until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula E

Winners and losers from Mexico City Formula E 2022

by Sam Smith
8 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Porsche ran riot at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in what was one of just a few single-race Formula E weekends of the 2022 campaign.

But thought there was only a Saturday race, the points in the series are so close that any single outing could have a pivotal impact on how the title race shakes out come the end of the season.



Pascal Wehrlein Porsche Formula E

At last, Porsche has its win – and if it took a long time to come, when it finally did deliver, it did so in style.

This was a virtuoso performance and came after some less-than-polished conducting of its recent races.

The pace and capability of the Porsche 99X Electric has seldom been in doubt. It was simply about a combination of harnessing that potential, eradicating the errors, and executing the strategies.

It all came spectacularly together in Mexico, and in truth it never really looked in doubt.

From free practice one the Porsche was clearly the quickest package and from that point on it was a question of honing the performance and ensuring the two drivers started as far away from the pack as possible.

This they did with a succession of excellent laps from Wehrlein, who went a long way to banishing some unpleasant race memories in Mexico. In fact, the strategic decision to run to 40 laps was a genius ploy that felt like a racing ‘rope-a-dope’ equivalent that Muhammed Ali himself would have been proud of.

In the country where they celebrate the ‘day of the dead’, Porsche reanimated it’s credentials while burying a lingering ghost.

DS Techeetah

Antonio Felix da Costa DS Techeetah Mexico E-Prix Formula E

If Porsche simply had to get a strong result in Mexico, DS Techeetah wasn’t too far behind in needing to haul some big points.

After a bruising opening weekend in Diriyah, the team delivered one, with a fine third and fourth that were as skillfully adapted as they were hard-earned.

Jean-Eric Vergne has started the season off with the old ‘I know how to accrue points to win titles’ vibe back again. He seems further at ease with his quest to build a title campaign and for the first time since Antonio Felix da Costa joined in 2019 he seems to have slightly the upper hand.

That isn’t just a lazy point to their fascinating quarter-final duel in qualifying, which Vergne won by a very slender margin – just that the double champion seems to have his positively conniving eye on the bigger picture of a 16-race title quest.

Ultimately the DS Techeetahs was not able to commit to the same Porsche ‘run, check yourself and hide’ strategy, but they did the next best thing. That was to maximise what they could achieve on the day, and they did this very well indeed.

Da Costa got his season up and running after a dreadful Riyadh experience and backed up Vergne’s podium with an action packed but well-judged run to fourth.

The Portuguese reckoned the break until Rome will “give us all the right confidence and the right mood to keep on working and keep on understanding what we can do better”.

He could be right. But then again, the still-pending (publicly at least) resolution to the future for the title-winning DS and Techeetah axis may have different ideas in its potential to destabilise the black-and-gold’s way forward.

Nyck de Vries

Nyck de Vries Mercedes Mexico Formula E

It might seem curious for the reigning champion to be deemed ‘a winner’ by coming in a fraught and distant sixth, albeit with a fastest lap point too, but in the scope of Mercedes EQ’s lukewarm performance in Mexico City, he got a result on Saturday.

A jarring clash with Lucas di Grassi and multiple battles with a variety of combatants aside, De Vries’ race was actually rather well-judged. To come away with a clutch of points that keeps him within five of leader Edoardo Mortara was a fine effort.

That was because de Vries spent the race in a frustrating quest to reach the promised land of the top six cars but was unable to do so due to the squabbling pack he was in. It was rather like one of those dreams where you have to be somewhere important, but you are running on sand and just can’t quite make it to your destination.

Had he not been sucked into the upper midfield abyss, and also not missed one of the activation zones for attack mode, which cost him track position, de Vries might have got among the DS Techeetahs.

His sixth place was ultimately secured by winning an all-Dutch face-off with Frijns on the last lap.

In the bigger scheme of things title-wise, the chaotic final moments of the Mexico City E-Prix and how de Vries and Mercedes EQ managed to collate points could be telling come Seoul in August.


Sebastien Buemi Nissan Formula E

A double points score used to be routine for Nissan e.dams but its eighth and ninth positions yesterday were the first time it had achieved the feat since the first race in New York last July.

