In a season that saw Porsche’s first win in Formula E, we really thought—and hoped—that the series would be a more thoroughly competitive. Mercedes EQ joined the series at exactly the same time Porsche did, and somehow managed to take home four championships in three seasons, while Porsche has only managed a single E-Prix victory, and dismal season-long results across the board. Seoul delivered more of the same for Porsche with promising starts and solid cars, but poor luck and contact taking them out of the running pretty much every time. In this double-header weekend, Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein and Andre Lotterer only managed to score six points among them with three retirements shared. This is another race weekend, and indeed a season, that Porsche Motorsport would sooner forget. Let’s put this behind us and look forward to the new Gen 3 chassis making its racing debut later this year.
Saturday – Round 15
In a race that saw a wet track and slowly drying conditions across the E-Prix, Porsche should have been expected to do well. The car hit the track in a new black and blue livery, somewhat uncharacteristic of Porsche’s typical red/white/black of late, but it wasn’t enough to keep away the bad vibes. Wehrlein held the strongest hopes for Porsche in Korea, qualifying a solid fourth on the grid. Meanwhile teammate Andre Lotterer, in his final weekend for the Porsche Formula E team, qualified down in 20th. At the start Wehrlein got absolutely accosted by the field, getting away slowly and dropping four positions by the time he reached the first turn. The following lap saw eight cars catch a freak rainburst, sending them running headlong into the wall, including Lotterer, ending their races. Wehrlein was able to recover a single position in the remainder of the race, finishing in seventh and scoring Porsche’s only points for the weekend.
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E: “That was a challenging day under difficult conditions. Pascal put in a great performance from the outset, he was strong in the free practice and qualifying in both wet and dry conditions. However, he lost four positions at the start. We still have to take a closer look at why this happened. It’s a pity because we had the pace for a podium result today and perhaps even to win the race. For André, the race was over shortly after the start when several drivers slid into Turn 20. For tomorrow’s race, we want to build on Pascal’s solid performance and wrap up the season on a positive note.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): “The race itself was good but I’m not happy with the result. At the start, I had no power and lost four positions. My pace was good after that, but it was very tricky to overtake on this racetrack. It’s a shame we couldn’t do more with our solid grid position. In the final race of the season tomorrow, we want to do our absolute best again.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36): “That was a super difficult day. I already experienced problems in practice and qualifying and a slow puncture made it impossible to set a decent time. On the wet track with poor visibility, I carefully felt my way in the race. I took things very cautiously and braked early for Turn 20. There was so much water lying on the track that seven or eight cars drove straight ahead. Now I’m hoping that things go better for us at my last Formula E race tomorrow.”
Sunday – Round 16
It honestly doesn’t get much worse for Porsche than a double retirement from the final race of the season. In qualifying for the last round of the season, both Porsche 99X Electrics set mid-grid lap time pace, and were given difficult starting positions for the race as a result in 15th and 16th. Lotterer ended up being the first retirement of the race as he was involved in a first-corner dust up that saw the track blocked by traffic and someone ran up behind and punched right into the rear end of his car, sending him packing in his last of 67 championship starts. Meanwhile Wehrlein began a steady march toward the front. At about ten laps into the race Wehrlein was embroiled in a battle with last season’s champion Nyck De Vries when the two came together puncturing De Vries’ tire and shattering Wehrlein’s front right suspension, ending his race prematurely.
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E: “This last race in Seoul was definitely not our day. Both of our drivers became entangled in other competitors’ accidents and were thrown out of contention. After just a couple of laps, Pascal had fought his way into the top 10. He was certainly on track for something more. André contested his last race for us today. I’d like to thank him very much for his dedication over the last three years. The team will miss him as a driver and a great guy. All in all, season 8 was a rollercoaster for us. There were great highlights like our one-two result in Mexico and the strong performances in Monaco and Rome, but some races and racetracks underlined our weak areas. We will now work hard on those weaknesses to make our Gen3 car a winner. Our goal for next year is clearly on consistently going for victories so that we’re in a position to fight for the world title.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36): “I’d like to thank the team and Porsche for three great years. During this time, we experienced many highs and lows together. We’d hoped for more successes and we surely deserved them. This year began well for us. Our one-two in Mexico was a big highlight. But the second half of the season turned gnarly, and Seoul wasn’t how I’d imagined my farewell either. I’ll miss the team – they’re like family to me. I wish the squad all the very best and great success in the future. I’ll remain with Porsche Motorsport and I’m in good hands there.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): “At the moment, I’m still feeling disappointed about this weekend and our unfortunate second half of the season. Nevertheless, although we didn’t get the results we could have achieved, we showed a lot of potential. Despite everything, there were also many positives. Mexico was our highlight, of course. That’s a feeling we want to experience again as soon as possible. I’d like to thank the team for their great support, hard work, and camaraderie, too. We’ll do everything in our power to come back stronger next year and hopefully win many races.”
Porsche ended the season in seventh place for the constructors’ championship, passed in the points this weekend by the Avalanche Andretti Formula E team—to whom Porsche will supply drivetrains next season and beyond. The team’s championship hopes were ultimately dashed by dint of five season retirements and fourteen total non-points finishes from sixteen Es Prix. Wehrlein ended the season tenth best among 24 drivers with 71 points (as compared to championship winner Stoffel Vandoorne’s 213), while Lotterer slipped to 12th in the final round with just 63 points to close out the season. It wasn’t a good one, but at least the Porsche team put in a valiant effort. Bring on the new Gen 3 chassis!