Max Günther back at the top of Formula E after race win in Jakarta: "A better version of myself"
Max Guenther is back. With his victory at the Formula E race in Jakarta, he ended a dry spell lasting almost two years with numerous setbacks. Despite deep valleys - or perhaps precisely because of them - he says he has made steady progress from his own point of view. He therefore emotionally sorts his win in Indonesia directly behind his first E-Prix success in 2020 in Santiago de Chile.
"The first win was certainly something very special. I will remember that day in Santiago for a long time," Günther recalls of January 18, 2020, when he in his BMW beat Antonio Felix da Costa in the "melting pot" of the Chilean capital. In a virtual media round, he classified his recent win in response to a question from e-Formula.news: "But then, I would say, directly comes Jakarta already."
His explanation is plausible: "I had to wait almost two years for a win after New York. Especially looking at last season (as a Nissan driver), which was really not easy for me. And this year we also had a difficult start - despite great ambitions with Maserati. It hasn't been an easy time, as you might imagine."
Despite all the adversity, Günther remained calm and pulled himself out of the slump with his third-place finish at the Berlin E-Prix just under two months ago. His dominant performance and victory in Jakarta finally brought him back on track.
"I'm proud of how I got through all these low points," Günther says. "I kept working on myself and developed as a person and as a sportsman. I knew even without the results recently that I was already a better version of myself - even last year and at the beginning of this season. To now be able to back up that development with results is fantastic."
Upper hand against Mortara: "Always nice to finish ahead of your teammate"
What makes his performance in recent weeks even more impressive is that Günther currently has his teammate quite clearly under control. And this is not a no-name, but Edo Mortara - runner-up in the 2021 world championship and third overall in 2022. In Jakarta qualifying, Günther beat his garage neighbor in direct duels on both days, and the German also gained 34 points (!) more in the races. In the world championship, Günther ranks 7th with 70 points, while Mortara is just 18th with 17 points.
For Günther it's "hard to say" why things are not yet going quite right for the Swiss driver at Maserati. "Edo is a great teammate - definitely one of the strongest I've had in Formula E. I really enjoy working with him," Günther emphasizes, "but I can't speak for Edo." Nevertheless, he admits that Mortara once again didn't have any racing luck in Jakarta. "Otherwise, he might have finished on the podium on Sunday."
Nevertheless, an victory over a strong teammate tastes sugary sweet. You can see that in Günther's face. "It's always nice when you finish ahead of your teammate, of course. That's always your first goal as a driver, because he's the only one driving the same car as you," admits the 25-year-old. "I'm happy with my progress this year."
However, Maserati is not fighting for the championship this year. "Therefore, you don't have to focus quite so much on your teammate. You just want to be as far ahead as possible together and get the maximum out of the car." By the way, the title is not something Günther is thinking about, even after scoring so many championship points recently.
"No worries" about own Formula E future
What also plays into Günther's hands, he says, are the demands the new Gen3 car places on the drivers. "Your driving style already had to be very precise with the Gen2 car, but with the Gen3 car - it's really next level! You have to drive incredibly accurate and controlled and feel the car. You just have to be extremely precise. That's something that comes across to me and that I like."
Thanks to his now almost clinical approach and the internal upper hand against Mortara, Günther has recently put himself in a very good negotiating position for the future. It is not yet clear where he will drive in the next Formula E season. Nevertheless, Günther is confident.
"To be honest, I don't have any worries there at all, because I know that if I concentrate on what I have to do, then that's something." At the moment, however, he says it's too early to say how things will go for him next year. "I haven't made that decision yet. I'm just happy with how things are going right now."
Delayed party in Monaco
So there may still have been a delayed party in Monaco last weekend to celebrate the first Formula E win for the Maserati MSG Racing connection. "We had actually tried to change our flights (after the race in Jakarta) to Monday. Unfortunately, we already flew back home on Sunday evening - James (Rossiter, team principal), Edo (Mortara) and myself," Günther explains.
"So of course we had a bit of champagne on the plane, but that's all we could do on Sunday. But this weekend (June 10-11) I will celebrate with my team and my friends. I live in Monaco, the team is also based here - that's cool! So we have the chance to toast together once again."