The fourth and fifth rounds of the 2021-22 Formula E season went down this weekend in Rome with an Italian double-header. The team were hoping to come out swinging after a pretty dominant victory in Mexico last month, but were never really in contention for the victory. As a consolation prize, both cars did well to finish well in the points in both races, and Andre Lotterer spent some time in the lead of round 5. It was a good weekend for Porsche, and the team has good points to set them up well in the teams championship.
In round four, the Porsche 99X Electric of Pascal Wehrlein started from seventh on the grid with Lotterer just behind in eighth. Both drivers lost a position or two during the E-Prix, with Wehrlein finishing eighth and Lotterer scoring tenth. It was a tough race with a lot of position change, and ultimately the pair just ran a solid race without much drama. The strategy of maintaining speed while keeping a better handle on their energy is a good one for the Porsche team, but with multiple incidents and contact from competitors, it was difficult to deploy that strategy to get the best of it. Interestingly, the Porsche Taycan safety car was deployed early in the race, and may have hampered some of the team’s strategy.
Comments on the Rome E-Prix, Race 4
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E: “We scored valuable points, but we didn’t achieve what we set for ourselves as a goal. We got off to a good start in qualifying and our two cars were locked in a duel, but we didn’t have the pace to secure better starting positions. In the first half of the race, we held back after a reasonable start. At the halfway mark, we had more energy than the leading group and were in a position where we were ready to attack. But then several incidents involving other competitors cost us time that we were unable to make up. We’ll now work on our weaknesses and see if we can do better tomorrow.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): “This wasn’t an easy day. We scored a few points, but we wanted more obviously. We encountered problems with the balance of our car already in qualifying. In the race, it was hard to predict whether it would be one lap more or less. Now we have to see what we can improve on for tomorrow’s race. Then we’ll go for it again.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36): “That race didn’t go well. I fell back at the start, and in the final phase, a competitor pushed me against the wall. As a result, I lost several places and the contact to the top group. Had this not happened, perhaps we could’ve done better, because we’d managed our energy well. We definitely aim to finish further up the field tomorrow.”
During the fifth round of the championship on Sunday, the Porsche team managed an even better finish than they had on Saturday, to finish with solid points on the day. It was a strong qualifying effort on Sunday for Andre Lotterer that saw him start the e-prix from third on the grid, while teammate Wehrlein qualified seventh on the grid. At the start Lotterer did his best to stay in touch with the leading pack, and used his Attack Mode to best advantage by pushing through the pack up into second. With just 12 minutes remaining in the race he pushed his way up into the lead and held strong there ahead of competition from Jaguar, Mercedes, and Envision. Two late race safety car deployments scuppered his strategy, and allowed racers who hadn’t yet deployed Attack Mode or Fanboost to power by him after the restart. Ultimately he scored a strong fourth position and Wehrlein came home in sixth position, netting the team good points on the weekend.
Comments on the Rome E-Prix, Race 5
Florian Modlinger, Director Factory Motorsport Formula E: “That wasn’t exactly what we’d expected after our strong qualifying performance. We got off the line well in the race and gradually worked our way through the field. André even took the lead. He managed to pull clear of his pursuers but the safety car threw a spanner in the works. As a result, André lost his advantage and fell behind after the restart. There was another safety car phase after that, so we couldn’t continue the fight in the final phase. It was a difficult race for Pascal with tough battles behind the leading pack. Although we gained 20 points and we’ve improved our ranking in the team classification, we’re not completely happy with the way our race went. We could definitely have done more today. Now we’ll focus on preparing for Monaco, where we’ll try to come back even stronger.”
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36): “Fourth place and decent points. I’m not entirely satisfied with that. When you start from P3 and are in the lead, you obviously hope for a better result. But the race didn’t go well for us. I had to watch my energy use carefully, but as I said, we earned valuable points and scoring regularly is particularly important in this competitive world championship. Now I’m looking forward to my home race in Monaco.”
Pascal Wehrlein, Porsche works driver (#94): “In my view, that was a pretty chaotic race. I couldn’t use my Attack Mode because the safety car came out at that point in time. That was very unfortunate and I lost contact with the front. At the restart, I wanted to overtake a competitor, but they shunted my car and I lost positions. Viewed in this light, sixth place is still a good result, but we could’ve achieved much more. A lot of things didn’t go to plan today.”
In the drivers’ standings of the all-electric racing series, Lotterer ranks sixth with 43 points after five of 16 races. Pascal Wehrlein lies seventh just one point behind. In the team classification, the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team has moved up to second place with 85 points, just 9 points behind the Mercedes-EQ Formule E team. Conveniently, both Porsche drivers scored points in both Rome rounds this weekend, while Mercedes had a non-points scoring driver in each round, allowing Porsche to catch up some points to the Silver Arrows.