Crash, hospital & comeback: Porsche celebrates world championship leads after eventful Formula E weekend
Porsche is the world championship leader in Formula E for the first time. After a conceivably poor start to the weekend - Pascal Wehrlein crashed badly in 1st Free Practice - the German manufacturer left India with a trophy for third-placed Antonio Felix da Costa. Wehrlein drove "out of the hospital" to 4th place and could even extend his overall lead..
Antonio Felix da Costa started from 13th place in his 100th Formula E race. Already in the first laps, he made up positions and drove towards race half-time in the leading group. Thanks to a good race strategy and a flawless race, he improved to fourth place. A subsequent time penalty against Sebastien Buemi saw him move up the podium and claim his first trophy for Porsche.
"I had a good start, but then lost a few positions in the pack," recalled the Portuguese. "But we stayed cool. Our attack mode strategy worked perfectly. To start from P13 and finish third is fantastic. And that in my 100th Formula E race. That was a typical Formula E race - exciting right to the end."
?@afelixdacosta claims his first podium finish for the #PorscheFormulaETeam. We are sure there will be many more to come.- TAG Heuer Porsche FE Team (@PorscheFormulaE) February 11, 2023
Enjoy this little clip. ?❤️ #MakeItMatter @FIAFormulaE pic.twitter.com/znNnsDlobf
At least as impressive was teammate Pascal Wehrlein's comeback. The world championship leader had crashed heavily into the wall in Friday's 1st Free Practice due to an electronics problem and subsequently had to undergo a checkup at the hospital. Wehrlein did not let this distract him and showed a solid race day, although he could not quite match his form of the first three races this time.
Wehrlein: Back pain "I still felt today".
In the race, it washed the German from a mediocre twelfth starting position ultimately to rank 4 forward. In the final phase, he benefited from the Porsche 99X Electric's once again good efficiency, but also from some mistakes by the competition, who took each other out of the race.
"I started from twelfth on the grid and scored important points in fourth place - I can be really happy with that," Wehrlein said. "After my accident in the 1st free practice session, I was in hospital until late in the evening because I had quite a bit of back pain. I was still feeling that today, but otherwise everything was fine."
"The fact that we missed an entire practice session due to the accident was already noticeable," the 28-year-old admits. "There were some small details on the car that didn't fit. But overall it was a good day." Because his current main rival Jake Dennis came away empty-handed, the driver from Sindelfingen was able to extend his championship lead to 18 points. Up to 3rd place it is even already 49 points.
Modlinger: "Also a merit of the team".
Porsche's Formula E project manager, Florian Modlinger, is also satisfied: "After his training accident, Pascal fought his way up to fourth place in the race and thereby extended his lead in the world championship. That's also a credit to the team, which worked through the night to get him a functioning car for the race."
Modlinger admits that Porsche was again "not satisfactory" in qualifying. But, "Antonio scored his first podium for the team in his anniversary race, which makes me very happy. The fact that we've taken the lead in the world championship as a result is a great reward. It was a very good performance by the whole team today."
In the drivers' standings of the Formula E World Championship, Wehrlein leads with 80 points after the first quarter of the season. This means he has already collected more points after four races than in any of his previous four seasons: in 2021 he had scored 79 points, his previous best. It is also only the second time in Formula E history that a driver has 80 points after four races of the season. Sebastien Buemi had already achieved this in season 2 - in the end, the Swiss driver became champion.
Felix da Costa improved to ninth place with 21 points. Porsche travels to the next race as the leader with 101 points - the first time in Formula E history. This is already scheduled for two weeks from now in South Africa.