"Starting point for attack on world championship" - Porsche quartet the measure of all things at Formula E opener in Mexico
German carmaker Porsche had a perfect start to the new 2023 Formula E season. All four cars that the constructor from Zuffenhausen equips with powertrains made it into the top 7. Jake Dennis and Pascal Wehrlein even drove to the top two places on the podium with Porsche power.
In particular, Dennis ran up to top form at the Mexico City E-Prix. After initially keeping behind Lucas di Grassi (Mahindra) at the start of the race, the Briton took advantage of a driving mistake by the Brazilian to take the lead on lap 12. Dennis was then able to pull away from the field.
In the process, even a safety car phase, caused by the retirement of Edoardo Mortara (Maserati), did not upset him. While di Grassi held off the rivals behind him with energy problems, Dennis was able to extend his lead to several seconds. Brand colleague Pascal Wehrlein finished the final lap well behind Dennis - at the finish he was 7.8 seconds off the lead.
"Time for tequila with the team!"
"It's absolutely incredible," Dennis enthused after the race, praising the "sensational" atmosphere among the 40,000 or so spectators:inside in Mexico. "On the last lap, I could hear the fans cheering in the car. A Porsche one-two at the start of the season - that's really awesome!"
Dennis continued, "These cars are physically very demanding to drive. That's why it rewards you all the more when you win by seven and a half seconds. Now it's time for a few glasses of tequila with the team!"
Second-placed Wehrlein is also satisfied with Porsche's overall performance: "This is a good starting point for our attack on the world championship," the German thinks. "Both in the race and in qualifying, the Porsche cars were super strong. Of course, we hope that this was not a one-off. After all, Mexico was our best race last year as well."
Lotterer trumps Hughes - best result since Berlin 2022
Just behind Wehrlein, Andre Lotterer crossed the finish line. The German, who switched from Porsche's factory team to the Andretti customer team during the season break, presented himself as usual in a strong duel at the opening race of 2023. Over several laps, the 41-year-old cut his teeth on McLaren driver Jake Hughes. He finally managed the decisive overtaking maneuver on the last lap of the race. Lotterer finished the race in fourth place.
"Fourth place is a solid, good result with my new team," Lotterer analyzed. "The potential and pace were there for a podium result, but unfortunately it wasn't easy to overtake today. Nevertheless, I scored good points. The anticipation for the next race in Saudi Arabia is already rising!"
In a slightly worse but by no means unsatisfactory seventh place, Antonio Felix da Costa finished the race. In his first outing with the Porsche factory team, he fought duels with Sebastien Buemi (Envision) and Sacha Fenestraz (Nissan). In the final phase, he even closed the gap to the chasing group of Wehrlein, Lotterer and co. thanks to di Grassi's energy drought, but was unable to benefit from his rivals' position battles.
"This race was very challenging mentally and physically," Felix da Costa told 'O Minho' after the race. "After a good start, I was stuck behind Sacha (Fenestraz) and even lost two places in the meantime. That ultimately prevented me from fighting for the podium. But the car makes me optimistic for the next race. On days like these, when you have a few problems, it's important to score points after all. I managed to do that."
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Either way, the Swabian automaker should look back on the first E-Prix of the year with satisfaction. No manufacturer collected as many points in Mexico City as Porsche - a total of 62. Mahindra managed the second-best points haul in Central America. Behind them was Jaguar, which together with Envision scored 14 points.
"That was a successful first race day of the season," agrees Porsche's overall Formula E project manager Florian Modlinger. "We now know where we stand compared to the competition on a track with these characteristics. Congratulations to our winning customer team Andretti. In the end, all four Porsches finished in the top 7 - we can be very satisfied with that."
The next opportunity for world championship points comes in less than two weeks for both racing teams. The 2023 Diriyya E-Prix will take place on January 27 and 28 with two night races - on the very circuit where Porsche scored its first Formula E podium result in 2019.