Andretti Autosport is in the news a lot recently. The iconic American open wheel name announced last week that it was tendering a bid to enter the Formula One grid with backing from Cadillac. An unorthodox choice to be sure, but one that brings a lot of promise. The rest of the teams on the grid aren’t so sure, spurning the potential pair up as unprepared and unrealistic. The open wheel elite European teams have doubts that Andretti can hold its own on the international stage. Well, in its first ever race with Porsche powertrains and the new Gen 3 Formula E chassis, Avalanche Andretti proved that it is a force to be reckoned with. Formula E star Jake Dennis jumped into his fourth season with Andretti in style, narrowly missing out on pole position, then going on to dominate the E Prix.
When the race started Dennis lined up on the outside of polesitter Lucas di Grassi, and held his second-placed position at the start of the race. Following a pair of safety car processionals, when the race went back to green di Grassi faltered and Dennis swept through into the lead. Once he was out front in clean air he was unstoppable, piling on a substantial lead. With a third safety car deployed later in the race, that lead was obliterated and he was forced to push once more to regain that lead over di Grassi. Luckily, by that point di Grassi had used too much of his battery charge and needed to back off anyhow, ceding second position to Porsche’s own Pascal Wehrlein, which is where the race finished, with a Porsche-powered 1-2.
In a good sign for Porsche powertrains, three of the four Porsche-powered cars made the cutoff for the duels in qualifying for the Mexico City E Prix. Dennis started second with his Andretti teammate in fourth. Pascal Wehrlein ran the fastest time in qualifying with a 1:13.031, but because it’s a knockout-style qualifying session, he started the race only from sixth after losing his first duel. Porsche’s newest driver and former Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa barely missed out on the duels, starting the race from ninth on the grid. Wehrlein made the best of his poor luck with a super fast car, pushing the competition for the entire race, slowly and methodically climbing the grid to finish second. Andre Lotterer held his position early in fourth and through the entirety of the race only allowed one driver to pass him in former teammate Wehrlein, while passing McLaren’s Hughes to maintain fourth at the checkered flag. Da Costa took advantage of some contretemps ahead of him to shuffle up into seventh position with a double-overtake, and defended the position for the remainder of the race. Porsche-powered cars all finished in the points! That’s an astonishing turn of events from a manufacturer that was regularly facing bad luck in 2022.
Jake Dennis – 26 Points
Pascal Wehrlein – 18 Points
Lucas di Grassi – 18 Points
Andre Lotterer – 12 Points
Jake Hughes – 10 Points
Sebastien Buemi – 8 Points
Antonio Felix da Costa – 6 Points
Mitch Evans – 4 Points
Nick Cassidy – 2 Points
Stoffel Vandoorne – 1 Point
A strong start for both Porsche teams, the Avalanche Andretti Formula E team leads the standings with 38 points, while the Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team sits second with 24 points. This is probably about the best season opener Porsche could have asked for. And while Porsche showed strength in Mexico City last year, this feels different. Here’s hoping the strength continues throughout the 2023 season!