Mortara crashes, Günther just misses points: "Few positives" at Maserati's Formula E debut
After promising results in the pre-season tests in Valencia, Maserati MSG Racing leaves the scene of the Formula E season opener in Mexico City without points. While Edoardo Mortara landed after a driving error in the wall, it was enough for Max Günther in the end only to 11th place.
Thereby the weekend started well for the two Maserati drivers: In the 1st Free Practice on Friday evening Mortara and Günther occupied positions 6 and 10. On Saturday morning, however, nothing went together already with the Monegasques: Mortara hit the barrier in the final corner and had to park the car at the side of the track. Günther finished almost 0.8 seconds behind in 16th place.
Qualifying was also anything but satisfactory for the team: Günther not only missed the duel stage, he even only finished ninth out of eleven in group A. Things didn't go any better for Mortara either: He only finished eighth in Group B. In the end, that meant grid positions 16 for Mortara and 17 for Günther.
Edo Mortara: "Overall, there is little positive to report"
Mortara had a good race start and immediately pushed past Rene Rast's McLaren. He was able to hold his position after two safety car periods despite the activation of the attack mode. A drive-through penalty for Dan Ticktum moved him up to 14th position.
Shortly before the race half-time then the end for the Swiss: In turn 1 the rear axle blocked, the Maserati turned 180 degrees and hit the TecPro barrier backwards. The impact was so hard that the rear suspension was damaged, and the race was over for Mortara.
"It wasn't our best weekend," Mortara said after the race. "After the pace we had in Valencia, I struggled to find a good rhythm in the car, especially on one lap. I managed to come back in the race, and until the accident I think we were in a good position. Especially in terms of our pace and energy consumption."
"It was quite difficult to find a good balance on the tires," he described further. "A little oversteer led to me flying off in the first corner. Overall, there's little positive to report, but we'll look closely at the data, understand what happened and come back in Diriyya."
Günther: "Speed in the race was much better"
Maximilian Günther drove an unremarkable race in which he focused on energy management for a long time. He also benefited from the penalty for Ticktum in the process, before overtaking compatriot Rene Rast on lap 15. The latter passed Günther again on lap 25, never coming within reach of the top 10 at any stage of the race.
At the originally scheduled end of the race, Günther was still in 15th place after 36 laps. In the five additional laps added to the race distance due to the long safety car phases, he continued to move forward. Thanks to clever energy management, the young German was able to make up a few more positions in the final phase of the race. He moved up to 11th place, but missed out on the points by 0.614 seconds in the end.
"It was a tough weekend for us as a team," Günther summed up after the race. "Because of the high altitude (of Mexico City), it was quite difficult to get the tires into the optimum range, which affected our pace in qualifying."
"After starting from the very back, our pace was much better in the race," Günther continued. "Our efficiency and strategy proved to be competitive. I was able to move up a few places, but unfortunately we just missed out on the top 10."
"It was a difficult day, but in motorsport you learn most from your bad days, not the good ones," described team principal James Rossiter. "A bad qualifying set us back, but we fought back strongly in the race."
"Max worked his way up from 17th to 11th and finished just outside the points," Rossiter continued. "Edo showed really strong pace during the race. His accident in turn 1 was unfortunate. It's a shame."
"We still have a lot to learn," Rossiter described. "There's a lot of data we need to process from this weekend so we're in a better position for the next race in Diriyya."
Sgro: "Mexico was exciting and memorable for all of us"
"Maserati is back in racing," explains Giovanni Sgro, head of racing at Maserati Corse. "Even if the result was not what we had hoped for, the Mexico City E-Prix was exciting and unforgettable for all of us."
"Motorsport is unpredictable," Sgro continued. "First and foremost, we are relieved that Edo is doing well. But what a strong race from Max, who fought his way up from 17th to 11th and finished just outside the points. This first race was a great learning experience and we are now focusing our attention and determination on Saudi Arabia."
In just under two weeks, Maserati MSG Racing will have its next chance to score its first points in the 2023 Formula E World Championship. The "double-header" in Diriyya, Saudi Arabia, is scheduled for January 27 and 28.