It was a much needed morale boost for the team after a gruelling last 12 months, which has seen it despondent more often than delighted in races.

The Nissan IM03 looked quicker than it had done for a while in free practice and a perkier Sebastien Buemi was clearly on the up heading into qualifying.

That it all reverted back to a disappointing qualifying for the Swiss must have been bitterly galling. But the old Buemi feist re-emerged and he drove a dogged race, which started with a peach of an opening lap that saw him rise from 18th to 13th.

Team-mate Maximilian Guenther initially ran ahead but Buemi soon got by and the two worked together, reacting well to the elongated race where others were not as quick to realise and adapt.

In one sense Nissan overachieved at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, a track which it didn’t initially expect a great deal. That fact will add greatly to the team’s sense of progress for what after Diriyah looked as if it could be an intolerably long season ahead.


Avalanche Andretti

Oliver Askew Avalanche Andretti Formula E

The heroes of Diriyah came crashing down to earth somewhat with an insipid performance, which in a way played to the trope of the BMW iFE21’s reputation as being a bit contrary.

Such was the underwhelming pace that the team was quite fortunate to grab a point with Jake Dennis, although to be fair, like Nissan, it did react quickly to the fact that the race was going to go to 40 laps instead of the originally believed 39.

One to wipe off the board for the recalibrated team, which will have further days in the sun in 2022. If it can ensure its off days aren’t quite as noticeable as this one, it still has a tremendous amount to look forward to as the season progresses.

Lucas di Grassi

Lucas di Grassi Venturi Mercedes Mexico Formula E

Some scripts never disappoint in their certainty, and di Grassi’s Mexico City E-Prix was completely in keeping with his love-and-hate experience with the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

A spirited and aggressive fight through the field – check; multiple contacts with questionable amounts of aggression – check; a contentious incident with a former champion – check; and finally, a cacophony of emotions at the chequered flag interspersed with an intervention from the stewards, you guessed it – check!

For sheer drama, guts, and a kind of shameless propensity to make a lot happen in a short space of time, di Grassi delivered again. That it resulted in no points though was of concern in a season whereby his team-mate is using his superior experience of the Mercedes powertrain to full effect.

Di Grassi will fight back of course, because that is what di Grassi does. But his Mexican race was one of those occasions where his potent aggression completely backfired on him.


Sam Bird Mexico City E-Prix Formula E

It seemed unconscionable a few weeks ago that Jaguar could sit seventh in the points table, 55 off the leaders after just three races.

But that is the reality of the situation that the Big Cat finds itself within at present, in what is its worst start to a season since that tentative first campaign in 2016-17.

The reasons for what looks, on paper, to be a demise but is more nuanced are being mulled over now by the team, which many had presumed to be at least a title challenger this season.

Of course, that is still possible. But Mitch Evans, with but a point to his name, already looks to be in a difficult position to enable another tilt at the title in 2022.

Jaguar just hasn’t been able to get on top of the new qualifying system yet and that has hurt it hugely. The team plainly has a quick car, but mistakes and uncertainty have so far clouded possibilities of good results – which on Saturday materialised in a failed gamble on a 39-lap race.

It’s hard to know if the six-week break will really be a godsend or a frustration for Jaguar.

The tendency will surely be for it to not panic, regroup and come out fighting in Rome, a track where it has excelled before and where it must once again if it is to regain some sizeable lost ground.

Stoffel Vandoorne

Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes Formula E

It is ultimately very harsh to bracket Vandoorne as an outright loser in Mexico City because once again he undoubtedly deserved a bunch of points in what looked to be a damage limitation run that was within a lap and a half of being pulled off.

That he was taken out by di Grassi suggests the Belgian’s ill fortune again knows no bounds, and in truth he has a case.

But in the sense of someone who is rightly perceived to be a title contender, and he absolutely is, it was a big loss for the Mercedes EQ driver as his team-mate expanded a one-point margin between them to 10.

It’s not disastrous for Vandoorne. But title campaigns are all about momentum and consistent-points scoring, so while his nil points were clearly not of his own making, the fact remains that of the early championship protagonists he was the only one not to add to his tally.

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