It only took about fifteen minutes of racing for Porsche’s Pascal Wehrlein to drop from his excellent qualifying position of fourth down out of the points paying spots, while teammate Andre Lotterer started the Marrakesh E-Prix from dead last and made up several spots to finish fifteenth. Wehrlein somehow managed to find himself as far back as eighteenth before recovering to twelfth at the checkers. This was a weekend that Porsche would sooner rather forget, as the winning Formula E team simply couldn’t put together enough luck to make anything happen. With nearly 100 degree ambient temperatures, the Porsches struggled to find pace, and Wehrlein dropped like a stone on the opening lap at the Circuit International Automobile Moulay El Hassan.
It was a story of ups and downs for Porsche in qualifying for this event. Wehrlein did well to make it into the semi-finals with a strong lap, and fought his way to fourth place when the lights went out. Lotterer, meanwhile, was not able to put in a qualifying time during the session thanks to a faulty sensor. By the rules every driver has to set a time in the qualifying session within the first six minutes. Lotterer got a late run out on the track thanks to his broken sensor, and by the time it had been replaced it was marginal as to whether he would make it. His first lap in qualifying concluded at six minutes and four hundredths of a second into the session, thus nullifying his lap and mandating he start the race from 22nd on the grid.
Comments on the Marrakesh E-Prix, Race 10
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E: “In qualifying, we had a problem with André’s car that we couldn’t fix quickly enough. In the end, he was four hundredths of a second too late, so all his qualifying laps were cancelled. He had to start from the back as a result and had a difficult race. Although he improved seven positions, which was a good performance, he did not come close to the points. We cannot be satisfied with that. For Pascal, qualifying went very well. He made it into the duels and from there into the semifinals. But at the race start he got away badly because he lacked significant power at the start and on the first lap. The reason for this was that his car was switched off for longer than usual on the grid. This caused the battery temperature model to reinitialize. This meant that he did not have full power available on the first lap. The prediction of the battery temperature for the end of the race was also no longer correct and was much too high. We had to take various countermeasures to lower the value. As a result, we didn’t have the necessary pace. Our goal now has to be to bring the full potential of our cars back on track at the upcoming hot races in New York City.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): “The day started well with my fourth place in qualifying. In the race, I lost power and many places right after the start. After the good qualifying, we had, of course, hoped for more. It’s a shame that we didn’t make it to the top again. Now I hope that we will find our old strength again in the next races.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36): “It was not a good weekend for me. From the first free practice, I had many minor problems, and qualifying didn’t go well for me. The race was difficult. I could make up many positions, but at the same time, I had to keep an eye on the temperatures. We were on the conservative side and had a lot of energy left in the last two laps. But by then, it was too late for further attacks, and we couldn’t score any points.”
Porsche has scored four total podium finishes this season, including an historic 1-2 finish in Mexico City this February, but has not managed to set the kind of pace you think of when you imagine the might of Porsche Motorsport. With Lotterer confirmed moving from Formula E to Porsche’s LMDh program next season, and Wehrlein’s contract up at the end of this year, we can’t do anything but hope that an injection of fresh talent in the 2023 season will give the Porsche Formula E team the shot in the arm it needs to really fly. There are still three double-header weekends left in the season this year in New York, London, and Seoul, so there is still opportunity for Porsche to put up some good numbers, but championships are certainly off the table by this point in the season.