Formula E

Start of a new era of Formula E: The XXL preview of the Mexico City E-Prix 2023

Tobias Bluhm

Tobias Bluhm

On Saturday, Formula E kicks off the 2023 season. For the first time, the newly developed Gen3 cars will compete together at an E-Prix. Everything you need to know about the race in Mexico City - times, TV & livestream, track info, etc. - you'll find in our big report. -, you can find out in our great preview.

It's been exactly 153 days since the checkered flag fell at the 2022 season finale in Seoul. The championship celebration of Stoffel Vandoorne, the emotional Mercedes' departure from the electric series and the overtime vehicle development from the season break are now a thing of the past: On Saturday, the highly anticipated 2023 season kicks off with the Mexico City E-Prix.

The upcoming World Championship year is one of innovation for the electric series: In Central America, the Gen3 vehicle will be used in a race for the first time. McLaren and Maserati are contesting their first E-Prix. Rookie Jake Hughes will start his first race, and the newly formed Team ABT Cupra hopes to do well in its comeback to the electric series.

City, Country, River

Mexico City is one of the largest and most important cities in Latin America. The metropolis, which is about 700 years old, is located in a valley at an average altitude of 2,240 meters. In the immediate vicinity stands the active Popocatepetl volcano. According to tradition, the city was founded by the Aztecs on an island in Lake Texcoco, which has since been almost completely drained.

The valley's closed nature on three sides and the resulting low air circulation near the ground mean that Mexico City often has to contend with smog. So in a way, for Formula E and its message of tackling air pollution, the city of 21 million people:inside is the ideal venue for an E-Prix: with electric vehicles, the series aims to pave a "faster path to a cleaner future."

Fast Facts | Mexico City

  • There was plenty of movement in the Formula E driver market during the season break. Only Jaguar TCS Racing will compete with an unchanged duo this year: The contracts with Sam Bird and Mitch Evans have been renewed.
  • Is pole position cursed in Mexico City? Only in three of the previous six races the pole sitter made it to the finish.
  • A victory at the start of the season does not guarantee a title win by a long shot. Only Sebastien Buemi (season 2) and Nyck de Vries (season 7) won the opening race in their respective championship years.
  • Dan Ticktum and Sergio Sette Camara (Nio 333) start the season as Formula E's youngest driver duo: on average, they are 24 years and 45 days old. Mahindra Racing, on the other hand, has the oldest pairing (Oliver Rowland/Lucas di Grassi) with an average age of 34 years and 156 days.
  • During the duration of the 2022 Mexico City E-Prix, music fans could have listened to Rex Gildo's iconic song "Fiesta Mexicana" 15 times. Hossa!

TV & Livestream | The Formula E race in Mexico City

Nothing has changed in the television rights in Germany ahead of the 2023 season: ProSieben is the official partner of Formula E and will broadcast the E-Prix live on TV on Saturday evening at 9 pm. Pre-race coverage by 'ran racing' already starts at 8:25 p.m.

In Austria and Switzerland, the E-Prix can also be followed on ORF Sport+, MySports One and discovery+. The latter two options, however, are subject to a fee. Fans in Germany can also watch Formula E on Discovery's paid service, formerly known as "Eurosport Player".

Session Date Day of week Start TV/Stream Session Time End TV/Stream Where to watch
1. Freies Training 13.01.2023 Freitag 23:20 23:30-00:00 00:05 e-Formel.de
2. Freies Training 14.01.2023 Samstag 14:20 14:30-15:00 15:05 e-Formel.de
Qualifying 14.01.2023 Samstag 16:25 16:40-17:55 18:00 ran.de
Rennen 14.01.2023 Samstag 20:25 21:03-22:00 22:10 ProSieben / ran.de

* alle Angaben in Mitteleuropäischer Zeit (MEZ)

You can watch all the practice sessions in a free livestream at 'e-Formula.news'. A German-language qualifying broadcast is available on 'ran.de'.

