until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula E

Porsche announces Wehrlein + Our verdict on its driver choice

by Sam Smith
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Pascal Wehrlein has been officially announced as a Porsche Formula E driver and will partner Andre Lotterer at the team next season.

As revealed by The Race in June, Wehrlein has signed a long-term deal to race for Porsche after Mahindra annulled his contract following his decision to take up the Porsche offer for next season.

That led to Wehrlein missing the six Berlin races that concluded the 2019/20 championship.

Wehrlein replaces Neel Jani, who scored his first points for the team earlier this week with a sixth place finish in Wednesday’s Tempelhof race.

The Race says

– Sam Smith

Pascal Wehrlein

Porsche pulled out the stops to get the signature of Wehrlein because of an internal craving to help future-proof its primary motorsport programme.

Its two current drivers Lotterer and Jani would have a combined age of 76 in 2021, whereas current kingpin team DS Techeetah’s pairing of Antonio Felix da Costa and Jean-Eric Vergne would be a full 17 years younger.

Youth isn’t everything, but with plenty of time in March and April on its hands, the Porsche management team acted decisively to solidify its driving attack for its second campaign.

It has chosen Wehrlein, who among many teams is regarded as a particularly enigmatic presence in motorsport.

His speed and racecraft are rarely questioned, but his career mapping often is.

A vexing degree of restlessness appears to follow Wehrlein wherever he goes, and this often makes it difficult to judge if he is the real deal or not.

Read Sam Smith’s full column on Wehrlein here

“It is a great honour for me to represent Porsche in the 2020/2021 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship,” said Wehrlein.

“I have always followed the brand’s unique motorsport history. I have huge respect for the legendary Porsche success story.

“I am looking forward to getting to know the team and starting work in Weissach as quickly as possible.”

Porsche kept Jani in the cockpit of the #18 Porsche 99X car for the recent Berlin races, staying true to its long-held policy of being loyal to contracted drivers.

Neel Jani Porsche Berlin Formula E 2020

Jani is being retained by Porsche but it is not clear if this will specifically be with the Formula E operation or on another specific programme.

“We are delighted to welcome Pascal to the Porsche family,” said Fritz Enzinger, head of Porsche Motorsport.

“He has gained a lot of experience in different race series at his young age, where he has always sparkled.”

Enzinger also made a point of thanking Jani for his role in the Porsche Formula E programme, which he joined in 2018 from the 919 Hybrid sportscar programme.

“We would also like to thank Neel Jani for his outstanding commitment. He played a significant part in the development of our Formula E project and thereby contributed greatly to the successes.”

Wehrlein, along with new team-mate Lotterer, will take part in private development running in the coming months before making a public debut as a Porsche driver in Formula E in the official pre-season test that is tentatively slated for late November.

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