"Could have done more" - Jaguar struggles with reliability, Buemi celebrates successful Envision debut
At the Gen3 opener last weekend in Mexico City, three of four Jaguar cars finished in the top 10 and thus in the points. While Sebastien Buemi celebrated a good Formula E debut with the customer team Envision with 6th place, the factory team around Mitch Evans and Sam Bird in particular had to struggle with reliability problems and fell short of expectations despite scoring world championship points..
Jaguar already experienced ups and downs in preparation: at the collaborative Formula E test drives in Valencia, the "cat of prey" was only in fourth place in the manufacturer comparison and already there struggled with the durability of the car. Both Envision drivers and Sam Bird each crashed once in preparation after a rear brake failure - more often than any other manufacturer..
Also in Mexico, things did not go smoothly for the Brits. After the 1st Free Practice session, Mitch Evans also experienced an accident, likely due to brake problems. After his team repaired the car, he missed the duel stage in qualifying, five hundredths of a second behind in 4th place. Speaking to colleagues at 'The Race', the New Zealander said that he had been unable to improve over several qualifying laps because the tires had become too warm. A remarkable statement in view of the very hard rubber compound of Hankook. A time of 1:13.405 minutes was only enough for tenth place on the grid.
While Formula E fans got to see some exciting catch-ups from Evans in 2022, it was only two positions up for him at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. "I was hoping for more today because the car was very efficient, which is really promising," Evans said. "I lacked balance, which meant I couldn't take advantage of the energy advantage the way I would have liked."
Bird: Mexico weekend is a "big shame"
For teammate Sam Bird, who will have to defend his cockpit this year after finishing 13th overall in 2022, things went even worse. He ended the 2nd free practice session earlier than intended after a fault with the engine control unit. This also prevented a better starting position than 21st place in qualifying. In the race, the next breakdown came after five laps: mechanical damage and an early end.
"This weekend is a great shame for everyone at Jaguar who worked so hard," said Sam Bird. "I know we have a good package. We just need to make sure as a team that we minimize the mistakes and iron out the issues that held us back here in Mexico. We'll be Diriyya ready for the race."
Buemi shines on Envision debut
Hope was raised by the results from customer team Envision, which beat the factory team in both qualifying and the race. Particularly positive was the performance of veteran Sebastien Buemi, who had switched from Nissan to Envision. After two unremarkable practice sessions, he reached the duel stage of qualifying and was immediately up against eventual pole-sitter Lucas di Grassi in the quarterfinals. 19 thousandths of a second separated the two eternal rivals in the electric series to one lap.
In the race, the Swiss showed some duels worth watching, for example with Antonio Felix da Costa, and worked his way up to sixth position. "I'm really happy with sixth place in my first weekend with Envision Racing," Buemi said.
"I think there could have been even more. We had good pace and still energy left when the race was over. In qualifying, I only had one mistake on the lap. The team did a great job. To finish in the points with both cars and to be sixth and ninth is a great result."
In just under a week and a half - on January 27 and 28 - Formula E continues with two races in Diriyya (Saudi Arabia).