"Absolute chaos!" - Müller scolds Mortara & track after Formula E accident, Rossiter criticizes driver
Incidents with rivals or individual driving errors have already cost Maserati MSG points several times in the 2023 Formula E season. The Monegasque racing team also left Sao Paulo without any points - again due to accidents. While team boss James Rossiter is ramping up the pressure on his drivers, Nico Müller (ABT Cupra) is taking issue with compatriot Edoardo Mortara and the Formula E for its track design.
After a grueling start to the season, it initially looked as if the Swiss would finally achieve the turnaround he had hoped for in Sao Paulo. In qualifying, the Maserati driver secured a place on the second row of the grid. Given the good efficiency of the DS/Maserati engine, he must have been hoping for his first top-5 result of the season before the race start.
But already in turn 2 it was clear: These hopes would again be disappointed. Due to the usual "accordion effect" at the race start, he slid into the rear of eventual race winner Mitch Evans (Jaguar) and damaged his front wing, which fell under the front wheels of Mortara's car. Without control, he then slid off the track in turn 3 and headed for the pit lane a little later for a parts change. A safety car brought him back within range of the field. But in the position fight Nico Müller it crashed a second time..
Rossiter threatens consequences: 'Must make significant changes ahead of Berlin'
Mortara had tried to overtake his compatriot on the outside lane of turn 7 on lap 21. However, he misjudged the width of his vehicle, cut off Müller's path and was spun. Both drivers ended the race shortly afterwards with suspension damage. "The team deserved a better result," MSG team principal James Rossiter analyzed after the E-Prix, "but the mistakes mean the results don't reflect our full potential."
"We had a fast car, that should have been clear after qualifying. Now, instead, we need to look again at what happened and make significant changes ahead of Berlin," concludes Rossiter. The Briton can well relate to Mortara's perspective; after all, as a former Formula 1 test driver and endurance driver, he has years of racing experience himself. Even after the Cape Town E-Prix, Rossiter had criticized his drivers' susceptibility to error..
Müller scolds Formula E chicanes in Sao Paulo.
Nico Müller gave free rein to his frustration even during the race. In a TV interview with 'ran', he said, "I just tried to keep my position, but Edo fully turned in and didn't give me any space," the ABT driver said. "The contact broke the front left suspension. But this race was also absolute chaos in other respects: with chicanes (like in Sao Paulo) it's an absolute lottery. Because of the hand-organ effect, you always have to take evasive action, and all you can do is try to get around the traffic jam or drive up other people's asses."
Müller's suggestion for better racing, quite independent of the accident with Mortara: "We need fewer chicanes and smoother tracks. On one lap, it's fun here: it's technical, and you can play with the car. But because the role of slipstream is so big, this hand organ effect determines the whole race. It's not pretty."
ABT Cupra still without points, Maserati in a slump of form.
Mortara and Müller are 19th and 21st in the Formula E drivers' championship - surrounded by their teammates Maximilian Günther (Maserati, 20th) and Robin Frijns (ABT, 22nd). After the first six races of the season, ABT Cupra remains in last place in the standings with no points, while Maserati MSG is in second-to-last place with three points.
After all, the next opportunity for world championship points comes in three and a half weeks for both teams at the Berlin E-Prix. ABT and Günther are likely to travel to their home races with big ambitions, while Mortara is hoping to follow up his Berlin victory from last year with an overdue good result. But a first success would probably already be a weekend without mistakes and carbon scrap.