Season eight of Formula E is upon us. This weekend in Saudi Arabia on the streets of Diriyah, the 99X Electric did battle with some of the best open wheelers around the world. While the weekend was filled with lows as well as a few highs, Porsche ultimately looks pretty strong for the rest of the season, and this showing has me confident the team will earn its maiden victory by the end of the year.
How did Porsche do in Formula E Diriyah E-Prix Round 1?
Ultimately, while the results of the E-Prix don’t paint a very good picture for the Porsche team, what with drivers Andre Lotterer and Pascal Wehrlein scoring no points whatsoever. That picture, however, is incomplete. It doesn’t show the strong qualifying effort by Lotterer, who started the race in fourth and spent most of the event fighting over 3rd position with Jake Dennis. It also doesn’t show Wehrlein’s strong battle over points paying positions near the end of the race.
Lotterer was running in third with about 9 minutes remaining in the race when Andretti’s Dennis threw a late lunge pass to regain the podium position. In the process, the two cars had significant side-to-side contact, ultimately damaging Lotterer’s car. He later complained of issues with his energy management, and while he fought with everything he had, he lost a full ten positions in the final minutes, falling out of the points. Wehrlein, meanwhile, just barely lost out on points paying positions to Jaguar’s Mitch Evans.
André Lotterer, Porsche works driver (#36):“A disappointing race. We had big plans, especially after the good qualifying performance. I started from the second row on the grid and even managed to advance up to third place. The car felt good but in the final spurt I suddenly experienced problems with the energy management and lost ground.”
How did Porsche do in Formula E Diriyah E-Prix Round 2?
In a similar run to Race 1, it was Andre Lotterer up fighting at the front, and Pascal Wehrlein fighting for the tail end of the points paying positions. Lotterer qualified fifth this time, while Wehrlein started the race from 11th on the grid. The Formula E grid is extremely competitive and close, so this is not slight against Porsche, simply everything is decided by hundredths of a second, especially at the front.
Lotterer’s battle from fifth was extremely fun to watch, as he was in the fight for a podium position the entire race. This time, thankfully, the contact was all around him and did not involve him directly. When a Mercedes competitor ran too deep into a braking zone and Forza’d himself into another car, Lotterer managed to make up a few places and was within a shout of the podium. Late in the race, however, a car crashed on its own, calling out the safety car, and precluding Lotterer from the fight for higher finish.
Wehrlein managed to run a solid race, stay out of trouble, and finish up in ninth, scoring two valuable FIA Formula E World Championship points.
Amiel Lindesay, Head of Operations Formula E: “The team worked hard during the night to sort out the issues from race 1. They did a great job. Pascal impressed with a top time in the third free practice session and André again secured a good grid spot in qualifying. But then the safety car threw a spanner in the works. Still, it was a great turnaround after the hard yards we suffered yesterday.”