Porsche had a very interesting weekend at the Hyderabad E-Prix over in India, starting with some serious adversity and overcoming that to score some good points. On the first lap of free practice 1, championship leader Pascal Wehrlein spun hard into the wall when his Porsche 99x Electric race car throttle jammed wide open into a braking zone. As a precautionary measure, Porsche parked the other three Porsche-powered machines of teammate Antonio Felix da Costa, as well as the two Andretti Porsches of Jake Dennis and Andre Lotterer. With reduced time on track, and Wehrlein moving to a backup chassis, it did not seem like either team would have a good time. As it would happen, all four Porsche-powered machines qualified outside of the duels, and the factory racers were forced to start the E-Prix from 12th and 13th on the grid. Not looking good so far.
It's a heavy shunt for our Championship leader @PWehrlein at the start of FP1.
— ABB FIA Formula E World Championship (@FIAFormulaE) February 10, 2023
Porsche is apparently having a difficult time putting together qualifying laps, but always seems to run well during the race, because in his 100th E-Prix as a driver, and only his fourth for Porsche, Antonio Felix da Costa pushed hard to finish on the podium with teammate and championship leader Wehrlein crossing the line behind him in fourth. Granted, a lot of the team’s luck came from the misfortune of others. A lap-3 battle for sixth sent four cars careening into each other and shuffling down the order. By lap 20 da Costa had moved his way up to seventh from 13th. A late race caution restart saw another two cars kicked out of the way of the Porsche pair, as McLaren’s Rene Rast went bad under braking and climbed up and over the rear of Andretti’s Jake Dennis, puncturing a tire in the process. Dennis had been fighting well himself, at the time up to 4th from his starting position of 11th.
In a battle for third spot Oliver Rowland got pinched down by Sebastien Buemi, which allowed da Costa to pounce and take fourth spot from Rowland. As they ran at the flag da Costa was fourth and teammate Wehrlein fifth, but the third-placed Envision of Buemi was hit with a serious time penalty for overuse of energy, promoting the Porsche pair to 3rd and 4th respectively. It was a scrappy and difficult E-Prix for Porsche, but they made it through and scored some serious points in the process. While the constructor has won the first three Es Prix of the season, those had been on pure pace more than luck. This podium in India was at least 75% pure luck.
Andretti had a very poor weekend all around. As mentioned Jake Dennis was forced to pit for tires, which pushed him over one minute behind the ultimate winner Jean-Eric Vergne. Andre Lotterer started the race from 20th on the grid and ultimately finished eighth. With just six DNFs on the grid, his teammate’s tire problem, and Buemi’s penalty, Lotterer had needed to pass five cars on pace to score a small handful of points for himself and the team.
This finish puts Pascal Wehrlein on 80 points, some 18 points ahead of Jake Dennis (who scored nil point) on 62 points in the championship in second. Lotterer is sitting on 16 points down in 11th in the standings, while da Costa’s podium vaults him up to 21 points in ninth.