein knowing that a good weekend in his home country will mean he’s halfway to becoming a Formula E World Champion. Whilst he’s been flawless all year so far, the Tempelhof Street Circuit hasn’t been his best venue in recent years, with his best result in Berlin being sixth.
Wehrlein heads into the weekend on the back of finishing seventh in São Paulo, an E-Prix which saw him superbly recover from eighteenth on the grid. His pace this season has been exceptional, with the home crowd likely to add to his confidence. The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team driver has revealed how “terrific” it feels to be heading to his and the team’s home race; however, he is aware that the weekend will need to go “perfectly” for a strong result.
“Contesting races in Germany is always something special. It’s a terrific feeling to turn up for our fans as the most successful team so far this season. I’m looking forward to Berlin, to the city and the people. But it won’t be easy for us or any of the other teams. The asphalt on the old airfield in Tempelhof is totally different from the surface on other Formula E circuits.
“It requires a completely different setup for the cars and the tyres. We need to work this out in the shortest possible time during the practice sessions and then implement it as perfectly as possible in qualifying and the race. If we manage this, we can also be competitive in Berlin. I’m optimistic we can do this.”
Once the seventh and eighth round are completed this weekend, Season Nine will have officially reached its halfway point. There is no doubting that Wehrlein and Porsche “deserve” to be leading both championships, with the German driver having won two races already this season. Given how strong he’s been, he’s “very confident” that he can keep his lead until the end of the campaign.
“I’m very confident that we can be at the top until the end of the season. We started the new season better than ever before and we deserve to be at the top. Of course, you mustn’t forget that there are still ten races to go including Berlin. But I’m convinced that we’ll continue to impress with strong performances.”
“Driving for Porsche in Berlin means a lot to me” – António Félix da Costa
On the other side of the Porsche garage, António Félix da Costa heads to Berlin on the back of having finished fourth in Brazil, with an error at the opening corner late on having ruled him out of victory.
Since Hyderabad, Da Costa has really turned a corner this season, with the former Formula E Champion having risen to fifth in the Drivers’ Championship. A strong weekend in Germany would very much put him into title contention potentially, with Da Costa seeing “no reason” why he can’t “fight for victory” this weekend based on the pace he’s had in recent rounds.
“Our team made a really great start to the new season. We’ve demonstrated that we are fast and can win races on very different racetracks. There is no reason why we shouldn’t continue our strong form in Berlin and fight for victory. Especially given that we didn’t put our feet up during the break since São Paulo but have worked hard to keep improving.”
Unlike his team-mate, Da Costa does have a very good record in Berlin, with the Portuguese driver having won at the city twice in 2020, the year he claimed the title. That season saw six races in Berlin due to the pandemic, meaning Da Costa had no fans to celebrate his wins or the title with. Should he win in Berlin for a third time this weekend, then that will likely feel incredibly special for Da Costa, given that “driving for Porsche in Berlin means a lot to me”.
“That was crazy. Because of the pandemic, we contested six races in a row in Berlin at the end of the season, without spectators unfortunately. I won two of them and now I hope to build on this achievement with the Porsche 99X Electric. Driving for Porsche in Berlin means a lot to me.
“The city is fantastic and the circuit on the old airfield is unique. It’s very short and the lap times will be close, so you can’t afford to make the slightest mistake. It’d be great if we could thank the German fans for their support with a home win for Porsche.”