Tag Heuer Porsche’s Pascal Werhlein conquered Mexico once again as he secured the first victory of Season 10 in the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
Having missed out on the Championship last year, Werhlein looked like a man with a point to prove in season opener in Mexico City, and the German got to work quickly by securing pole position.
Werhlein has taken all four of his Formula E Julius Baer Pole Positions in the country, and the same can be said of Porsche powertrains – driving the winner in each of the last three Mexico City E-Prix.
The German dominated from lights out, only losing his position briefly during his Attack Mode activation, and a spell under Full Course Yellow.
Envision Racing’s Buemi followed the Porsche home to take second for the reigning Teams’ World Champions, matching his Season 9 podium tally. Nick Cassidy, on debut in the factory Jaguar TCS Racing I-TYPE 6 after moving from Envision over the off-season, took third – making it by Maximilian Guenther (Maserati MSG Racing) mid-way through the encounter. The latter took the chequered flag in fourth.
Another Championship contender last year, Mitch Evans, struggled to get going and was forced into a defensive race. The Jaguar TCS Racing driver was scrambling to hold off the advancing Jean-Eric Vergne of DS Penske, who had pushed his way through the grid from tenth to become only the second Formula E driver to surpass 1,000 points.
NEOM McLaren’s Jake Hughes followed Vergne home in seventh, with Season 8 champion Stoffel Vandoorne eighth at the conclusion. Brit Jake Dennis in the Andretti made up ground to an eventual ninth and points from 14th at the start, after an uncharacteristic error in qualifying saw his title defense set off on the wrong foot. Dennis’ new teammate Norman Nato rounded out the top 10.
Speaking of his win, Pascal Werhlein said: “A pretty good day with pole position and the race win. Our focus in the off- season was especially in qualifying as that was one of our weaknesses in the last half last season. I hope we did a good step forward. Let’s see if it’s just Mexico City, or if we can confirm that in the next couple of events.
“Nevertheless, I was really happy about the pole position, probably as happy as I was about the race win to be honest! The race was not an easy one. It probably looked easier than it was because I was leading almost the whole race and could save a lot of energy – just always a little bit to increase my targets.”
Wehrlein and Porsche opted for a different strategy than their rivals, with the race-winner taking both his ATTACK MODES in quick succession early on in the E-Prix. However, a gap from him to Sebastien Buemi (Envision Racing) soon appeared after the Season 2 champ made an error when hunting down Pascal.
“I saw Buemi make a mistake behind me which put him out of the slipstream, and from there the race was a bit easier,” he continued after the race. “A very good day. Thanks to my team all the hard work and we need to keep pushing.”
Talking of pushing, Wehrlein also added that each trip around the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez felt like a qualifying lap and trying to maximise the corner speeds.
“This track is one where it’s not so easy to overtake. Yes, you can overtake but you’re already more flat out then on some other tracks. I quite like the mix. Tracks like Berlin or Portland can be messy at the start of a race until the pace picks up. It’s good that we have a couple of other races where qualifying matters and where we really want to start in the top five.”
The Porsche driver now makes it two victories in Mexico City, after attaining the German giants’ first win in Formula E in 2020.
“I definitely had a good feeling and already during testing at the end of last season, it was clear that we made some steps forward,” he finalised. “But obviously Mexico is somehow always a special track for us. That’s why I’m a bit cautious! But hopefully we can confirm that performance in qualifying and also on other tracks.”
All that leaves Wehrlein atop the Drivers’ table at this early stage, with TAG Heuer Porsche heading the Teams’ running.
Formula E returns in two weeks’ time for a double-header of night races in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia on 27 & 28 January.