until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula E

A WhatsApp-powered bid to combat Formula E contender in-fighting

by Sam Smith
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

A WhatsApp group set up by reigning Formula E world champion Jake Dennis is part of an effort by both Andretti and Porsche to ensure the manufacturer's roster does not get tangled up in internal battles again during the 2024 campaign.

Porsche, which supplies Gen3 cars - dubbed the Porsche 99X - to the Andretti team, has held several talks with its customer in recent months to try to get a clearer way of racing together rather than compromising each other's races, as occasionally happened in the 2023 season.

At the Jakarta, Rome and London races last year several on-track contretemps were followed up by angry exchanges between drivers and personnel, with Andretti owner Michael Andretti even confronting Porsche motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach during the penultimate race of the year at the ExCeL in London.

That was when Dennis felt that Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein had been over-aggressive despite a meeting having taken place the day before to try to orchestrate battles on the track in order to ease Dennis’s path to the 2023 title.

As well as those talks, which Andretti team principal Roger Griffiths said last October had been “positive”, Dennis revealed to The Race in Mexico that he has instigated a drivers' WhatsApp group to try to further the squad spirit and working practices between the two teams.

“I honestly think there is a clearer way forward with Porsche,” said Dennis.

“Me and Pascal have actually spoken quite a bit. I made a WhatsApp group between all four drivers, not just to clear the air or anything like that but just to try and put our heads together as to where we think we can improve the car the most.

“That’s been really beneficial - and he’s been corresponding well inside of the group. I think we’re back on terms of saying ‘Hello' now, which is good.

“It got unnecessarily heated last year; it didn’t need to get like that between the teams. This year will be much better from everyone because no one wants it to get like that."

Dennis also admitted that when Andretti and Porsche tried to be proactive with specific rules of engagement last season there was too much tension “because Pascal [Wehrlein] was fighting" for the drivers' title as well.

“Whereas now, when we’ve sat down through the winter and cleared our air, everyone was much more level-headed,” added Dennis.

“I think coming into this season we’re in a really good place. I do think we can work together and I have every bit of confidence that it won’t go how it did last year, in terms of the rivalry or the heated moments.”

Taking on Jaguar and DS

Dennis said he thinks that work by himself and his team, which includes new team-mate Norman Nato this season, will reap dividends during the course of the season.

“We’ve definitely worked on areas and there are a couple which we lack compared to Jaguar which just cannot be fixed through software,” he said.

“That will still definitely be our Achilles’ heel against them. It’s something which we’ll probably have to suck up until Gen3.5 [the Evo car that comes in for 2025] or Gen4, but I’m confident that we’ve gained enough performance in other areas to try and compensate that.

“It just depends how much they’ve gained. The likes of the DS powertrain, the Maserati, I think when that thing is in the window it’s extremely fast.

“The amount of times they topped free practice last year, and Max [Guenther] dominated in Jakarta, so I think when it’s in the window it’s the fastest thing out there.

"If they find that sweet spot more often they could definitely be title rivals.”

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