until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula E

Team tactics and toying with rivals – Inside Porsche’s FE win

by Sam Smith
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Porsche managed its clear pace and energy management advantage to secure 1-2 positions in the final quarter of the Mexico City E-Prix as it finally secured a Formula E race victory early in its third season in the championship.

Pascal Wehrlein and Andre Lotterer – both also seeking their first FE wins – effectively held station in the final laps, a decision Lotterer described as the “right call”.

Porsche largely controlled the opening and closing stages of the race, but in the mid-portion Wehrlein dropped behind Edoardo Mortara and Jean-Eric Vergne, with Lotterer also falling back temporarily to fourth position, tailing his team-mate, and saving some energy in his slipstream.

But Porsche was so confident in its pace – and knew that some cars were going to gamble on the race being a 39 lap event if it remained green – that it effectively toyed with its direct opposition in this phase of the race.

Wehrlein and Lotterer upped their pace in the second half of the E-Prix and reeled in and passed both Vergne and leader Mortara to assume first and second places, then had enough in hand to pull away and managed the pace to ensure it became the 40 lap race Porsche had planned for.

At that stage the decision was taken to stabilise the 1-2 positions with Wehrlein being given a message by his race engineer Kyle Wilson-Clarke to “stay efficient” and “don’t worry about the car behind”.

Lotterer was in a slightly better position at this point with his state-of-charge reading and said that he had a “good opportunity to take the lead” but that “we worked as a team, and I think the strategy played out very well.”

“If I would have started in front of him then it would have been the same story the other way around, but I think from the team’s perspective it was the right call, we played it cool and we really showed a strong performance together,” added Lotterer.

“It’s tough obviously but it’s the sport and I should have qualified better.

“But it’s nice for Pascal, he had the win taken away from him last time in Mexico, so I guess karma came back for him.”

Wehrlein confirmed that the team was working to a 40 lap race strategy, knowing that many of Porsche’s rivals would suffer as a consequence in the final lap.

Formula E 2021 2022: Mexico City Eprix

The winner told The Race that when he retook the lead he “got the call that everything is safe, and I should just focus on efficiency and try to make it to a 40 lap race.”

“In the end, it was quite close and it was just by one or two seconds [that Wehrlein triggered the 40th lap in the 45 minutes + one lap race format,” Wehrlein added.

“We knew that we had more energy than the cars around and we had better pace.

“I wasn’t too sure at the beginning because I got overtaken by two cars, but in the end it paid off and I’m super happy.”

Porsche’s new director of factory motorsport for the Formula E programme, Florian Modlinger, told The Race that the team knew “that track evolution will come in the direction to a 40 lap race” and that it saw “others risking and gambling on a 39 lap race, and we stuck to our plan and therefore we had an energy advantage compared to the other cars.”

He added: “The only car that reacted on that was Vergne quite early, but even when they went through we were quite confident with the energy advantage we had and that we would strike back, and it all worked out.”

Porsche’s first Formula E victory came at the site of its first pole position, which Lotterer achieved at Mexico City two years ago.

The victory ensures that every team on the 2022 grid has now scored an E-Prix win at some point.

Porsche’s 1-2 brings it up the points table from sixth to third, behind Mercedes and Venturi, and with just eight points separating the trio.

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