"I'll support him as much I can" - Felix da Costa to assist Formula E leader Wehrlein in championship battle
Just one point separates Pascal Wehrlein from his nearest rival in the Formula E World Championship, Jake Dennis (Andretti). The German Porsche driver wants to score points again at the upcoming E-Prix in the USA to distance himself from the competition. However, he is not yet thinking about the title race - although his teammate is already hinting at providing the German with assistance in the future.
Much has been written about what Porsche's Formula E team has achieved this year. Three and a half seasons after entering the electric class, the German manufacturer led by Pascal Wehrlein is mixing it up at the top of the world championship for the first time. Ahead of the Portland E-Prix (June 25, 2:00 am CEST), the Zuffenhausen-based squad lead both in the drivers' and the teams' standings, even if their lead over rivals from Jaguar, Envision and Andretti is only small.
But what about the actual chances of the world title going to Germany this year? The statistics do not allow for a reliable forecast: Wehrlein is more consistent than ever, but the championship lead has changed back and forth several times in the last five races of a season despite good starting positions. In Formula E history, the eventual champion was in the lead at this point of a season in only three years (Vergne 2018 & 2019, Felix da Costa 2021). In 2022, Mitch Evans had 134 points on his account after eleven races, just like Wehrlein this season. In the end, he "only" finished second.
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Wehrlein: "I always feel like a hunter!"
So, ahead of the Portland E-Prix, Porsche needs to keep up the pressure on the competition. "After two-thirds of the season, the field is incredibly close, especially in the drivers' championship, where Pascal leads by just one point," explains team boss Florian Modlinger as well. In the U.S., he doesn't want to be distracted from the title race: "I'm expecting a tough battle for the title right up to the last race."
When asked whether Wehrlein prefers to be the hunter or the hunted in the home stretch of the season, the 28-year-old responds calmly: "I always feel like a hunter! Because I'm always chasing the best possible position, regardless of how things stand in the championship," he elaborated to e-Formula.news between the races in Indonesia and the USA. "I always want to race for the best possible results. While I've led for most of the season so far, in the end that's worth nothing if we're not leading after the last race."
Felix da Costa hints at non-attack pact with Wehrlein
He himself knows how quickly gaps in the championship can open up and close: "I was 20 points ahead of everyone else at one point before I even lost the lead in Monaco," Wehrlein recalls. "After Monaco, Cassidy was 20, 21 points ahead - and now I'm back in the lead. That shows how fast things can go in Formula E. The important thing is to be at the top of the standings after the London E-Prix, not now."
At least Wehrlein can rely on the support of his teammate at the race in the USA. In a press release ahead of the race weekend, the Portuguese announces what reads like a non-aggression pact: "I'll support the team and Pascal as much as I can and do everything to ensure that both world championship titles go to Porsche. I'm happy to take on this role because I'm sure Pascal would do the same for me if the roles were reversed. That's not a problem for me. This is a team sport. Our common goal is to win races and championships. That's our job."
A look at the remaining points shows how open the championship battle still is: 319 points have been awarded so far, with 145 points still possible if the results are perfect. That's more than what Wehrlein or his rivals have scored so far. They can also score up to 29 points this weekend in the USA - and would incidentally take a little more control of what is written about their achievements.