Stretch | adjustments for more energy recovery

With the exception of the 2021 Corona season, Formula E has guested at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez for all of its Mexico races since its second season - including this time. There, it uses a short approach of the track known from Formula 1. New this year are only turns 9, 10 and 11 - a chicane through which the drivers are to be given an additional opportunity to recover energy during braking.

The highlight of the lap is the passage through the former Foro Sol baseball stadium, where some 27,000 fans are again expected to cheer on the Formula E drivers. The attack zone, where attack mode must be unlocked twice during the race, is located on the outside of turn 15 as of this year.

Rearview mirror | What happened during the season break

The FIA adopted some Rule changes: All E-Prix will henceforth again be called lap races will be held, and the way has also been cleared for fast-charge-pit-stops. However, charging stops during races will come later in the year - so far, the technology from charger and battery manufacturer Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) is not yet mature.

The field of teams also changed significantly: McLaren took over the grid from Mercedes and signed Jake Hughes and Rene Rast for the new season. The reigning world champion and driver Stoffel Vandoorne, on the other hand, switched to the new alliance of DS and Penske. Also new to the grid: Maserati MSG Racing (with engines from DS and support from the racing team formerly known as "Venturi") and the German team ABT Cupra.

Qualifying groups | line-up for the Mexico City E-Prix

The qualifying procedure has been slightly adjusted for the 2023 season. Furthermore, the time trial for the starting positions will be held in a group and knockout phase. However, the quarterfinals and semifinals will now no longer take place across groups. This means that from now on, the fastest and fourth fastest as well as the second and third fastest of the same group will meet in the quarterfinals. The semifinals will also take place within each group - only in the final will the riders from both groups meet.

Because the Mexico City E-Prix is the first race of the year, the groups cannot be constructed based on the current world championship standings, as is usually the case. Instead, it is up to the teams to allocate their drivers to both groups. One driver from a racing team must be named for each qualifying group. The announcement will be made after the FIA's "administrative checks" - probably on Friday. This article will be revised once the groupings have been announced.

Weather forecast | Big temperature swings & thin air

As usual, Formula E is "escaping" for its season opener to warmer regions than Central Europe, where many teams are based. This is likely to succeed at the Mexico City E-Prix: Meteorologists expect mostly sunny weather during the race weekend, with comparatively large temperature fluctuations between 4 and 21 degrees Celsius.

A special feature of the race in Mexico: the track is 2,240 meters above sea level. The physical strain on the drivers will therefore be higher than usual. Likewise, the "thinner air" will put greater strain on vehicle parts than on other tracks.

Video: What lessons did teams learn from preseason testing?

 

Prediction: How early will the wheat be separated from the chaff?

The move from Gen2 to Gen3 cars is a major technological upheaval that holds numerous opportunities for teams in the mid- or rearfield of Formula E. After all, in recent months the FIA has given its constructors the opportunity to develop entirely new powertrains - and thus an opportunity to make up ground on their rivals.

At the collective test sessions in Spain, some racing teams supposedly deliberately hid their true pace to keep expectations low ahead of the Mexico City E-Prix. Thus, fans are unlikely to see the full performance of teams and drivers until qualifying at the earliest. Until then, the true balance of power remains unknown.

But another factor could become decisive in Mexico City anyway: reliability. Time and again, cars failed or crashed due to brake problems in the testing phase before the start of the season. It would not be a big surprise if there were significantly more failures in the early races than in past Gen2 years. For reliable carmakers, this creates an opportunity to position themselves early in the world championship battle. In 2023, the wheat could be separated from the chaff comparatively early.

In Valencia, DS Penske and Maserati MSG Racing equally fast and reliable, but simply because of the large volume of resources that Porsche has invested in development of the new 99X Electric was available, the Zuffenhausen:ins together with their customer-team Andretti also count among the extended circle of favorites. Also open is the question of how well Jaguar, Mahindra and Nissan, or their customers Envision, ABT and McLaren, perform. Could Nio 333 perhaps also manage a big surprise? We'll get the first answers on Saturday evening. Everything is ready: Welcome to the new season of Formula E!

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