Thanks to a dominant qualifying and a good strategy, Porsche was able to clinch its first (one-two) victory in Formula E in Mexico City. Missing interruptions and an "unfavorable additional round" provoked range chaos at the end.
Shortly after crossing the finish line, the history books were diligently leafed through. When was it then, the last victory of a formula project from Porsche? For some, the Formula 1 triumph of the unforgotten Dan Gurney in 1962 seemed the best answer, for others the CART success of Milanese Teodorico "Teo" Fabi in Mid-Ohio in the 1989 season sounded more plausible.
While Gurney's Type 804 is undoubtedly a genuine Porsche, there was some discussion about the name of the US racer: Porsche-March 89P. So was Porsche just an engine supplier? no way! Since the German sports car manufacturer had problems with the chassis it had developed itself, the English specialist March first supplied it with a customer chassis and then a tailor-made monocoque for the 1989 season. If you will, the CART history is even closer to the principle of the current Formula E. But since February 12, 2022 at the latest, both victories have finally been a thing of the past.
Strong from the start
After the blows to the neck from the last trip to Mexico – Pascal Wehrlein was deprived of a win, among other things – and the mediocre start in Saudi Arabia, Porsche traveled to Latin America with the necessary motivation. This time, the popular Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, including a spectacular stadium section, was the venue. Before that, it had a nobler role as a temporary hospital for COVID-19 sufferers and was represented by Puebla.
Although Pascal Wehrlein had the best car throughout the qualifying tournament, luck was also on his side in the final. His competitor Edoardo Mortara (Venturi-Mercedes) lost control of the rear just before the finish line. As a result, he slid side-first across the line, losing crucial tenths. Wehrlein's team-mate André Lotterer had previously been knocked out by Mortara, but ultimately secured third place on the grid. The DS Techeetah pilots Jean-Éric Vergne and António Félix da Costa rounded off the top quintet.
Right at the start, Mortara Wehrlein put pressure on him, but had to position himself between the two Porsches for the following minutes. Behind the pursuing DS, things got really busy in the initial phase, but there were only a few changes until the first activations of the attack mode. After a little more than five minutes, Lotterer, Mortara and Wehrlein were the first drivers in the top 10 to get the additional kW and thus heralded an intense end to the first third of the race. Mortara completed the same in the lead, behind them the DS-Techeetah started an offensive against the Porsche.
After the second activations, it briefly looked as if victory would repeatedly slip through the fingers of the Porsche, but the impression was misleading. While they were in 3rd and 4th place with 20 minutes to go, the longed-for double lead was already achieved around 13 minutes before the time was up. Florian Modlinger, the new overall project manager for Formula E, analysed: "When the drivers initially fell behind, everyone in the team stayed calm. In the final phase, they were then able to fight their way forward thanks to the energy advantage they had developed."
Porsche calculates best
Despite taking the double lead, the Porsche engineers had to intervene again. They radioed second-placed André Lotterer into the car and asked him to respect the constellation to the end. The 40-year-old will certainly not have liked the call, but the message was clear: A possible internal team fight would massively torpedo the range advantage.
The three-time Le Mans winner therefore presented himself as a team player after the race: "From the team's point of view, it was the right decision. It's tough, but I simply should have qualified better." Wehrlein, now finally freed from his misfortune in Mexico, appreciated it and praised the support of his older colleague. The fact that both are now tied in the World Cup should have eased the situation.
The situation was not quite as relaxed for some of the competitors, who had problems with their range due to a lack of neutralization and an unexpected 40th lap. Porsche's "game plan", on the other hand, provided for this from the start and ultimately aimed at it - another important building block on the road to historic success. Only DS was able to implement a comparable strategy with top driver Vergne, who finished third. In the end, however, the Porsches had hurried.
For many pursuers, long-suppressed memories of Valencia were awakened in the final minutes, where bad timing had also caused great tremors last year. A good example of the final mess is German Nissan driver Maximilian Günther, who dropped to 16th place one second before the time was up in live timing. In the final standings, he was the third-best German in 9th place - typical Formula E.
Edoardo Mortara retained the lead in the drivers' standings. Thanks to an equally remarkable final sprint to 6th position, Mercedes driver de Vries was able to stay in the chasing role. With overall places 3 and 4, Wehrlein and Lotterer have underlined their World Championship ambitions. It continues on April 9th and 10th in Rome.