Porsche driver Wehrlein wins Formula E season opener in Mexico

Pascal Wehrlein has won the Mexico City E-Prix, the opening race of this year's Formula E season, in the Porsche 99X Electric. This year, it appears to be a duel between the Porsche and Jaguar drive systems once again.

Image: Porsche

Wehrlein won the race at the circuit in Mexico City in his Porsche ahead of Sebastien Buemi in the Envision team’s customer Jaguar and Nick Cassidy in the works Jaguar. The German had already started the opening race of the season as the championship leader, having secured the three extra points for first place on the grid in qualifying.

Incidentally, the start of the race itself caused a certain amount of uncertainty regarding the race result for a long time: as Wehrlein as well as world champion Jake Dennis and his new team-mate Norman Nato accelerated extremely well in the Andretti team’s customer Porsche, race control initiated an investigation into a possible technical infringement. The question was whether the three Porsche 99X Electric cars were delivering more than the permitted 300 kW to the rear wheels in standard mode. In Nato’s case, the investigation was closed during the race without a penalty; in Wehrlein and Dennis’ case, the investigation was only closed a few hours after the end of the race. However, no offence could be proven here either, which is why Wehrlein was allowed to keep his victory.

The race was rather uneventful by last season’s standards. Wehrlein was able to convert his pole position into an early lead and only fell behind Envision driver Buemi at times due to the mandatory Attack Mode activations. After all the drivers had completed the eight minutes of attack mode (with 350 kW of power) prescribed for the Mexico race, Wehrlein was back in front and crossed the finish line with a lead of over a second. Overall, there was only one change in the top five compared to the starting grid: Jaguar newcomer Cassidy (last year still driving a customer Jaguar for Envision) was able to overtake Maximilian Günther in the Maserati, who had started in third place, and took the final podium position. Behind Günther, the second works Jaguar driven by Mitch Evans crossed the finish line in fifth place; the New Zealander had also started fifth.

World champion Jake Dennis, who continues to drive a Porsche 99X Electric for the Andretti team, was only able to secure 14th place on the grid in qualifying. In the race, however, he was able to move up a few places, and with eighth place Dennis was still able to score two championship points. However, things went worse for former world champion and Formula E returnee Nyck de Vries in the Mahindra: he only finished in 15th place and scored no points.

The German Abt Cupra team (with customer cars from Mahindra) also left Mexico without any championship points. Team returnee Lucas di Grassi retired after a technical problem. His team-mate Nico Müller was spun around by Porsche works driver Felix Antonio da Costa in the early stages of the race. The collision meant an immediate retirement for da Costa, while Müller finished 17th out of 18 drivers with a slightly damaged car.

However, it is clear that the performance ratios have hardly changed over the winter. Hardware development on the drivetrains was frozen anyway, but with optimized software and set-up, slight gains were certainly possible. However, Porsche and Jaguar still appear to have the two most powerful and efficient drive systems. Stellantis (with DS-Penske and Maserati) follows behind and at Nissan, the McLaren customer team outperformed the works team as in the previous year – at least at the season opener. Mahindra and the Abt-Cupra customer team as well as the ERT team (previously Nio) will probably only occasionally be able to finish in the points.

Wehrlein to travel to Saudi Arabia as world championship leader

Unsurprisingly, Wehrlein leads the drivers’ standings with 28 points (25 for victory and three for pole position) ahead of Buemi (18 points) and Cassidy with 16 points (15 for third place and one extra point for the fastest race lap). In the team standings, the Porsche team leads with Wehrlein’s 28 points. The Jaguar works team follows in second place with 26 points, overtaking Envision (18 points) thanks to Evans’ fifth place.

Rounds two and three of the season will take place in Saudi Arabia on January 26 and 27. As usual, the races in Diriyah will be held under floodlights.

porsche.comfiaformulae.com (race results), fiaformulae.com (driver results), fiaformulae.com (team results)


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