Formula E

Porsche team principal Modlinger ahead of Formula E race in Sao Paulo: "We'll see more overtaking again"

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

After Pascal Wehrlein's Formula E opening victory in Mexico, not everything went to plan for TAG Heuer Porsche at the Diriyah E-Prix. This weekend, however, the electric series will be making a guest appearance in Sao Paulo - a circuit that should suit the efficient Porsche 99X Electric. Team Principal Florian Modlinger talks in an interview about the season so far, the goals for Antonio Felix da Costa and the upcoming Sao Paulo E-Prix.

One win for Pascal Wehrlein's works Porsche, one for Jake Dennis in the Andretti customer car. Was it a perfect start to the season for Porsche?

Three one-two victories would have been perfect. But Mexico with the success of Pascal and Diriyah, where Jake Dennis from our Andretti Formula E customer team won, were obviously two strong opening races for the Porsche 99X Electric. We can be very satisfied with that. We spoilt our own chances of a third victory with a poor starting position. So we are talking about a good start to the season.

How do you rate the current balance of power in Formula E after the first Gen3 year?

In such a close and highly competitive world championship with regulations that prescribe many standardised parts, it is challenging to gain a technological advantage. Last season, Jaguar and we had the best package and were able to set ourselves apart from the other manufacturers. The hardware this season is the same, so we are concentrating on optimising our systems and software from race to race. In this way, we are trying to maintain our small lead.

The cancellation of the race in India resulted in an unusually long break of seven weeks...

I'm not a fan of too long breaks. We are used to working to a set rhythm under pressure. I don't think such a long period without a race is good for Formula E fans either. But sometimes changes to the original race calendar are unavoidable.

How did you use this break?

We used the break as well as possible, followed up Diriyah and prepared Sao Paulo with our standard procedures. As things continue very intensively almost every two weeks after Sao Paulo, we gave the team a break to recover and spend time with the family. In Formula E, in addition to the technical and sporting regulations, there are also financial regulations, i.e. an upper cost limit that takes into account every hour worked by the team members.

Antonio Felix da Costa has - to put it mildly - not had a good start to the season. How can you help him out of this slump?

We are working intensively on this with Antonio. To be without points after three races of the season is a disappointment for him and also for us. We have a competitive car and Antonio has proven in the past that he can win races with different cars in all kinds of championships. We are focusing on working with him specifically on the pace on one lap, which means we need to get him further up the field in qualifying.

How high is the hope that he will regain his old strength in Sao Paulo?

Overtaking was very difficult in the first three races of this season, which is why he wasn't able to show his strong race performance. Antonio achieved his best qualifying result last year in Sao Paulo, finishing second. That will give him the necessary push to show what he can do. It's also hugely important for the team, because one thing is clear: we have to find those last two or three tenths of a second on a qualifying lap.

What do you expect from the Sao Paulo E-Prix in general?

We are travelling to Sao Paulo with positive expectations. The characteristics of the track suggest that energy management will be far more important than in Mexico and Saudi Arabia. We are therefore likely to see more overtaking again, which will also make the race more interesting for the fans.

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